The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.
If you were a tree, what kind of tree are you? Are you a red oak: easy-going but strong and steady? Perhaps you are a sugar maple: sweet, energetic and creative? Maybe you are a weeping willow: sensitive, kind and love helping others? Ah, I know, you are a black walnut: popular, attractive, but dangerous? (Black walnut kills whatever other plants get near it!)
Have you noticed that how we see ourselves as trees? We “branch out” when we explore a new direction. We “flourish” when we thrive. We “bend backwards” when we try very hard to please somebody else except for ourselves. And just when we are getting serious about work, there are always squirrels dancing on the branches and distracting us.
It dawned on me how a tree resembles a human being. A tree has roots, trunk, branches and leaves, and each of us has values (the roots of who we are), intention (the trunk of what we stand for), actions (the branches of what we do) and results (the leaves of what we want).
As a gardener, I’d like offer three tips of growing a healthy tree:
- Pay attention to your roots: What’s important to you? What are your core values? Love? Loyalty? Honesty? Passion? Courage? Or something else? A tree does not define itself by its branches and leaves. What happens after storm? Do you all the sudden become a naked tree? No, you are still the wonderful red oak, sugar maple, weeping willow, or black walnut as you always are.
- Center yourself with intention. Pop quiz- What tree has no trunk? The answer is: Banana tree. It does not have a true woody trunk. A tree without a trunk is technically not a tree. Would it be bold to say a person without intention is technically not a human being? Intention is the key for us to connect who we are (roots) to what we do (branches).
- Prioritize your branches and simplify your life. Have you ever seen trees that have tons of branches and leaves, so heavy that the trunk bended, so heavy that the roots just cannot get enough nutrients to support it, and it suffers. Simplify your life, with the values and intentions in mind, what are the actions and results are really matters? People hire gardeners to trim extra branches and leaves of the tree in the yard, but they don’t want to trim extra branches and leaves in their lives. Life does not have to be complicated. You will be surprised once we free ourselves from the burden of carrying all those branches and leaves, our tree is getting healthier.
How about starting your day with a sketch of a bare tree? You can put your core values on the roots, your intentions on the trunk, and start to populate the branches and leaves that aligned with who you are and what you really want. You get to decide how full your tree will be today.
Take a minute and ask yourself: what kind of tree are you? What kind of tree you want to be? And most importantly, what kind of tree you choose to be?
- Who are you , really? How would your friends describe you?
- What motivates you? What are you passionate about?
- What is your heart telling you?
- Is that a need or a want?
- Where is your life out of balance?