5 Reasons To ‘Be More Tree'
It is thought that there are about 3.04 trillion trees on our planet today,
that’s about 422 trees for every person. Of course, these leafy life givers are
essential for our survival, but they could also teach and remind us of some
great life lessons. I’m going to outline just a few…
1. You are not the same as you were a year ago.
The obvious reminder we have each Autumn, in the magnificent display of
colourful leaves falling, is the idea of letting go. There may be things in our own
lives, we are clinging on to but need to surrender or break an attachment from.
This could be a person, a place or even possessions.
Make no mistake though, this process is rarely easy and often requires
some courage, conquering the fear of stepping out of our comfort zones. We
possibly feel more vulnerable at this time, in the same way the tree’s branches
are for the Winter months ahead of them.
I’m reminded of a video online where a toddler is crying because the
trees are losing their leaves. I think this is sometimes what we go through as
we reluctantly let go of the things that no longer serve us. It does mean
however, that when the leaves begin to grow anew, they are not entirely the
same as the year before. In the same way another layer of the trunk is formed
by the tree, we’ll have hopefully gained a little more wisdom and strength with
the passing of time.
2. They remind us of the transient nature of things.
‘This too shall pass’ is a phrase we have probably all heard of, and yet, in
the midst of a dark season it’s sometimes hard to cling on to such hope. The
changing seasons can remind us that we too go through different phases.
Sometimes it feels like we’re in bloom, other times it feels like we’re buried.
The Japanese see the blooming of their magnificent cherry trees as
representing the passage of time, transience, impermanence and mortality.
They were used to represent samurai warriors as
‘they who do not fear death’:
‘Live in simple faith…
Just as this trusting cherry
Flowers, fades and falls’
(A Haiku by Kobayashi Issa, translated by Peter Beilenson)
3. With strength and firm foundations, we can withstand the
The study of trees is called dendrology, the first part of the word comes
from the Greek meaning to ‘be firm, solid and steadfast’. There is probably no
greater reminder of this than ‘The Mighty Oak’. The Celts ‘tree of life’, based
on the oak tree, symbolises strength and endurance. The roots were said to
grow as deep as the tree is tall.
‘as above, so below’,
which Carl Jung extended to
‘as above so below=mind above, thought below’,
represents the balance of self with hidden roots of the unconscious.
Even when it may look like the bough is broken and decayed,
the whole self is not always visible to us or others, but there is still
hope for growth.
An example of this is seen in the Aspen, which can not only predict a
coming storm, but can survive even forest fires. Even when it looks like the
tree has died, new shoots return in the Spring. In the same way, with a firm
foundation, a connection to our roots and grounding, we can also rise again
despite the challenges we face.
4. Wounds may scar but we have great power to heal ourselves.
It’s hard to find an adult who has not experienced some sort of trauma in
life whether physical or emotional, it seems to be the nature of life on this
earth. Things cannot always be rosy, or we’d probably not learn and grow.
Trees can also sustain wounds; anything that breaks the bark and damages
the tissues transporting food and water where needed. Just as ‘sticking a
plaster’ over our wounds may help in the short term, getting to the root of a
problem can help us move forward and heal.
The tree, when wounded, is best left without a dressing
as it has the ability to heal itself from within in the same way our skin forms a scab and
heals without any help.
I’m not suggesting we don’t need the help of others for healing, but to emphasise
the power we have within us to heal from the inside out.
5. Connection and community are key to survival and quality of
Science has now shown that below the surface lies a vast network of roots,
connections and a communication system between different types of trees,
not dissimilar to the neurons in the brain. These networks, called mycorrhizal
networks are helped by a huge array of fungi to help communicate of possible
threat as well as exchange nutrients.
The scientist Susan Simard illustrated this in an experiment with a Douglas
fir tree and a birch tree. She found that the two could communicate what their
needs were, and in response exchange nutrients with one another as and
when it was needed. This reminded me of times I have called on a friend to
give me a ‘pep talk’, that I would later repeat to that same friend, at a time she
needed to hear it from someone else.
In the same way age can provide greater wisdom; the taller and older trees act
as ‘mother trees’, having the most complicated of networks, which help
neighbouring and related trees to thrive too.
There’s no guessing how we can relate to this: listening to the wisdom of
our elders and ancestors and supporting each other in a reciprocated nature
can also help us all stay in best health in a healthy community. I truly believe
community and diversity is needed to thrive and have the best quality of life.
I hope in sharing these examples from nature, we can find a deeper
appreciation for the world around us; reminding us to stay grounded, rooted,
ever growing and keeping hope alive.
Love and blessings to you all,
Katie Joy x
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