I am a tall person by societal average. That has meant I have developed a relationship with my body in space, shaped by most of the messaging I received growing up stating that I was ‘too’:
Too tall. Too big. Too heavy. Too strong. Too much.
The other day I got to walk among the giants (the Sequoia trees of Jedediah Smith State Park in Northern California). I carried with me my bark, my seeming protection from my stories, developed through periods of fire to learn resistance to their scalding licks. I moved slowly and with caution as I believed a body my size, moving through space with energy and agency, is potential for damage. I stood still and let life happen around me because witnessing/hypervigilance was better than not being included. I built new storeys high and away from the ground-dwelling, creeping crawling stories I believed were looking to penetrate and poison my structure.
I stood beside these monolithic behemoths and looked up; I placed a hand, that I normally see as large, upon their bark and felt a shift: my hand being that of a new-born instinctively clutching the little finger of a vital-wise grandparent. I was given a gift. An invitation to simply breathe and know I was to be tended; the seed cracked open to begin absorbing and expressing.
The witnesses of the world whispered in unison through their connection to my mycelium and vibration. My hand upon their soft and impenetrable rivulet skin, they said…
Your shape shapes space, Paul. Your size has been, and always will be, something celebrated, desired and required. No longer shall others’ fear feed your soil.
Inspiring = Breathing in. Somewhere…somewhere I knew their message already. I breathed in and felt the air of their voice shift each cell within me, knock loose the bark that allowed for and denoted expansion. My sibling giants affirmed for me that I am this size - in human form - because I am Tree descendant. I am Redwood; I am a point of reference for others. My fullest physical and personal expression is important for inviting everyone else within my ecosystem to feel safe to also fully express themselves; not in competition, but in relationship with each other, knowing ‘too’ is not possible, and I am capable of holding that space. My fullest expression invites others in to see what this kind of embodied, honest, show-up-even-when-it’s-difficult ecosystem looks like, and whispers, “you can never un-see what you saw here today so what choice do you now want to make moving forward?” The softness and welcome I feel has always been so aligned with my being does not now equate to sacrifice.
(Oof! All that truth. It brings up big feelings, not only because I’m a cis-gendered white male, but also because I’m a cis-gendered white male. I’m not ‘meant’ to feel this way, or say/share words this way; it’s too ‘feminine’. However, I know all that truth was true to me whatever anyone may feel in response and so I can stand rooted and strong and whole and welcoming in that place, trusting my capacity for all and any feelings and uncertainties. ‘Masculine’ is not tall and strong and silent, but is the honouring and fierce holding of the Feminine’s boundaries. Masculine cannot exist separate from the Feminine and only exists because of the Feminine — in my opinion, of course).
What a powerful experience it was to get to feel truly small in a natural setting for the first time. I no longer accept that I am ‘too’. I accept that I will still have some vine-like stories that try to climb and wrap but I choose to accept a different truth while holding space for the stories when and where they try to bind me. I choose to practice, above all else, claiming my full space (which, to me, means being in alignment with my values and needs. It does NOT mean filling or taking space to reduce other people’s access to, or capacity for, claiming theirs. Nor does it mean attempting to shape other people’s experiences through my presence).
You are welcome here, and your fullest expression is not only safe but championed and celebrated.
Much ginger/Redwood love 🧡