How an old tree inspires me daily and reminds me to nurture my own formidable root system and foundation — my intuition
I just learned something about willow trees that got me thinking about a lot of things, even an old favorite tree in my own yard. By now you know how my brain dances in metaphors! So I can’t resist sharing this one that recently inspired me. The willow sprouts wide-reaching, deep and tenacious roots that allow it to sway in the wind, bending flexibly while still fully supported. Have you ever seen a willow tree waltz in the wind? If you have, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Moral of the story: Be like the willow tree in your own life.
Find a way to grow fierce roots that provide a solid foundation beneath you — that allow you to ebb and flow through this human experience, through the ups and downs and all arounds. It’s not about getting through life unscathed. There’s no such thing. It’s about how you can navigate the bumps in the road and unexpected twists and turns.
It is a choice, even though it doesn’t feel so when you sit within the eye of any life storm. Boy, do I know that one. I joke that my life has been a series of tsunamis. Sure, it’s easy to laugh now when I’m on this side of those stories, but it certainly didn’t feel like I had a choice in anything while caught in the spin cycle for years on end.
But I did. And so do you. No matter what is going down — politically, personally, professionally…pandemically. We can’t always orchestrate our life events, but we can choose how we journey through them. We decide what we will give it and what we allow to be taken.
I think there are a couple of common pitfalls that keep us stuck in chaos and despair — not seeing the truth of our own power to rise yet again and rebound:
- Embedded beliefs: the limited-thinking, self-deflating untruths we adopted along the way
- Refraining from any accountability: the inability to see one’s role in their life story and the choices made that led to this present moment
- Running in perpetual motion: the chaos of busyness, distraction, self-medication that keeps us from seeing ourselves and the truth of what calls to be healed
When I left New York City 15+ years ago after decades of apartment living all over the world and bought my first house — I was lost in a sea of domestic equipment, systems and even trees; an unchartered territory that left me scratching my head. I remember walking the yard with my father shortly after moving to Woodstock as he pointed out things that would need attention when he blurted out, “And that’s got to go.” He was gesturing towards an old tree in the side of the yard that had been nearly fully uprooted by a powerful hurricane years before, yet held on continuing to grow with half of its roots exposed. “Never.” I responded. He just shrugged his shoulders and walked on.
You see, it was love at first sight. I even named her The Tree of Hope.
I felt like she was a talisman to remind me that even when life bends us, we do not have to break. In fact, we can continue growing, reaching for the sky and sprouting new roots — that we could grow in different ways. This mighty black walnut tree held on and grew branches that rose straight for the sun atop her support. They themselves became tall mighty trees that reached straight for the stars. We were connected like soul sisters.
She and I have now gone through many seasons of life together. There was once a little boy that climbed upon her back with friends. There was a beloved family dog who once ran beneath her chasing squirrels. There was some gardening and tending that took place to fortify her. Yes, I have basked in her magnificence and taken many pictures of her throughout the years as she was blanketed in snow or beaming gloriously in full bloom. And there was never a time I walked by her without experiencing a little heart surge and a moment of pure grace.
That’s all I see when I look at her. It astounds me that most people see her as a disposable weed in the corner of my yard. Nope, as long as she keeps hanging on and thriving…I’ve got her back (or trunk) and something tells me she’s got mine.
She reminds me that our root system keeps us grounded when we need it most; through the hurricanes and windy days of our journey. It’s not all about what’s happening on the exterior, but rather within and below the surface. But it’s not by chance — it’s by design.
Knowing what you need to weather life storms and to support your dance with life, is the greatest gift you can provide yourself.
Would you build a house on a wobbly foundation?
Would you throw your baby child out into the world unprepared?
So, why would you ignore this aspect of your own life?
Ask yourself what you need to create your version of a willow tree’s root system (what’s already in place, what needs more support) — what would be on your list?
And remember, as with plants and trees, our root systems can be invaded by elements that weaken us. Knowing our vulnerabilities is equally as important. What weakens you, makes you feel rattled and uncertain? Where are your energy leaks that need to be plugged?
For me, one of the most impactful discoveries I made along my own emotional healing journey was that of realigning with my intuition.
It was a homecoming, a remembering, a re-learning of a language of the soul. At first it felt foreign, but soon I was flowing in its embrace.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. We all throw platitudes around from time to time like, Follow your heart, and Trust your gut. But do we? Do we actually turn inward for answers and to solve our problems or do we continue to seek outside of ourselves and rely upon exterior forces? I get it. I know how difficult it is to navigate the noise of the world, to not listen to the opinions of others. I know how easy it is to succumb to distractions, busyness and self-medication. I also know what it feels like to stay stuck and defeated.
But our answers aren’t found outside of us. All the things we do in the name of ‘self-care’ support the foundation, but they aren’t the foundation. Your intuition is.
And don’t worry if you feel disconnected from it. It hasn’t gone away or abandoned you…sorry to say, but it’s the other way around — you abandoned it. But hey, have no fear, it’s a muscle that just needs to be flexed. The more you flex it, the more fortified it becomes. It is a home you always have a key to access.
I’ve been studying the science of intuition which feels like a permission slip to see it as the wise inner sage that it is. The science is there and it is irrefutable. But regardless of that, the real proof is in the pudding — it doesn’t matter what the science thinks, feels, senses, experiences. It matters what you do because this is your precious life.
If you’ve felt like there has been a missing link in your life, or that you just don’t know what next steps to take to feel in alignment within your world…just go home. Stop resisting. Go inward and sit in stillness. Open the door for your own intuition to come forth and allow yourself to connect to this inner, knowing voice. You will remember. And dare I say, you will become giddy at this reunion because things will become clearer, easier and you will become more confident and trusting in what you sense. You will no longer believe in coincidence, you will own your alignment and power.
This certainly gives new meaning to ‘going with the flow’…but this flow is your God-given beautiful intuitive power, your 6th sense. And another thing — this isn’t just for some. We are not doled out different serving sizes at birth. You haven’t been skipped by or gipped in this department. Nope, it’s still there, hidden away…awaiting your arrival.
Ready to awaken some dormant forces and fortify your root system?
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.~ Albert Einstein
Have you felt yourself dancing in the winds of life, bending to the point of almost breaking? Please share in the comments how your intuition is calling out to you to fortify your own root system. We learn most from the sharing of our stories.