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Culture

Four Life Secrets We Can Learn From Trees

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There’s a song I learned in girl scouts that goes:

Make new friends
But keep the old
One is silver
And the other’s gold.

We are all meant to grow and change, and the new experiences in our life are exciting and wonderful, but that doesn’t mean we have to forget what came before. It’s a lot like trees—even though leaves come and go, their roots will always hold them in place.

Life Isn’t a Checklist

In Genesis 1:28, God tells Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

Father Moon calls these the 3 Blessings—be fruitful, multiply and have dominion—the things we are meant to do as human beings in order to resemble God.

It seems like a straightforward formula:

1. Mature as an individual
2. Get married and have a family
3. Leave your mark and make a difference in the world

Check!

However, growth is not just a ladder we climb or a list we check off. To truly grow to our highest potential, we need to continue to nourish our multifaceted roles.

A Tree Needs Roots to Grow Branches

Take relationships for example. Most couples start off as friends, sharing common interests and activities. After marriage, the relationship moves to a new level with new joys and challenges. We might be enjoying the romance, but what happens if we stop nurturing that initial friendship? When the friendship dwindles, the romance will surely follow suit. When we move on to a new level of growth, we don’t simply leave the other behind. Rather, we use it as a foundation off of which to build. Each level or stage that we pass through is a stepping stone for the next.

A tree doesn’t discard its roots or trunk after sprouting branches; in fact, those roots dive deeper and spread wider. We don’t stop maturing as individuals when we get married. If anything, the experience of marriage helps us to grow on a much deeper level individually. Our experience in the family will be the thing that propels us forward into taking on a larger role in the world, and will keep us grounded in the process.

Not a Line but a Circle

We all play multiple roles during our lives. We are children, spouses, professionals, parents and a myriad of changing and evolving roles. Growth means that nothing is ever wasted. Everything we do and experience is an opportunity to learn and create. Though our roles might change, our physical form ages and our understanding evolves, there is always an opportunity to spread our roots deeper while reaching our branches higher. The one constant is growth, and like a tree, we practice and cultivate our blessings with our whole being.

Perhaps it’s more like a circle than a line. It’s what Father Moon talks about in the theory of give and receive. Being a better person makes us a better spouse, and being a better spouse makes us a better person. When there is a constant flow, love can grow and expand infinitely.

Water those Roots!

In what area of your life have you felt stagnant? If you feel like you’ve hit a wall in any particular area, look to the roots. Are you struggling in your marriage? Instead of looking at the relationship, look at how you can nurture yourself. What lesson might you need to learn as an individual? Having trouble at work? Gain some perspective by investing in your family. A little downtime with those you love can do wonders and help you prioritize your life. Think about how you cultivate your familial relationships and how you might apply that to your professional ones.

Sometimes we need to take a step back in order to take two steps forward. So get out there and try something new. As long as you are open to learning and growing, you’re doing it right!