Love And Friendship Without Strings

April 2011 - DSC06232 - THTT signed



If you feel the need to compete for someone’s love, or buy your way into people’s lives, wait and see what happens when you have nothing left to bargain with.
If you choose friends by what they have, rather than who they are on the inside, wait and see what happens when your own rubber hits the road.
If you have unconditional love to offer, but no one takes your hand, remember that you are the richest amongst them, because you have learnt The Secret that they are still running around in circles searching for.
If you can sleep well at night, knowing that you owe no man a debt of love, you are indeed the one with all the wisdom and your riches are stored up in heaven.
If you can love yourself, when others pick at or ignore you, know that your star shines brighter than those with limited vision will ever know.
If you can see the blessings of another and walk on by without envy, your riches are in your heart and nothing can stand in your way of happiness.
If you can turn the light on when others only stand and judge, know that you have plugged into a power far greater than dull minds can ever experience.
If you are able to speak your mind in truth and with clear conscience conviction, you deserve the spotlit platform that you stand on.
If you long for the love of those whose love is only ever competitive or conditional, remember the gems that you have inside, and turn your cheek to face the wind.
It is wiser to do that, than to mind about the minds of others.
If you can be your own best friend, even in times of deepest darkness, you have what few others possess, and no friend in the world can better that.
We are each, ultimately, alone and no substitute for loving yourself will ever be found.
Be your own friend first, as that removes all need to compete or long for the approval and friendship of others.
When friendships and loved ones come to us without strings, each one is truly free to be themselves.

~ : ~

Holly x




© The Holly Tree Tales

It’s Not Who You Are That Matters

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It’s not who you are that matters,
It’s what you are.

It’s not what you say that matters,
It’s what you do that counts.

It’s not who you say you are,
It’s who you show you are.

It’s not what you have that matters,
It’s how much you love.

It’s not how much you say it that matters,
It’s how much you show it.

And in the final moments,
This will be all that will have mattered.

* * * * * * *



I wrote this little piece, on 11 July 2013.

Holly x

Doing Things For Oneself First

The case for doing what works for ourselves, first and foremost

When we do something, we ought to do it knowing that all goodness in the universe is watching us, and do it for ourselves first, because it is impossible to please all men all the time.

As a simple example of this statement, one can walk into a room of five people, wearing a new haircut, and receive different vibrations from every single one there. Each person in the room will have their own life experience from which they will respond to the sight of your new haircut. Each person will feel the change in a different way and, even if all five exclaim out loud to show their appreciation, there may be one who thinks something judgemental or perhaps one who feels jealousy, for some reason. It is unlikely that all five will have exactly the same full response. If our happiness about our haircut depends on what the response of the five others in the room might be, we are limiting our own enjoyment of it and leaving the door wide open to hurt. It is enough to be happy ourselves.

We cannot control what others think; we cannot control what others do. We can only control our own actions, and we can only control our own responses.

The key reason for doing something for oneself first, is so that our own conscience is nurtured. We have a conscience to act as a compass, a barometer and a guide. When we become aware of this precious tool that we each possess inherently and reconnect to it, our actions and our responses alter to be more in line with what brings peace and harmony into our own world, extending out into the world beyond us, to the good of all.

If we operate from a position of disconnectedness, however, we are like a spinning top on the deck of a ship at sea … we cannot find our centre, and our lives reflect all that can be erratic. This is an unsustainable way to live; it creates enormous stress for ourselves and for those around us, and very often it brings destruction to our relationships, our plans and our projects.

Whilst we are part of a larger body of humanity, part of our own small local communities which extend out to the greater whole, each of us must start somewhere before we can help another. The most natural and obvious place to start is with ourselves.

When we measure our own thoughts and work on liberating ourselves from personal criticism and judgement, others begin to experience our acceptance and compassion by default. When we focus on keeping our own conscience clear and sparklingly fresh, others feel safe in our care and in our presence. When we operate from a centre of truth and integrity, our plans and our projects receive the support that they need, as others learn quickly that they can truly trust us. When we choose what will bring us satisfaction, calm and positive vibrations within ourselves, our light attracts others who are doing the same, and acts as a beacon to those who are seeking it.

