Under The Oak – A New Chapter

Tonight, I’d like to tell you of my encounter with a tree. It was a middle-age oak of stout girth (kind of like me), not yet majestic. It kept company with a slender pine in the median of a commercial parking lot in Bucks County about an hour outside Philadelphia. On the opposite side of the median was a vacant pavement belonging to a dead hotel. As I turned left into the office park, I noticed “No Trespassing” barriers blocking the drive, which was disconcerting. I steered my old Subaru passed some nondescript office suites that dated to the 1980s. I was twenty minutes early for my appointment. I’d planned for extra travel time. Normally I would have taken I-95 to get there, but extraordinary circumstances led a huge section of the interstate to collapse a few weeks ago, and all the traffic through the region was being re-routed onto back roads.

What led to this tree-hugging encounter? That would be a bombshell conversation I had with my spouse of twenty-nine years a little less than two weeks ago. I’d just gotten home after caring for my mother in South Carolina for ten days. I was working on quilting her 80th birthday gift – a lovely blue quilt top that reminds me of the ocean. I paused when my husband arrived home early from an office outing to tell me that he’d been unfaithful to me for two years with a nurse and wanted a divorce. We’d been together since 1989 when we fell in love in Venice during a study abroad program. Our “dorm” had been an old warehouse on the Grand Canal next to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. We grew up together, and then grew apart, though I was a bit late to clue into that part. It was during the lockdowns that he decided we were irreconcilable, and downloaded a dating app to see what other options may be out there. 

I’d been cancelled again – first my job, then my child, then my life partner. Even my mother, upon hearing the news, implied I brought this on myself due to what she calls “my hobby.” Having a curious mind prone to independent thinking seems to be profoundly unsettling for large swaths of society that promote diversity and equity and inclusion while somehow also embracing rigidity and intolerance. Thirteen days ago, I found myself a pruned node, socially excluded for my refusal to be a midwife to an emergent bio-hybrid super-intelligence. There are those who embrace consensus, and there are those who are outliers. In my twenties I was firmly ensconced in a consensus mindset, but in my fifties, I found myself a middle-aged wildcard having flipped roles as a renegade with my former punk-rock college DJ love now transformed into a highly competent administrator overseeing the education of future leaders for the “what works” Web3 cybernetic future.

My friend Deepti connected me with a wonderful Vedic astrologer last fall, so I decided to check in to get her take on what had happened. As Cliff would say, “something’s happening, nothing’s wrong.” Mohita told me that I would find a way to make money doing work around values and culture in service to society. If anyone has ideas for a mouthy woman of a certain age, I’m all ears. Do I have to get a LinkedIn profile now? Mohita went on to say I would be very creative far from home and that it was time to integrate all of the Alisons and bring them along into this new phase of life that begins next year.

For the short term I’ll be landing in the Pacific Northwest to help a friend who runs a small landscape company. It will be lovely to be outdoors and be more in my body and a bit less in my head. So, I am going to be working on that for a bit. I have to revisit my relationship with these technologies that are hijacking consciousness and stigmergically steering us into neutralized silos. It may be quiet on my blog and channel until winter. I feel called to reconnect with nature: moss, fungi, boulders, and rain. There will likely be a cross-country trip in my future, so if you live in the swath of country between Philadelphia and Seattle and have a couch or a yard to camp in in September, shoot me an email (timpsila@protonmail.com). I’d love to meet more of my readers in person.

I have forgiven my husband for his mistake – not in seeking happiness, but in the way he went about it. The course of my life was changed by an app – a dating app (see this 2018 short story, Unchained: A Story of Love, Loss, and Blockchain, from MIT Technology Review for perspective). But that may not be a bad thing, only different. I have been given a unique set of eyes, a quirky mind, and an open heart. I’m meant to do something with my time on the planet that only an outlier can do. I’m holding this unfolding episode of my life as an unexpected invitation, not a tragedy. I love my family. My moon is in the first house and a cozy home full of love is in the cards. I am confident we can be a family in a new way. I just need to be patient. For now, I dream of a future where I can support the creation of a haven for people like me to think and create and connect. From tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow.

