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  • Writer's pictureJulianne Downham

Connecting to trees...................... A Teaching on Growth!

I will often go and sit under “my tree”, I call it my tree as it’s where I go and sit and just be. I found this tree when my parents moved to Nefyn in 2017. When I stood in the back garden and looked up at the magnificent hills behind me it called out to me! It stood there alone yet perfectly placed in its own energy and space. I explored getting up there and when I found it I felt a great sense of peace welcomed me there.

This was needed as I was going through a challenging time of nursing my beloved father through the last stages of his life. During that period I would find solitude with my pain under that tree. I could sit there and I felt “held” by the strength that the tree was giving me.

After my Dad passed I didn’t return to that space for a while, through the pain that came with such loss I didn’t find myself there until one day a few months later. I left the back door that morning for a walk and instantly felt my attention be pulled up to the hill and “my tree”. So I followed where I was being pulled to and climbed up to the place I had avoided subconsciously in some ways for a long time.

I sat under the tree and I began to breathe, slowly taken breaths in and focusing the attention of the breath moving into my body, each breath working its way further down my body, filling my head, my shoulders, my back and all the way down into my legs.

The breath that was being focused down into my legs left my feet and connected to the earth beneath me. Slowly making roots, these roots grew and spread. Some were short and some were wide and solid. Some went on and twisted and turned and others just shot out and stopped. I began to feel a huge sense of strength, I felt stable and that I was solidly connecting to the tree behind me and the moment I found myself in.

I sat there still for a while, slowly letting my breath just be and letting my thoughts move through my mind like clouds, not paying attention to what was trying to be communicated.

In this place of stillness I got an insight of how we could learn so much from trees.

Trees know that they are trees, they know the basic component of what species they are and what their essential being is ie. the oak tree knows it is a big tree, a solid tree and it produces acorns to grow and begin the cycle again. It knows to produce leaves, and that they can then let them go after that stage of its job.

So they have a starting kit, they have the essential knowledge and then they go off and add their own style to it. They trust that when they have been planted they need to grow their roots, to make those roots strong through taking in the nutrients they need from the environment around them.

A lot of what we don’t see of the mighty oak has happened over a period of time in the darkness of the ground. Making sure the foundations they make will be strong enough to let the trunk and branches grow when they are ready to step into the light.

The roots don’t have a format or a navigation path set out, they trust that they will go where is best at the time, sometimes they hit some solid mass and either decide to end the root there or they navigate themselves around that obstacle and change course. But they trust all will be OK, that they can confidently accept that all is as it’s needed for now.

As the tree trunk sprouts into the light, it too begins to grow in accordance to what it’s internal guidance is showing. They don’t wait for instructions from other trees or approval from some other source that they are doing it right they trust the process. They take trust from the foundations they have laid that even if they come across some resistance in the environment they find themselves in they can continue to grow.

They also at this point of growth let the nature of curiosity and light guide the branches to follow the way they feel is best for now. No looking around and comparing themselves and their growth to the other oak trees with similar expectations of growth, or the pine tree’s development who has such different outcomes expected to be shown to the world. Some of branches become strong and solid producing an abundance of small sprouts and leaves, whilst some may just grow to the length required and stop there, possibly to be extended again at a later stage or to of completed the natural stage they needed to.

Oh how much could we take from this process of naturally trusting the process of growth and expansion. That the tree shows us the importance of keeping ourselves grounded and understanding that some work needs to be done in the darkness, the expected success of anything to reach a great fruition is based on the foot work done in the beginning. The process can be varied in length for all creations but the importance is there. When the roots are secure, and an understanding of what is underneath/within is clear then it’s easier and safer that we can weather the storms that inevitably life and nature present to us.

Questions to ponder:

What gives you your roots (your foundations)?

What conditions help your roots become strong?

What do you need to be doing to support the growth?

What hinders your growth?

These things could be people, places, activities, certain foods, music etc. These are needed to be acknowledged and regularly nurtured and actively acted on to maintain the ability to continue growth and expansion. Sometimes we may hit painful spots, bits which we would rather not engage with. These bits are what power surge our ability to be stronger and more stable, not something that need to be thrown to the side out of ease.

Trust that we know just like the oak that we can grow and be mighty and magnificent in all we want to achieve and be.

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