Looking at life from a different angle

I recently read an article of the Tree of Life, by Wayne Visser, who looked at a tree from a completely different angle.  Humans, instinctively, want to be out in nature.  Our inner self knows that, to be in nature, is not only good for the body, but also for the soul and the psyche.  There is always order in nature; nature is always in balance; and it is this that humans, instinctively crave and love.  Let me take you on this journey that I read about, share with you my interpretation and you can let me know what you think.

The seed or acorn, lies deep in mother Earth’s womb, germinating as time goes by.  Who would’ve thought that a small seed will produce a big, beautiful tree?  The seed, for the writer, symbolizes untapped potential, beginnings and having faith (think of the mustard seed-symbolism in the Bible).  The expression “to plant a seed” is often used when we talk about launching a new project, having a new thought or idea, and believing in our dreams.  Planting a seed deep in the earth can be seen as “digging deep” in one’s own soul, getting in touch with the real (inner) self, or getting in touch with your subconscious mind (your dreams). 

As the seed germinates and the tree has started to grow, roots are developed.  The roots of a tree are what it uses to grip into the earth, to keep it from falling over and to draw up food and water from the earth.  Humans also have roots – whether we call it our religion, upbringing, culture or beliefs.  As humans it is important to have a “root-system,” otherwise life will be difficult and we will not be strong enough when we are blown over or in a storm, so to speak.  Our roots, just like that of a tree, reminds us that we all have internal strength, we just need to tap into it and nurture it.  Our soul, just like that of a tree, needs food; whether the food is quiet-time, a relaxing bath, walking in nature, or meditating, taking “time-out” to connect with our inner strength will make it stronger and help us cope better.

As the branches of the tree grows and reaches toward the sky it can be seen as a reflection of our life; our destiny.  As the branches grow, we go on a life’s journey, learning, experiencing and growing.  Not just physically, but also mentally, spiritually and emotionally.  Our one lesson is to let go of fear and to not let anybody deter us from our journey.  Like the new branches, we are sometimes vulnerable or told we cannot do something, but if we can learn to not listen to the noise and stay connected to our roots (inner self), we can grow and reach our dreams.

When the budding leaves and/or blossoms start to appear, it is a signal that spring has sprung; that a new cycle is beginning; a new life, as it were.  Our life also goes through cycles.  On a physical level we come into this life as a baby, then we grow up into an adult.  On an emotional level, we “grow up” and learn that, throwing a tantrum or 2, is not a way to “get through” life.  On a deeper, spiritual level, we discover that there is a deeper meaning to life.  Just like the budding leaves that come out every season, we can also “turn a new leaf” anytime we want to.  Whether we let go of a bad habit, change careers, change relationships, or anything else, we are constantly “greening” our lives.  After all; what’s the use of having a mind when you can’t change it?

A tree’s trunk must be sturdy and strong in order to withstand the weather.  All of us have gone through a time in our lives when things were ruff, when there was a storm, or when the wind was blowing so hard that we thought we’re going to be knocked over!  However, when we have a secure sense of identity and self-worth, a positive attitude and a strong belief in oneself, then, come what may, we can and will stay strong.  Your inner self can “hold you up” no matter what, when it is strong and looked after.  When we “mature” we know when to bend and when to stand firm.  This is not easy, but it can be taught and will grow with wisdom.  Wisdom is about building bridges and listening with our inner self; knowing when to say something and knowing when to keep quiet.  “For everything, there is a season;” when it is winter, we want to rest more, stay indoors and recharge.  When spring arrives, we start to wake-up, we have more energy and a new lease on life, as it were, to start something fresh, something new.  Along comes summer and we are full of energy, joy and optimism.  Then it is autumn-time; time to slowly slow down, recoup, recount and reflect. 

Our arms are the branches of a tree – it reaches out into the world.  Like the branches, our arms are a place to rest (“rest in your lovers arms”), it is a place to hide when we are upset (hugging somebody), it is a place for a child to find comfort (a child needs a soft place to land) when needed.  Our shadow, like that of a tree, is not something to be afraid of or to dislike.  Our shadow is a teacher that often shows us what blockage (s) we might have in our minds and/or hearts.  There cannot be a tree if we don’t plant a seed in the dark earth.  As humans we cannot become who we truly are if we don’t accept and love everything, and every part, of our being – including our shadow!

There are many beautiful trees that flower and/or bear fruit.  Ask any farmer and he will tell you that, in order to harvest every year, you have to work with nature and not fight it.  Listening to our inner voice, we are guided through our life knowing we are taken care of, no matter what.  Flowers are, interestingly, used for any occasion; whether for a wedding or a funeral!  For the writer, flowers reminded him (the writer of the article) of the colours of diversity and change, of the way one looks at life – are you looking at life through “rose-tinted glasses” or are you looking at life through “dark shades?”

Life is like a tree.  It constantly changes but always remains grounded.  By staying true to yourself and grounded, remember who you are, remember your roots and never give up on yourself or your dreams.  Believe in yourself, stay connected with your inner being and remember that the ups and downs in life is never permanent; seasons come and go.  Life is not a destination; it is a journey!

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