Maybe I've taught too much yoga, but this thought hit me like a truck one day while driving home from class. Literally. Except the truck was in front of me, and pulling a big tree that was headed off to be planted somewhere.
Fresh from vacation, we'd had a few experiences that triggered this whole analogy a bit more.
What am I writing about?
We're all roots and branches. Some of us are all roots, others all branches, and some of us are a bit of both. And as life changes, so do we.
Think of a person that is a root. Someone who knows where they are from, and where they have been. Comfortable with the place they are at, and choosing to root themselves in deeper. Maybe with a job, old friendships, their home, or possibly with things that tie their roots to memories of the past.
Then, think of a person who is a branch. Continually reaching and looking outward. Extending to new opportunities, challenges or friendships. Depending on their time spent as a branch, some extensions are sturdy and strong while others are delicate and fragile. Only time will tell whether they too will grow and flourish or break off only to begin somewhere else.
Then, think of what encompasses both a branch and a root. Recognizing the comfort of the past, while fully embracing the unknown. Likewise, someone who embodies both has a solid trunk establishing them firmly in the present.
I've seen what happens when someone delves into their roots deeply - so much that they seem to forget all other parts of the tree. Holding onto things or memories tighter than what is sitting in front of them. Reaching so badly for the roots, as if they are the only thing keeping them upright. And to a point, yes, they are what holds the tree down. But have you ever seen a tree survive in that way? I sure haven't!
I've also listened to lots of roots talk about how good their roots are. How firm they are in the ground, and how no other root can compare. And, to a point, I agree. But at the same time, I question if we all spent our time digging down under the ground, we'd have no opportunity to see the beautiful shade that's been created above us.
Likewise, if all we did was seek to create shade (and branch out), we'd miss the fundamental importance of what holds us in place. Possibly throwing away any sense of balance and literal solid ground beneath us.
Moving to two different states where we didn't know a soul has taught me a lot about what it means to grow a new branch. I know the feeling of walking into a room where you don't know a soul. And I've learned how awesome it is to visit the roots of comfort - family, friends and places of familiarity.
And I'm full of gratitude for those roots who decided to extend branches of help, reassurance and friendship. While they were rooted in consistency, they chose to look up and extend reach to those who were looking for something to grasp onto.
Because I also know what it is like to walk into a room full of roots who like to continue looking at their other roots. It's exhausting to break through.
With the analogy in place, I look ahead at where we could all be a bit more branchlike in our rootdriven lives. While keeping those roots protected, sheltered and safe is just as important as it is comfortable, maybe looking up at the branches every once in awhile is good too.