When I arrived early to my appointment with the divorce lawyer, I didn’t want to wait in the lobby or sit in my car. So, I got out and gave that oak a big hug and looked for acorns. There was a green one on a low branch and I popped it into the coin purse of my wallet to remember this day, a beckoning open door. I walked around and sat on the far side of the tree where I noticed teeny-tiny acorns on the pavement. Because the hotel was vacant, there had been no cars in that lot for a long, long time – no tires to crush the nuts into bits. It was a haven for acorns. Who knew that oaks dropped them in the spring, too? I didn’t.

I picked a few up and started to place them one next to the other, creating a heart. Then I paused and decided to gather up a bunch of them. In a few minutes I had a large handful, so many that I didn’t need to be stingy with the outline. I poured them onto the pavement and shaped them into the universal symbol of love and in the center, I placed three leaves with a beautiful, variegated hue to represent our family and said a prayer for healing and open paths for all of us. It seemed strange to drive an hour outside the city to meet with this lawyer on the recommendation of a friend, especially given the I-95 situation, but I’m accepting opportunities as they present themselves. In this case, I think I was fated to “meet” this tree.

My first instinct upon hearing the news, beyond wanting to figure out a way to maintain our family, was fear over the future, of being alone in an uncertain economy with skills that are not valued in a digital society. I was in a scarcity mindset, which gradually eased as friends stepped up in support of me. Not yet two weeks out, I’m practicing being without a firm plan and embracing a future where abundance is possible. The oak and the handfuls of little acorns were a message for me, that it will be ok – different, but ok. Mohita says we come into this world with all that we need, the challenge is to learn the lessons. She sees people as signals that tell us something about the state of the sacred fabric of the universe from which we emerge. I love that idea.

A few years ago a friend gave me a silver ring with dandelions on it and the inscription “this too shall pass.” I pointed it out to my mother during our recent visit. I didn’t realize what a blessing it would be to have that ring on my hand even as my wedding ring unexpectedly became obsolete. I hold no ill will for my husband because I know more and more each day how cognitive domain management happens, so please no unkind comments. I know that the system employs sophisticated measures to geo-fence and isolate disruptive elements. I also know that I would never be able to successfully forget what I know and go back to the fold. So, I embrace this new chapter with the support and blessings of friends who can see me and cherish me for who I am.

I hope this is not too personal, but I’ve always been pretty open about my life. Who I am shapes the stories I tell and how I tell them. Who knows what will come next? I’m leaving the window open with a prayer for guidance. I’m told it will come.

45 thoughts on “Under The Oak – A New Chapter

  1. Sue says:

    Blessings for your future. I loved reading this more personal post and appreciate all you’ve been doing over the years.

    • Sofia Furiosa says:

      Dearest Alison, this was a hard one to read out loud to my husband for the lump in my throat. So beautifully written and emotionally evolved that your integrity shone even brighter, if that were possible. I wonder if now might be a good time to explore accepting the offers of financial contribution that your audience has been trying to foist upon you since your foray into this uncharted and unpopular landscape. You are loved, you are supported, and you are treasured. If your trip to this coast takes you through northern California, you have a bed here. Sending you the warmest hug sister, outliers rule! Xoxo Sofia

      • Mitch Fine says:

        “I wonder if now might be a good time to explore accepting the offers of financial contribution that your audience has been trying to foist upon you since your foray into this uncharted and unpopular landscape.”

        Yes Alison you have given so much to us, please give us the opportunity to reciprocate.

    • Juliet Lambert says:

      I also love reading Alison’s work. Constantly amazed at how kind and generous she is and this piece is even more painful (for me, anyway) because of it’s generousity.

      Alison, you are a remarkable woman.
      And a magnificent writer.

      Much love 🌻❤️

  2. Paula Akbar says:

    Such a beautifully written piece, as usual. Thank you for sharing your “new adventure,” your entrance into your new life passage. And thank you for this sentence — “Having a curious mind prone to independent thinking seems to be profoundly unsettling for large swaths of society that promote diversity and equity and inclusion while somehow also embracing rigidity and intolerance.” I shall copy it and tape it to my wall.

