Why the Bristlecone Pine Tree?


High up in the isolated Bristlecone Pine Forest in the Ancient White Mountains of eastern California stands the oldest living single organism known- a Bristlecone Pine tree nicknamed “Methusela”. It has been alive for nearly 5,000 years. The old roots have supported the tree in harsh winds, threatening weather, and the scarcity of water which enabled the trunk and roots not to rot but to grow hard and sturdy. Enduring centuries of extreme conditions the tree continues to generate new growth.

In our profession, the old masters support us, just like the trunk of the tree, so that we can find new directions forward. That is why I sought to learn with these teachers – to find refreshing ways to dance with the winds of the unconscious.

It is said that Freud discovered the unconscious. All of my teachers are rooted in their own way of working with it. The life force of their own perceptions is like the life force in the trunk of that old tree that has generated new growth for 5,000 years.

    • Milton Erickson conversed with the unconscious. He said, “Trust your unconscious it knows more than you do.”
    • Virginia Satir mined the roots of the family unconscious of each person she worked with. She said, “Close your eyes and give a message of appreciation to your own beautiful self.”
    • Moshe Feldenkrais used awareness of the movement of the body to expand the range of motion of the mind.  He said, “Movement is life, life is process. Improve the quality of movement and you improve life itself.”
    • Kay Thompson used wordplay, alliteration, metaphor to unhook habitual word associations to free the unconscious to play. She said, “Hypnosis is a way of learning how to listen again.”

These four worked with such gentleness and acceptance that they were able to deepen the subtle shifts and changes that can bring about unconscious transformation.

Every time a new person walks into my office, I’m aware that I offer them what I learned from all these great teachers, and from all the patients/clients I have worked with. Every new person brings a world of experience that we can both learn from together.