Do you have a favourite tree? Perhaps one you climbed as a kid, perched high on its branches or secreted away in some hidey hole formed in knotted twists of roots and limbs. Maybe a big, beautiful shady tree that you sat under and tasted a first kiss (probably too clichéd).
If you haven’t guessed or been reading long enough, you may not realise that I’m slightly obsessed with trees. I find it hard to pick a favourite tree, because frankly, I love them all. I even did up a little (Christmas) Tree meditation video last Christmas, in ode to the many things that trees can teach us. I may be a little odd.
Trees show us how to live at one with nature (well I guess they ARE nature), but they also demonstrate qualities that make for pretty good human nature too. And so I believe we can learn from them (you are thinking loopy greenie right?)
But think of that oxygen you’re breathing in right now…..I rest my case.
1) Find firm foundations – have roots that are deep, ground yourself in the earth. In simple terms, stay grounded – but that’s more than not getting carried away with dreams or success or forgetting where you’ve come from. It’s very much about knowing and living your core values that sustain how you grow throughout your life.
2) Be prepared to search – it’s great to have roots that ground you in firm values and beliefs, but sometimes we need to go searching for nourishment to keep those roots (well ourselves) alive. Tree roots spread into the soil to find the nourishment they need. You only need to dig up a tree (sad but sometimes necessary) or see one uprooted to realise how much of a tree ‘lives’ below the surface. We need to nourish our spirits as well as our bodies.
3) Be prepared to bend – this is an obvious one. It takes a lot to uproot a tree – a lot of rain, wind, weather. Trees are strong and resilient precisely because they bend to circumstances. We need to change in order to grow – flexibility is part of the whole growth process.
4) Be prepared to let go – trees lose leaves all the time (just as we shed skin cells, hairs, sweat etc all the time). In winter, deciduous trees are prepared to shed all of their leaves to stay alive and grow again in spring. This is true detachment to ‘things’ and acceptance of change. A tree will surrender what it doesn’t need to survive a winter and be reborn when the season changes. We can’t grow if we don’t let go.
5) Reach for the sky – another obvious one. Trees embody the universal drive to grow – to reach higher, and in human terms, ‘succeed’ in whatever meaningful definitions we apply to that term. A tree’s growth is patient (pausing during winter), resourceful, flexible and adaptable, but always the aim to grow taller (without ever wanting to be the tallest tree in the forest ie no competition or judgement) prevails. The tallest trees reach for the light, even while they provide the shade needed for the trees below.
Thanks for reading and happy growing! Linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT. Love you to leave a comment.