Resilience: The Wisdom of Trees

That word, resilience, so often over-used is jaded by a lie.  Society gives us a false perception of resilience.  The lie we tell ourselves is that we need to get back to "normal"; worse yet, we need to struggle through in order to arrive at someone else's perception of normal.

This tree will never return to the same size and shape it was last season.  The leaves are shed to create the space for new growth.  Each year a new ring leaves an indelible mark on the trunk to mark the growth.  The tree grows; changing the shape and direction of its branches.  Yet, the tree itself - its species, its true nature - endures.

Resilience is not about remaining in the struggle just to get back to the previous view of "normal." The reality of resilience is that our true nature endures.  The suffering is temporary, but our soul [what is real in us] transcends.

Our practice is not to dwell in the struggle, no more than the tree is bound by its rings. The rings just mark another season; reflections like ripples in full circle radiating from its core. Our rings are ripples, not boundaries, radiating from our soul.

"There is a slumbering subterranean fire in nature which never goes out, and which no cold can chill.” — Henry David Thoreau


Our practice is to recognize the beauty in our nature, the authenticity of being true to our core. When we practice, we create the space to recognize what is ALWAYS there, within.  Then, these seasons of struggle are lessons, reflected back on our true nature.  Without practice, we begin to see ourselves defined by the rings, not the root; the reflection, not the core.

What is real in you, your authentic self will transcend this season.  The choice is to practice in such a way that promotes space - the space between the rings & ripples; space to see, to listen, to learn, to heal, to love.  Your true nature transcends the moment.

Truth of resilience can be learned from the trees.  As sun warms the forest, the trunks absorb the heat. They share this life, radiating outwards from their core, melting snow and offering evidence of its true nature that is alive & thriving within.

Resilience is not about returning to where, or when we once were.  The past is behind and so it should remain, a brief glance at the reflection in the rear-view.  Our eyes should be focused ahead, with the clearest vision of who we truly are.  The key to resilience is creating the space and time to reflect, and seeing the reflection for what it is - a reflection of our true nature, but not our nature itself.  It's not about forcing ourselves to go backwards.  It's about allowing our true nature to expand, growing in this season, and preparing us for the the next.

Realizing that is a practice. Take it easy.  Even the rings of a tree are not perfect circles.  Choose to connect with your best self; to find union with body & breath.  When you practice this season, choose to practice to feel your best.  Choose to practice in a way that allows your soul to thrive.