How to Stay Grounded: Life Lessons I Learned From the Trees by Samantha Harris
Since moving I have gotten in the habit of taking morning walks on a nearby nature trail. I have learned so much from the nature around me. Here are a some of my favorite lessons:
A tree falls in the woods, but remains rooted in the ground. It does not die. Over time, branches grow upward, reaching toward the sky. When we stay grounded, when we take the time to develop/build a strong foundation, we have the ability to overcome even the most difficult obstacles. We may not live the way we expected or imagined, but we have the ability to adapt to change and continue to build a beautiful life for ourselves.
A tree is scarred with carved graffiti, but the scars only travel so far up the trunk. As the tree grew, people found it, too, difficult to reach up and carve into it. When we are young we also receive scars from others, but we have the ability to grow despite them. Is the tree less magnificent because of its scars? No. Never. And neither are we. The tree is not defined by what was done to it against its will. We don't need to be either. No one thinks, "Oh what an amazing tree, but these carvings have absolutely ruined it!" They are more likely to think, "Those people are the worst for carving on this amazing tree." Same is true for us. We are not ruined by the actions of others against us. It is the people who have scarred us who should be most ashamed. The scars may never fade completely, but we can still grow, still become strong, still reach for the sky and the stars.
Two trees of varying species grow side by side, at their base they are fused together, as they grew they spread apart over time, but sometimes came back together, fusing again at the middle, then spreading apart again. Many of our relationships are like this. We have people – friends, family members, mentors – who help us build a foundation. Over time we may grow apart from these people; we develop our own identities, but that doesn't mean they will not be there to support us when we need them again.
An alternative lesson here is, the people we start out with, don't necessarily have to be the people we end up with. Some trees that grow side by side like this come back together again and again, while others remain separate the moment they begin growing apart. Just because we have a shared past or history with someone, doesn't mean they need to remain "fused" to us for the rest of our lives. There comes a time in many relationships where it is just best to "grow" your separate ways.
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