What can we learn from trees? They’ve been around a lot longer than we have, so probably quite a bit. Trees are incredible creatures that we often overlook considering the fact that they are among the primary members of our planet providing us with enough oxygen to survive. If we can become quiet and attentive enough, we realize that trees can tells us many stories of wisdom and awareness that apply to our everyday lives. As silent teachers, trees have much to share, so take a walk in your favorite forest (maybe even try hugging a tree) and open your heart and mind for lessons on life.
1. Grow strong roots
Trees grow where they are planted, and root themselves firmly to to the ground they live in. Grow and maintain strong roots for yourself by knowing who you are, where you come from and where you want to go so that you can experience each moment fully. Having strong roots also means staying grounded, clear and focused.
2. Develop healthy branches and leaves
Trees access nutrients from the ground through their roots, and transport them through the core of the tree to grow strong branches and beautiful leaves. By developing your self awareness and inner strength, you too can apply yourself to the many things that you love and make yourself available to the people you love. Focus on your inner growth first to develop strong roots that allow your branches and leaves to unfurl, and thus your passions and dreams to become reality.
3. Accept your place in time and community
Trees live where they are for tens, hundreds and sometimes even thousands of years. They accept the things they cannot change, and continuously work to help themselves and those around them thrive. The nature of trees is to collaborate with those around them to co-create an environment that is beneficial for all its creatures, as they are inherently aware of the interconnectedness of everything. This is a very large and honorable concept, but can be boiled down to the understanding that by helping others, we are essentially helping ourselves, and thus creating community.
4. Learn from your past
We can read a lot about the past through trees; weather patterns, climate change, and historical events. Scientists have developed methods for physically reading trees by measuring the rings that appear on the inside of a tree. The number of rings indicates the age of the tree, while the width and color of the rings tell us about the temperatures and availability of water in certain years. What has happened in your past, and how is it informing your current level of self-awareness? Like a tree, you don’t need to hold on to the past, but understanding it will help you prepare for future droughts, heat spells and tough times.
5. Nothing is wasted
For trees (and all of nature, really) waste does not exist. Everything has a purpose; debris and dead plants become soil for new seeds to sprout on, new plants become food for another creature that fertilizes other plants. Essentially, there is nothing new, because nothing is ever thrown away. If we realize that we are also made out of materials from those that came before us, and our thoughts are merely floating on the veil of consciousness, perhaps our appreciation for this life and its wonders will grow.
6. You’re stronger than you think you are
Wild storms and extreme weather conditions can make trees dance wildly, and although some do not survive, others stand the test time and time again. Strength can come in many forms, and we all have the innate ability to use it if that’s what we desire.
7. Be yourself
A tree is a tree, and each species gracefully accepts its characteristics and qualities. Have the courage to ask yourself who you really are, and then surrender to it. Don’t waste your time, or anyone’s, trying to be something you are not. When in doubt, or feeling lost, connect yourself physically to the earth by walking on it barefoot, touching it with your bare hands, or the underrated cliche of hugging a tree, and you may find answers or at least some solace.
Image: Myrtle Glen Farm