There are a myriad ways to show how loving ourselves first (not in the selfish or self-centred way of materialism, but in a way that brings peace to our conscience) benefits all who come in contact with us. Most of all, living in this way benefits our own selves – our minds, our bodies, our emotional health, our practical daily lives. Treating ourselves in this way, we free others from the strain of having to continually pick up our pieces, which in turn calms and aids us all.

We are on this planet not as islands, but to learn lessons as we live amongst others. We are here to help one another as we walk our own paths, but we can only help one another if we first love and take care of ourselves. For that reason, we have no hesitation in understanding that first we must do what we do for ourselves … measured against all that we have as a guide within us … so that we can function best in a world where it is never going to be possible to please all at once.

In the process of doing things for ourselves, from a centre of awareness, all around us benefit (including our natural environment) and the love goes full circle. Therefore, find ways to carry calm, find satisfaction, happiness and love in your own heart, doing things well and doing them for your own sake – that way we can each be free.

Holly x

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On Healing the Inner Child, by Thich Nhat Hanh

An excerpt from the book “Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child” by Thich Nhat Hanh.


“In each of us, there is a young, suffering child. We have all had times of difficulty as children and many of us have experienced trauma. To protect and defend ourselves against future suffering, we often try to forget those painful times. Every time we’re in touch with the experience of suffering, we believe we can’t bear it, and we stuff our feelings and memories deep down in our unconscious mind. It may be that we haven’t dared to face this child for many decades.

But just because we may have ignored the child doesn’t mean she or he isn’t there. The wounded child is always there, trying to get our attention. The child says, “I’m here. I’m here. You can’t avoid me. You can’t run away from me.” We want to end our suffering by sending the child to a deep place inside, and staying as far away as possible. But running away doesn’t end our suffering; it only prolongs it.

The wounded child asks for care and love, but we do the opposite. We run away because we’re afraid of suffering. The block of pain and sorrow in us feels overwhelming. Even if we have time, we don’t come home to ourselves. We try to keep ourselves constantly entertained-watching television or movies, socializing, or using alcohol or drugs-because we don’t want to experience that suffering all over again.

The wounded child is there and we don’t even know she is there. The wounded child in us is a reality, but we can’t see her. That inability to see it is a kind of ignorance. This child has been severely wounded. She or he really needs us to return. Instead we turn away.

Ignorance is in each cell of our body and our consciousness. It’s like a drop of ink diffused in a glass of water. That ignorance stops us from seeing reality; it pushes us to do foolish things that make us suffer even more, and that wound again the already wounded child in us.

The wounded child is also in each cell of our body. There is no cell of our body that does not have that wounded child in it. We don’t have to look far into the past for that child. We only have to look deeply and we can be in touch with him. The suffering of that wounded child is lying inside us right now in the present moment.

But just as the suffering is present in every cell of our body, so are the seeds of awakened understanding and happiness handed down to us from our ancestors. We just have to use them. We have a lamp inside us, the lamp of mindfulness, which we can light anytime. The oil of that lamp is our breathing, our steps, and our peaceful smile. We have to light up that lamp of mindfulness so the light will shine out and the darkness will dissipate and cease. Our practice is to light up the lamp.

When we become aware that we’ve forgotten the wounded child in ourselves, we feel great compassion for that child and we begin to generate the energy of mindfulness. The practices of mindful walking, mindful sitting, and mindful breathing are our foundation. With our mindful breath and mindful steps, we can produce the energy of mindfulness and return to the awakened wisdom lying in each cell of our body. That energy will embrace and heal us, and will heal the wounded child in us.


When we speak of listening with compassion, we usually think of listening to someone else. But we must also listen to the wounded child inside of us.

