I have always had a deep connection with nature and was especially fascinated with trees. Their shape, size, life span, stories and beauty enchanted me from a young age. It was no wonder then that I chose a tree of life as the symbol for the logo for The Wholly Grail and it’s meaning the foundation upon which it was created. The idea of the tree of life has been around since ancient times and here is my take on the importance and significance of the tree of life and our well being in this modern day world.
‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’
When we look at our wellness and well-being this quote couldn’t ring truer. Like the Ancient Tree of Life everything in our lives, bodies, minds, spirits are intertwined within one other, forever growing and expanding. Just like the tree of life we must ensure the roots and every root, branch, twig, leaf, bud is nourished, nurtured and pruned to enable the tree to continue to grow to its fullest potential. This ancient wisdom is within us all and I believe we know it at our core, we just need to remember it again.
Life is all about cycles and seasons of growth and change, of letting go and resting only to start fresh in the next season where we can bloom and blossom once again. We shed the leaves in autumn and winter to make room for the new growth that we trust and know on a much deeper level will grow again. Each leaf and blossom are a blessing and as beautiful as the last but if we didn’t continue to grow our leaves and flowers would become dull and limp. This reminds us that although growth can be hard it is also necessary and beautiful at the same time.
The roots of our tree are supporting and grounding. They are the foundation upon which we make our decisions and achieve fulfilment in life. In these roots we will find the very roots of our soul, the things that light us up, the things that we value the most. When we live a life in alignment with our values we live in harmony and this becomes very apparent to those around us. Our values act like our compass pointing us in the direction of our true north. The more we are honour our values on a regular and consistent basis, I believe, the more fulfilled we are in life.
We don’t choose our values to be virtuous or in fear of being judged. We choose our values because they fulfil us and are the very foundation of our tree of life.
The branches make up all the different parts of our life, our family, our friends, our career, our health, our fitness, spirituality etc. On these branches are the twigs and leaves that are part of these areas of our life, so for example your friends might be on a large branch and it may have branches growing from that, that show your work friends or your college friends.
The trunk is the gap between our values and our lives. How we are fulfilled in all the areas of our lives depends on how true we stay to our roots and values but also how well we look after the tree. We know to grow and expand we need nourishment of a healthy diet, hydration, fresh air, to breathe, exercise, head space and time to do the things we love. We need support from the environment in which we live, if there are weeds or sneaky lodgers living off the tree, the tree will suffer. If someone blocks the sun and we are living in a place of darkness we will not grow or be nourished. Whether you are a tree living in a forest amongst hundreds of trees or out in an open field alone you still need nourishment.
Sometimes branches and roots rot and die, this is OK once we prune these parts and ensure that the rot does not spread throughout the tree. We need to be mindful of the branches that need our care and attention as they grow and realise that it takes time. Too much pressure or stress upon a branch will cause it to snap, that pressure may come from within or from someone else, sitting on that branch. We know how to grow and when we trust and allow it to happen, we grow with ease.
On a spiritual level the tree can be very representative of our own spiritual experience in this life. Trees are always growing and expanding towards the sky, basking in the light while rooted and grounded in Mother Earth. The biggest and strongest trees were once seeds sitting in the dark. As the saying goes, ‘the mighty oak was once an acorn who stood its ground’. The tree knows it is part of a divine force and trusts that after each cold, harsh winter spring will come again. The tree does not mind helping out others, providing shelter and being part of the bigger picture of this thing we know of as life. Every part of the tree is important and necessary for its existence. As it is above, so it is below. As it is within, so it is without.
You know your tree of life better than anyone else. You know the strongest roots and which roots no longer serve you. You know the strongest branches and which branches bare the most weight. In reflecting on your own tree of life you will bring awareness to the areas that need the most care and attention. Through your awareness you will be able to give to yourself as a whole being, the attention, love, care, healing, rest, stimulation, nourishment and connection you need to one or all branches on your tree.
How well are you looking after your tree?
What is calling out for your attention? Are your roots stable? Is someone or something taking too much energy or infecting the tree? Are you carrying dead weight that needs to be cut back? Is someone or something standing in the way of your growth?
What one step could you make to nourish your tree?