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  • Resilient Practice

Be a Tree Hugger

"Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky"

— Kahlil Gibran

This week is National Tree Week!

Have you ever hugged a tree? We highly recommend it! The potential for creating an embarrassing reputation for yourself aside, it feels good to be reminded of these incredible and ancient planetary beings to whom we owe our existence.

Trees are responsible for breath – and breath is synonymous with life!

Trees have been on the planet for 370 – 400 million years.

The oldest living tree currently on Earth is reported to be a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine named Methuselah located in the White Mountains of California, USA and is estimated to be more than 4,855 years old.

Trees are hugely symbolic and their presence in mythology and folklore is rich and varied:

There is much research about the physical and psychological benefits of connecting with nature. We ourselves wrote about it in : The Power of Nature

Here is a tool that we wrote about for increasing that connection: Connect with Nature

Trees themselves however hold a special place within spiritual symbolism as they can literally be seen as the conduit between Earth and the Heavens. They have their roots deep within the soil for stability, connection, and nourishment. When trees are called to weather great storms, their roots reach deeper and wider into the earth to counter the elements and so that they can remain upright. Like us they draw sustenance from the earth but unlike us they do it directly at the rock face. Tree roots are known to form a web of connection throughout the forest floor and below so that messages can be passed from one organism to another and this community of roots is the ‘spring’ that we feel beneath our feet as the forest floor rises up to meet us. This root system is our earthly support as we take shelter beneath the forest’s vast canopy of leaves. It cushions us as we travel the paths on foot.

Trees can be seen as a conduit connecting earth and air, as energy in the form of water and nutrients is passed through the trunk in both directions. Because of this they are masters of flow. We can take our cues from them as we note their ability to receive the new and discard the old. They are cyclical creatures, falling into the patterns of birth, death and rebirth that we are all familiar with. We see their spectacular talent for letting go in vibrant displays of orange red and gold in the Autumn, and we are reminded that beauty is transient and all the more miraculous for it.

Trees are skilled in alchemy using the energy of sunlight to catalyse photosynthesis resulting in the production of oxygen and the taking up of carbon dioxide, a chemical reaction essential for all life on Earth.

Trees symbolise strength and grounding. They also symbolize flexibility and adaptability.

Like us, trees can heal their own wounds and despite huge adversity, they always grow towards the light.

Willow is known for its ability to bend and change shape according to the strong forces provided by nature. Yew, a highly poisonous tree commonly found in English churchyards is reborn from the centre of its trunk as a ‘bolus’ upon dying and so goes on when it appears that life is extinguished, and hope is lost.

We revere our trees also for the wood that has seen our huge water vessels float, our dwellings supported by vast beams and our sharp flint arrows fly towards the enemy. Without trees, our human lives would simply not be.

We can gain so much from bowing in humility towards these huge silent beings with whom we share the Earth.

Try this:

Take a walk outside amongst the trees.

If this is not possible, search out some inspiriting photographs or artwork to invoke ‘tree energy’ for you.

If you live in an apartment, you could consider adopting a small house tree such as a bonsai or yucca plant.

Find a place among the trees to sit and rest.

Breathe deeply

Give thanks for the air in your lungs

And let go of what no longer serves you

Look at the trees

Take in their colours

The shape of their leaves

Their scent

The sound of their branches creaking or whistling in the wind

They are all movement and life

Notice the shade and protection from the sun from the canopy

Feel the shelter afforded from above

Lean on the trunk and feel the strength of its core

The roughness of the bark

The flexibility of the branches

Sense the fluidity within the body of the tree

Feel its flow

Allow your feet to feel the spring of the roots supporting you

The connections that they forge with the vast web of roots from others below ground

Drop your own roots here to become part of the dance

Look around at fallen leaves and old twigs that are scattered over the ground

Appreciate the talent that is inherent there - for letting go

Of that which is no longer needed

Breathe deeply

Spend time among the trees

Who, whatever befalls them

Do not struggle or suffer

Who simply go on in silent trust

With beauty and humility

Offer up gratitude

And draw inspiration from the trees

To grow always towards the light

With grace and acceptance

And to simply BE

For more insights and a host of tools and techniques for exploring the Self and improving your human experience see our book:

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