Sometimes the wounded child in us needs all our attention. That little child might emerge from the depths of your consciousness and ask for your attention. If you are mindful, you will hear his or her voice calling for help. At that moment, instead of paying attention to whatever is in front of you, go back and tenderly embrace the wounded child. You can talk directly to the child with the language of love, saying, “In the past, I left you alone. I went away from you. Now, I am very sorry. I am going to embrace you.” You can say, “Darling, I am here for you. I will take good care of you. I know that you suffer so much. I have been so busy. I have neglected you, and now I have learned a way to come back to you.” If necessary, you have to cry together with that child. Whenever you need to, you can sit and breathe with the child. “Breathing in, I go back to my wounded child; breathing out, I take good care of my wounded child.”

You have to talk to your child several times a day. Only then can healing take place. Embracing your child tenderly, you reassure him that you will never let him down again or leave him unattended. The little child has been left alone for so long. That is why you need to begin this practice right away. If you don’t do it now, when will you do it?

If you know how to go back to her and listen carefully every day for five or ten minutes, healing will take place. When you climb a beautiful mountain, invite your child within to climb with you. When you contemplate the sunset, invite her to enjoy it with you. If you do that for a few weeks or a few months, the wounded child in you will experience healing.

With practice, we can see that our wounded child is not only us. Our wounded child may represent several generations. Our mother may have suffered throughout her life. Our father may have suffered. Perhaps our parents weren’t able to look after the wounded child in themselves. So when we’re embracing the wounded child in us, we’re embracing all the wounded children of our past generations. This practice is not a practice for ourselves alone, but for numberless generations of ancestors and descendants.

Our ancestors may not have known how to care for their wounded child within, so they transmitted their wounded child to us. Our practice is to end this cycle. If we can heal our wounded child, we will not only liberate ourselves, but we will also help liberate whoever has hurt or abused us. The abuser may also have been the victim of abuse. There are people who have practiced with their inner child for a long time who have had a lessening of their suffering and have experienced transformation. Their relationships with their family and friends have become much easier.

We suffer because we have not been touched by compassion and understanding. If we generate the energy of mindfulness, understanding, and compassion for our wounded child, we will suffer much less. When we generate mindfulness, compassion and understanding become possible, and we can allow people to love us. Before, we may have been suspicious of everything and everyone. Compassion helps us relate to others and restore communication.

The people around us, our family and friends, may also have a severely wounded child inside. If we’ve managed to help ourselves, we can also help them. When we’ve healed ourselves, our relationships with others become much easier. There’s more peace and more love in us.

Go back and take care of yourself. Your body needs you, your feelings need you, your perceptions need you. The wounded child in you needs you. Your suffering needs you to acknowledge it. Go home and be there for all these things. Practice mindful walking and mindful breathing. Do everything in mindfulness so you can really be there, so you can love.”

Publ: Parallax Press 2010
ISBN 1935209647

Holly & Rhett - matching outfits - enlarged - CROPPED - Holly only - THTT signed

When you are valued …

When you are valued for who you are, rather than what you have or what you can bring to a party, you know you are truly valued by others.  The truth is that value starts at home, and is not based on what others think, over which one has no control.  When personal value is intact, the treasure in one’s own life is priceless.

~ Holly

Who would you be without your money?

