It is the summer of 1975. I am walking in the mountains of North Carolina where I am attending a Sufi camp located on the R.J. Reynolds property when I see a huge, magnificent apple tree. Its limbs are almost touching the ground it is so laden with ripe fruit. The marvel is that its trunk is totally hollowed out. It has been the refuge of many animals during its lifetime. I scrunch down and enter where I sit cross-legged and start meditating.
I ask the question, “Oh great Mother, teach me your wisdom. How do you bear such marvelous fruit when your heart has been dug out by animals and insects drink from your veins? Deer pull on your limbs in order to eat from your giving hands. How do you choose life when you are so misused?”
She seemed to speak to me with a silent knowing. “The purpose of every life is to nourish others and the best fruit grows from service. Allow Divine Source to hollow a space within yourself where the ones who suffer can find rest. Be tough on the outside if you wish but inside you must be soft, willing, and compassionate. You cannot be used if it is your will to give of yourself.”
I felt the truth of her wisdom and asked for her blessing. I told her I would never forget her and I never have.