Man is like the tree of the field…”

(Deut. 20:19)

If you pay attention, you’ll find guidance in everything. Every part of your life has a story to share and wisdom to impart…are you willing to listen and take the lessons to heart? Wisdom translates to knowledge when you drink in and embody what you’ve learned.

Today, we’ll learn from trees. The lessons are abundant, the work is deep, and there is much to do. Let’s get started with a definition:

Root (verb): establish deeply and firmly.

I: Do You Know Who You Are?

Trees know what they’re about. They are deeply and firmly rooted in the earth. They don’t succumb to the (peer) pressure of wind or rain. They hold their ground. Sure, they sway, but they rarely break. They stand for something. They don’t wait for the world to tell them how to take shape.

It’s all about your roots, friends. Are they firmly planted and intertwined with the earth, or are they just beginning to take hold? Do you nourish them by holding true to your values and beliefs, or do you sway and swap in order to fit in with your surroundings?

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

Everything you need is inside of you. A tree doesn’t look to the world to tell it what it is. A tree is a tree. They remain connected to the world—and gain nourishment from it—because they remain connected to their source.

Know your roots, know yourself.

II: A Tree Grows In Winter…?

Ever notice that we celebrate the ‘birthday’ of trees (the 15th of Shevat on the Hebrew calendar) in the winter? Who celebrates growth and rebirth at a time where nothing grows?!

Trees may not bear fruit in winter, but the work continues within. You may not see it, but it’s there. And when the ice thaws—poof! Out come leaves and fruit and fragrance and grace.

Growth is an inside job, guys—as is everything worth having. There are times for growth, times for rest, time to toil, time to reap…you can’t be gogogo all the time. Turn the “winters” of your days into opportunities for rest and rejuvenation, and from there, sprout.

III: Boundaries

Sometimes, trees engulf each other. It’s a fascinating and strange phenomenon. It’s difficult to know where one tree ends and another begins.

What happens when trees over take their surroundings? Destruction. Chaos. Upended side walks and broken roofs. There’s nothing pretty about a lack of boundaries.

That, my friends, is what happens to us when we let go of boundaries. This is what happens when we let our roots take hold of others, when we stop protecting our privacy and space for the sake of “connection” and “relationship.”

Tell me…does that sound healthy to you? Boundary-less relationships don’t yield growth. Connections form and remain strong when everyone knows who they are, what they value, what’s okay and what crosses a line.

If you want to yield fruit, know where your limits are. Don’t engulf others, and don’t let them engulf you. Amen.

VI: There Is Value In Challenge

Trees are exposed to elements.They can’t run and hide from rain or thunder. They melt into temporary discomfort. In the end, rain bears fruit.

The world is harsh, but if you melt into it and get comfortable with discomfort, you’ll find yourself on the other side of challenge, and stronger for it.

You can’t grow without challenge.

Nothing worth having is easy. It’s nice to imagine a world where hard work and effort pay off immediately without heartbreak, disappointment, or pain, but, that’s not how things work (I know. It’s devastating. The sooner we recognize the truth, the easier it is to live with it).

Run and hide if you wish. Or, stand firm in your beliefs, and don’t let a little (or big) challenge knock you off course. When you fall—and you will fall—get back up. Sometimes it feels like the world is out to eat you alive. But, if you call upon your foundation, your roots, the beliefs that connect you to your source, you’ll be one step ahead of the game.

These aren’t super fix-it tools. They are strategies to help you navigate. They are tools to help  you make the best of the beautiful life you have.

Be the tree of your field: Stand tall; know yourself; take time to rest, and embrace challenge. And most importantly, keep nurturing your roots!

Now that lesson time is over, I hope you’ll step outside and drink in the stories and lessons nature has to offer. I know I will.


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