If you lost everything, would you be able to live with yourself?
If you spoke the truth and showed your real self to your friends, which of them would remain to help you up when you stumbled?
If you could no longer buy what impresses others, would you still have friends?
If all that you have and all that you are on the outside is what people know about you, have you any idea of who you truly are yourself?
If you were removed from your safe clique and your much-relied-upon clan, could you hold your own head above the waves?
If you had to take care of the things that you have always taken for granted, would the world still hold you in high esteem, while you carried out those tasks?
Is what people admire about you about YOU, or is it about your money?
Do people love you because of who you are, or because of what you give them?
If you were down to your last few pennies, would you share your loaf?
If you use your money to buy, spend and consume mindlessly now, how would you feed yourself if you lost it all?
Are you working to sustain an unrealistic picture of yourself?
Are you doing what you are doing so that others can think well of you?
Can you sleep at night, knowing that you have harmed no one through your day?
Would you be kinder to the postman, the street sweeper, the bin man, the one who cleans the drains … if you had as little as they?
Do you have any idea how you might survive if you had one percent of what you have now? Do you realise that that is what most of the world has?
Do you cherish the ones who would love you, even if you had nothing left to give them? Do you have those people in your life?
Do you know what it feels like to have no money, no energy, no food, no love?
Do you think you would have yourself left, if you had none of these left but Life?
Who would you be without your money? Do you know?
Do you realise that that is the one who you are meant to be now?
Might it be time, perhaps, to get to know that one inside?
Remember: money is like water … it cannot be held forever.
Only your soul, and my soul, and the other one’s soul can do that. Without money.
Do you know?

In contemplation,
Holly x

Children playing

As I waved goodbye to one of my children, who was setting off back down South yesterday, watching her disappear down the country road, I turned back to close our gate slowly and stopped to take in this sign pinned onto our property …

“Children playing. Keep gate closed.”

It spoke volumes to me.

How soon they are grown.
How sad that a gate must contain them.
How important that we all remember to continue to play.
How wonderful to give a child freedom to develop an imagination.
How vital the imagination becomes when they have flown.
How incredible that nowadays most will not see the countryside as it once was.
How much play has shaped the lives of those who feel the real need to care.
And I thought so much more.

The words, the moment, the whole picture …
I felt it all deep in my soul.

Holly x

Children playing. Keep gate closed.

Children playing. Keep gate closed.


Thoughts on a friend’s birthday

It is a special friend’s birthday today and I am thinking of her, wishing that we could see one another and celebrate her birthday together … but she is in the southern hemisphere and I am in the northern hemisphere, so I am going to content myself with sending her thoughts of happiness and strength and joy instead.

We met when we were in our second year of senior school, and quickly became firm friends. She was so much taller than me, and worked as a model during school holidays, to earn her own pocket money. Her parents had divorced, and her brave mother had brought my friend and her two siblings to a different part of the country, to start a new chapter in their lives. My beautiful new friend was drawn into my circle of friends on the first day at her new school, and she and I soon became close. We had an immediate understanding, a connection that only those who had known pain in early childhood could be a part of … it was not something that was spoken, only felt and accepted and respected. Our care for and about one another was unconditional. Our bond was a given; it did not need testing, it had its own strength, and it was inclusive of all of our mutual friends.

After school, as sometimes happens in life, we lost touch with another as new experiences took our attention in various directions… and then I hopped to another continent, and hopped to yet another some years later, and we lost each other completely. I dreamt of finding her, but no amount of searching ever reaped rewards… until a couple of years ago. I had posted a query on our senior school Old Girls’ communication board, asking if anyone knew of her whereabouts, and suddenly someone I have never met sent me my precious friend’s contact details. It was utterly unbelievable and, like many similar experiences, it brought me to my knees in gratitude. With tears flowing down my cheeks, I contacted my long-lost friend and we have remained in contact since. But we have not seen one another in over thirty years, and I so long to knock on her door and give her a hug … with an armful of flowers … today.

Like me, my beautiful friend has had to find her own way through life, face certain unusual and exceptional trials and, as when we first met, few words are needed to explain any of it to one another … we simply ‘hold each other’s hand’ and remind each other of the strength and beauty that is inside.

As I think of you on your birthday, my beautiful ‘Fifty Something’ childhood friend, I send you love and I wish you the joy and happiness that you have always deserved, with the peace that comes from being completely safe, utterly cherished and exceedingly well … I hope with all of my heart that you are.

Here’s to a happy, Happy Birthday … Clink!

A stunning, double white tulip, symbolic to me of elegance, purity and strength.

A stunning, double white tulip, symbolic to me of elegance, purity and strength.

With my love,
Holly x