This entry is for anyone who is curious about working with the branches and wants to try it for themselves. I will follow up with various entries on different practices we have developed in working with the branches.
Dancing with the branches can be a centering and aligning experience. Its really a duet between you (your awareness and experience of body/mind/spirit), and the branch, an inanimate object that was once part of a living tree and whose form is a solid manifestation of the tree's movement and flow connecting earth and light.
As with any partnership, you must be responsible for yourself. Before you start take a moment to ground yourself. Notice your breath. Gently shift your weight on your feet and sense the shift in balance through the body. Open your joints to allow energy to move through your body. Open the soles of the feet; sense the weight dropping through the legs and the feet into the earth; at the same time sense the upward thrust of gravity. Feel yourself gently poised in gentle balance.
The dance begins at point of contact.
Pick up a branch. Hold the branch. Connect with/to it. Sense it. Feel its weight. Receive its weight. Feel/see/sense--- the shape/line/flow of the branch. Allow the touch, the feeling in the hands, the shaping in the hands, the reception of the branch's weight and your awareness of line and alignment to resonate through the rest of the body. Notice how each action or response triggers a whole new set of actions and responses. Slow down. Soften the touch. How softly can you hold it? Cultivate awareness.
A dance emerges. Let your body shift as you balance your body to match the touch. Ride the shifting energy(ies). Ride the edge of balance.
Take your time. Stay with/savor/enjoy the experience. Allow the dance to take you where it will.