    • Elle says:

      Wow, Paula, I agree, that specific line, so eloquently summarized “Alison-style”, jumped out to me too. Great idea to transcribe it for further reference, sharing and contemplation as the hypocrisy of this intolerance seems so pervasive.
      May summer 2023 bring higher love and brighter hearts.

  3. Guy Benintendi says:

    I’m touched by the situation you’re in and inspired by your positivity. Best wishes on your journey forward. Ya Fattah!

  4. andrea gordon says:

    Dear Alison, so sorry about this. Remember that every cloud has a silver lining. And when a door closes, another one opens. Stay blessed and connect with your tribe.

  5. Michael says:

    You are loved and cherished, Alison, by more people than you probably realise. Good luck with the challenging process of reshaping your life to make it even more meaningful and rewarding. You deserve it.

  6. Lesley Gillett says:

    Ah dearest Alison. I am a fan of yours from down under…. Australia to be precise…. your clear, deeply thoughtful and open hearted revelations of the high tech game taking over our ‘little blue dot’ has impressed me more than you will ever know… As a sister outlier, I can appreciate your passion and your pain. But there are more of us out here than one might imagine. Stay strong when you need. Fall apart when you need. Fall in love with your extraordinary life, over and over again. Thinking of you and looking forward to receiving future instalments of your impressive work. Cheers and big hugs from Lesley. http://www.localrsilienceproject.org

  7. Caroline Ryan says:

    I so feel for and with you, Alison…. it’s tough being a wayshower and leading into the unknown in order that others recognise what else IS possible for Humanity’s future and therefore feel comfortable (we give permission) to follow. We have to carry the ‘deaths’ in all their forms, in order to be reborn and influence from a new, more organic space suite to Humanity’s natural evolutionary path that you instinctively, are already drawn to bring forward. I am currently about to curate a group of like-Hearted new paradigm wayshowers, laying down the foundations for our New Earthly experience – lived from our Heart, in alignment with Nature’s principles. A co-creative space where we can co-evolve completely new ways of living and being as ‘front wavers’ to open up new pathways of possibilities for others to follow to more easily share their gifts – serving as visible ‘role models’. We will be completely diverse, but all seeking to create new ways via our sacred Hearts to enable others to step forward and do the same. Practical and spritual. Would love to share more if it resonates…. with much love and coeur-age for your next rebirthing steps…. you have so much to contribute to our future – of that there is no doubt!! Those who follow your process and progress, salute you with so much gratitude for who you are x

  8. Christine says:

    Bless you Alison, birthing a new life is not easy and this spoke to me, loud and clear. I too am an outlier and feeling it at present. This post is beautiful, wise and helped me enormously, I salute you and encourage you to dive in to what ever is coming. Very grateful for all you have given us and will eagerly watch this space to see what that might be for you. Big Hugs from Ireland ❤️

  9. Amy says:

    Thank you for sharing, Alison. I just got heavy heart news as well when I was about to read your email….
    I don’t think my mind or heart knows how to feel so I am standing still. I am not running away, I am not trying ti figure out something can not figure out, I am just letting to pass. It’s okey because I can not change. I will experience it, please be kind to yourself. Thinking of you

  10. Joel Turrentine says:

    You’re a great soul using your talent for perspective in all phases of your life. You’re respected and admired by the people that appreciate your gift.

  11. Trish Anderson says:

    You are an absolute inspiration to me, and you always have been ever since I discovered you during the Pandemic Games. The balance you display is an example for all of us. You can spend hours deep diving into the evil, you can see the whole picture, you know we are headed into darkness. Yet you, don’t stop feeling love and beauty and nature and all the good there still is. I respect you SO much. It’s a selfish little daydream I always have that one day I could work for Alison even as a coffee fetcher, just so I can be around her wisdom, fierce as hell intelligence and grace. You were put on his Earth for great things because you are literally a rarity. Praying you find all that you deserve this summer and will be eagerly awaiting the return of your newsletter. Thank you for everything you do.

  12. Jeff Finley says:

    Wow I feel you Alison. I went through a divorce in 2015 after my wife’s affairs, two years after my spiritual awakening. I also broke off from my career path and have become an “outlier” as you called it. I also feel you on how you’re supposed to make money now as an outlier as your financial support system is taken from you. The LinkedIn line made me lol, as I have faced the same question recently as my support system has also diminished and I’m faced with having to “get a job” out in the matrix world, or stay self-employed but not “sell out” by turning myself into an online personality. If you ever pass through Ohio (Cincinnati/Dayton), I’d love to chat and offer support.

