The Wisdom of Trees

autumn autumn colours autumn leaves beautiful

“The leaves are about to show us the beauty of letting go!”

As mid-September rolls around, my thoughts turn to the changing season.  It is when autumn arrives that I most miss my home state of Michigan, where the leaves turn beautiful colors, and the air becomes cool and crisp.  None of that happens in Austin, and I miss it terribly!

Trees show us a beautiful display of color, before the leaves wither and die.  This is a metaphor for what happens to us as we age.  Too many people think that age takes away our beauty, when instead, the perfection of our being truly blossoms.

As we get older, we start to let go of the things that are not important.  We lose some of our “sharp edges”.  We are less likely to be reactionary.  We tend to govern our tongues with more finesse.  We don’t sweat the “small stuff” like we did in our youth. We become more giving, more loving, more genuine.  If someone could just see our souls, I know they would see a brilliant display of color.  One last “hoo-rah” before the winter.  Our last chapters take on new meaning.  We strive to get it right.

Autumn also reminds me that it just might be the right time to take a closer look at my life to see if there are any things that I need to let go of.  In effect, do I have any personal Fall Housekeeping to do?  How am I spending my time?  Have I been listening to gossip?  Am I watching things on the television that are uplifting, or things that bring me down?  Am I making appropriate choices for my body and my health?  Is there clutter gathering in my home?  What am I reading?  Am I spending too much time on social media?  Am I getting enough “me” time to reboot?

What do my friendships and family relationships look like?  Are there toxic areas that need attention?

Last week, I was reminded of the wisdom of trees, by a little classic film clip of Tyler Perry, as Medea, saying that she equates people with parts of a tree.  In her wisdom, she says that most people are like leaves, there for only a season, and then they die and are gone.  The only thing leaves are made for is to “take from the tree and to give shade now and then”.  She cautions us that we often confuse lifetime expectations with people that are only meant to be in our lives for a season.  I found that a very profound statement.  The “leaves” serve a purpose in teaching us lessons.  But when the “leaves” become toxic, we need to let them go.  When I think of my former marriage, I think that I saw lifetime expectations from something and someone that was only meant for a season.  Moving on was necessary and something that made me grow and flourish.

Medea goes on to say that some people are like branches that seem so strong.  But her caution is that if someone is a “branch”, and you try to depend on them, they may break and leave you alone and hurt.

The valuable people in life are those few that are truly “roots”.  They are not going anywhere, and they provide the tree with everything it needs to survive.  You only need a few roots, and when you find them, you need to keep them in your life.  They provide you with nourishment and support.

Who are your “roots”?  Can you identify them?  What are you doing to make sure you are connected to those roots?  When was the last time that you reached out and told these people how much they mean to you?

So, what do we do about those “leaves” in our lives?  We learn from them!  Then we bless them and let them go.  No need to cause a fuss.  Through them, we have at least learned that expectation can be the greatest cause of pain.  We learn to become more cautious, more self-protective………but this can also cause us to lose vulnerability. One must be vulnerable in order to love and be loved in return.  Never let the “leaves” cause you to shut down, to set up big boundaries, to close yourself off from others.   There is no love without an element of vulnerability.

Expect, that in your life, there will be friends and family members that will always be “leaves”, a few may be “branches”, and fewer still will become your “roots”.  Share your innermost secrets only with the “roots”.  The “leaves” and “branches” do not need to know the intimate details of your life.  Have fun with the others, but your “roots” are your safe place to fall.

Happy Fall, y’all!

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