We will be talking about Growth in February. I know, seems weird but, Yeah!, we’re talking about Growth!
The wheels in my head started turning during the sermon at church this last Sunday discussing the teaching “I am the vine, ye are the branches”. Below are some of my thoughts (believe it or not, I did spare you some of my thoughts) that helped me choose “growth” as this month’s focused Piece of Wellness, and it all started with that Bible lesson. Let me show you how this developed.
This month gardeners may begin the process of pruning fruit trees and vines. Pruning in late winter encourages growth in the spring. Pruning in the fall is typically used for discouraging growth to help maintain the size of a tree or shrub. I am down to just a few fruit trees in my yard so this job is much less of a chore than it used to be, but it is still on my list of things to do and maybe that's why this sermon resonated so deeply. The sap in most trees is beginning to respond to the longer days and stronger sun that is blessing us. Slowly, slowly, and with much love the trees are beginning to wake and find a pulse of life. This awakening in fruit trees begins to make it possible to discern the leaf buds from the fruit buds to help guide the decision-making for pruning. The overall process invests attention on establishing a lead branch that will become the truck of the fruit tree early on in its life. As years go by, primary branches are identified and trained away from the truck to allow airflow between the branches. Of course, the tree will grow without this direction and attention, but as we can see in the wild, the tree will be subject to branches breaking from the overbearing weight of excess leaves, smaller branches, and excess fruit. Wild trees often produce large amounts of very small fruit. This large amount of fruit will most likely not ripen evenly because the sun will not hit the fruit consistently if the limbs are not thinned out and opened up. This could offer a benefit of a longer harvest but can also lead to potentially rotten fruit, missed with the harvesting and fallen to the ground for other animals to enjoy. These missed or unripened fruit can end up still on the tree when frost arrives also resulting in spoiled fruit. Of course, these things can still happen with pruned and orchard-ed trees but it is less likely. On the flip side, with less fruit that will be offered on the pruned and trained trees, there is more risk that something might happen to those few fruits and we can be left with nothing.
That’s a lot of info about pruning and growing and comparing wild to tame!
Time to move into the analogy.
Let's now think of our life as a Tree of Life. Right now it is late winter and energy is beginning to gently rise and awaken awareness of "fruit" or success. What if we are in the perfect time to prune our Tree of Life to encourage growth and even find our lead branch? Have you designated a trunk that is your primary interest, or your Higher Power, or maybe even your purpose in life? How magical would it feel to prune away what is not fruitful or producing success? Clip away what is going in the wrong direction. Give attention to areas that show damage and treat them with care. Shed them or mend them before moving on. What if we all took time to make sure there is “airflow” or space to breathe between our obligations or interests or branches of life? What if we paid attention to the light that was stimulating our growth and made sure fruiting areas of life were receiving enough light?
With all these parts of trees and parts of life representing each other above I would like to make sure to highlight how the health of the tree’s trunk is so important. Whether you choose to have that represent the Higher Power, life purpose, or something else, it is worth pointing out that it is what connects the roots to the branches. It connects our heaven to earth.
A very magical thing about a tree is how similar the root system is to the branches. Very often the shape and size of the canopy are the shape and size of the roots. Very often the health of what is above is in a strong relationship with what is below, and vice versa. So, the dreams that we keep as those branches that reach for the stars are tied to the roots that hold us strong. Those roots set up stability for a big reach of the branches. It’s such a beautiful thing for me to imagine it all working together with the added freedom of our free will. Each of us gets to decide our interests, beliefs, dreams, what creates the roots of our Tree of Life, as well as the vital trunk that connects our own personal heaven to earth. Did you catch that? We even get to choose the truck of the Tree of Life. We get to decide what holds the whole thing up. The other key feature that you get to decide about your Tree of Life is how wild it is or how tamed. You get to decide what is fruitful and productive, what is not, and if it’s time for it to be cut away.
Whatever we decide with any of this, there is one constant that will naturally keep happening, and that is growth. Until a magical moment, that is out of anyone’s control, that tree will keep growing and reaching and believing in life. It helps me feel the value of nourishing and caring for that growth when I realize that it will continue no matter what. Bringing back growth that has gone wild in a fruit tree that has been unattended is more manageable and tolerable if the tree is healthy. The tree can grow bigger with balanced pruning to keep it from splitting or heavy limbs breaking. Even things like water shortage or excess are easier for healthy trees to deal with and bounce back from. Healthy trees manage stress better. Pruned and guided trees produce intentional fruit that is substantial in size and quality.
So with all this said, this month I hope you take time with me to think about growth and define parts of your Tree of Life so together we can nourish it and promote health so it can withstand challenges as well as bear high-quality intentional fruits of love!
Thank you so much for being here!
Wishing you endless love & gratitude,
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