  13. Freecus says:

    Stay in touch with us via group email as you navigate a new path forwards to protect the Natural world for the children and all sentient life forms.

  14. Paula says:

    So touched by your openness. Thank you for your research and writings. You are welcome at our home in Des Moines anytime during your XC trip in September.

  15. Regina says:

    Thank you for your raw realness, Alison. This story hits hard for me. My partner and I have also grown apart, as I see more and more patterns that, in my opinion, are not beneficial to humanity. My partner believes all is well and firmly embraces DEI and other societal aspects that are diminishing our shared humanity every day. We are struggling to stay together, and I hope we can meet in a shared space of only wanting what’s best for our children and the world they are inheriting. Even if we come at it from very different perspectives. Wishing you so much love and abundance wherever your journey takes you.

  16. Tracy Smith says:

    You were in my thoughts late last evening. I found your readings early on in the pandemic. Thank you for being so open with all the changes in your life. Similar disruptions in my life along with making it to a age my younger self thought she would never reach, 50. I yearn daily for understanding also really appreciate the update to know for the most part you are still breathing and experiencing life with all it has to offer us. May the months until winter hold you where needed & offer up great reflections and peace.

  17. Tracy Smith says:

    Forgot to mention you are loved by our small family in Kentucky and if in need of anything if your ever passing through I would love to be of any assistance to you. PNW harmed our family to its deepest core. I would only want to be there now just to get to meet you and listen, listen and listen. But not till nature takes back what lies underneath all the yuck right now, I will never return until the vibe is right or nature calls.

  18. Anna says:

    Thank you for your courage, dedication and compassion in all your writing, speaking and teaching. You have been an inspiration to many of us who are are suspicious of all the sides of our modern “movements”. For those of us who see the beauty in humanity and have been given eyes to see the manipulation from all sides, you have brought such enlightenment and wisdom. I´m so sorry that your family hasn´t accompanied you on this journey. I pray for good struggles ahead and may the Lord bring healing into your life! Kyrie eleison…Lord have mercy!

  19. Kristy Trione says:

    You have a welcoming sanctuary in Costa Rica. Thank you for coalescing a community shining the light forward. And for modeling how to gracefully let go, facing uncertainty lighter, trusting that we are all doing our best. Somehow this relates to making silk purses from sows ears and casting pearls before swine. Safe fun travels. I look forward to connecting at some point. Kristy

  20. Monika says:

    i wish that i was on your road trip pathway, you are welcome amongst my quirky house with our cats & chickens, my ‘truther’ friends and big hugs in Ventura California. I know what it feels like to be an errant in an AIX kind of world; my family pats me n the head and loves me but certainly have no idea or interest in what you share, they just want to get along.

  21. washington sean says:

    The acorn metaphor moved me so. And thus, I offer a quote from Itzhak Bentov’s book. What else can one say in response to such a heartfelt post?

    “The seed is a unique structure because in it space-time has been condensed and stored, awaiting the proper objective time for its unfoldment. Therefore, it is the representation of the tree in an altered and higher state of consciousness. It is a tree that has moved into its subjective space-time, in which time and space have lost their ordinary meaning. It is a state in which “time has stopped” as far as the tree is concerned. The outer objective manifestation of this state of the tree is the seed. Later, when the objective conditions become favorable, the tree will come out of its meditative, hibernating state as a seed and unfold in objective space-time as a mature tree. The seed, in other words, is a more basic structure than the tree because in its qualities it is closer to the absolute… …we should, therefore, see in the seed-tree duality a unique function of Nature. It does not matter whether it is the seed of a tree, the egg of a chicken, a human sperm, or a seaweed egg. The seed is unique because if one could penetrate the consciousness, one would find that it “sees itself” as a full-grown tree in spite of its confinement in a tiny shell.”

  22. Stephanie says:

    Oh, dear Allison What a beautiful post; thank you. I sent you an email. I would love a ring like yours, if they are still available, and you are willing to share your source. Kindly, Stephanie 💛

  23. Mercedes says:

    You’re a huge inspiration to me Alison, and you’ve changed my life and my children’s lives through your research. You are an incredible person and I teared up reading everyone else’s comments of love and support here for you because we are somehow all connected through being fortunate enough to find you and your work. We are in Pittsburgh if you need an early stop ❤️

  24. Amy Harlib says:

    I love you and your writing Alison! As an outlier my entire life, I empathize.

    Wish you could come to NYC where I live in the epicenter of: “Having a curious mind prone to independent thinking seems to be profoundly unsettling for large swaths of society that promote diversity and equity and inclusion while somehow also embracing rigidity and intolerance.”

    NYC desperately needs more curious minds that question everything like I do and you do.

    Giving you a big hug from a kindred soul who has been following/sharing your ‘Wrench in the Gears’ activity from the get-go.

    You are deeply appreciated. Prayers for the best of luck wherever you go, whatever you do!

  25. Amanda says:

    Oh, Alison, I’m so sorry to hear this news. I wish you all the best and hope you get all of the love and support you need to get through this transition.

  26. Kathryn Hunt says:

    Love you and I am living the life you fear after divorcing over twenty years ago in my late thirties with my weak skill set. I lost my “friends” as divorce was shunned in my church. But…life truly is lived on the edge. Do not be afraid. It truly is a new chapter, embrace it! You are free.

    I’m in midcoast Maine near the coast and you are invited to see how I survive solo, should this area be on any of your journeys.

    From one outlier to another…Amam Jabbi is in Montana if you can try to contact him, that could be a synergistic meet up for you both. I can give your number to someone
    who interviewed him recently if you need the contact data for him.

    Cry if you need to now and then over your husband’s affair. That’s healing to weep over such a thing.

  27. elk says:

    Lots of things to feel and think about at the moment Alison. Everything will be fine, because of who you are. Enjoy the new adventure.Thank you for all that you share.

  28. Kim MacEachern says:

    Alison, I knew something was up; sensed it. Frankly, I am not surprised at this development for the reasons you mentioned and for knowing that strong willed women who are on to something often test those males among us. Your ability to live in the moment and your reference to my grandmother’s favorite saying on the ring is comfort that you understand that in the bigger picture you had something else to learn in this iteration of life and profound knowledge rarely comes without sacrifice. You may find it helpful to listen to the nine solfeggio frequencies and find a chant to do each time you need to reform at thought to the positive while you have this incredible opportunity to commune with nature, which is the most healing thing one can do. I am afraid the Scorpio in me would make it hard to be as magnanimous as you are about the loyalty part. I will be in Yankeedom until the fall, but you are welcome in Phoenix anytime.

  29. Stephanie says:

    While it may hurt right now, I think the Universe is freeing you (from someone who was not on the same wavelength) to do even greater things. Your mission is vitally important in this time. The world needs you and the Universe will support and bless you as you undertake this new journey.

  30. Lynn says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart Alison.
    My late mother used to tell me when you share your challenges with another it lightens your burden🤍
    I hope your travels will be a wonderful time of reflection, rebuilding, and rest.
    Sending you thoughts of peace and love.

  31. Yehoshua says:

    Sister Alison has shared such wonderful, thought-provoking information over the years that it is difficult to imagine the true value of her work. Moreover she gave it freely, from her heart. She is very special…a unique soul…one whom has been preserved to contribute in these trying times to the genuine awakening of humanity…as the veil of the artificial is being recognized and lifted from over us. A great deal is owed…and there are/will be those in her space that will reciprocate unto her…and as time moves on, she will fare well. We thank you Sister Alison for all that you have given…and we send energy your way to help assist you in your new “outlier” post. May the pursuit of the LIGHT of TRUTH continue to be your guide…

  32. Graeme says:

    If emotions are how we process life as humans, range is what matters. Many years ago I was drawn to fake jade trinket while backpacking through the Indonesian hinterland that I just had to have. The inscription was the same ‘and this too will pass’ that I’ve alway subsequently found strangely reassuring! I remember those Indo jungles scattered with fallen large giants allowing enormous opportunities racing for the light.

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