My daughter painted me this painting. Back in March for my birthday. It is in the spirit of a Balance Tree - the concept being that the branches of a tree can only be as wide and strong as the roots. Such is the balance of life. And in the spiritual - that the soul can only flourish as high and as powerful as the body is grounded in the human experience. The branches and the roots.
A friend of mine introduced me to this concept - and showed me an image of a Balance Tree that she loved - and I loved it, too. And so, for my birthday, my daughter played off the Balance Tree image that I then showed her and created this one. She based the dancer image off a photograph that was taken of me a few years ago.
I am the trunk of this tree.
I love trees. And plants and flowers. Wood and leaves. I have a lot of them on my body. Tattoos of flowers with strong and true meanings. Branches that hold the petals and greens of the people that I love. Images that connote protection and grace, bravery and wisdom. And so the Balance Tree resonates with me deeply.
And then I learned about The Purpose Tree.
The concept is a bit different. The roots, in the Purpose Tree are the me. What I want and need. What is important to me. The things that make me strong and vibrant. Full of life and love. The trunk is the we. Family and friends. The people in my life that I care for, nurture and lover. And the branches of the tree are the all. The brother and sisterhood of others. The vastness of humanity and the wonder of the infinite. And the idea of this tree is that I first must nurture the roots - the me - before I can give to the trunk and then eventually to the branches.
Often times we don't do this in that order.
We forget the me in favor of our family and friends, or that vast world out there. We are mother, wife, lover, sister, brother, maker of foundations or save the whales methodologies. We take care of our bosses and our workers, our children and our parents and we forget to nurture the roots that are ourselves.
This mixed up order of all things nurtured resonates particularly deeply for me today. The day of memorial. We forget that I think. The today is not just the day of picnics and popsicles, barbecues and big, storewide sales. It is a day of remembrance.
And when I think about many of those, really boys and girls, that go off to protect the all, I am deeply aware that they did this before their roots were strong and grounded in the earth that was to be their own life experience. We asked of all these brave - while so scared, mostly young - people to tend the branches without a root system in place. The epitome of selflessness.
And so, in honor of this day of memorial - as I begin to grow my own Purpose Tree, little by little watering the ground where my roots will soon sit strong - I wish two things. That those that made it home - the lucky ones that we honor on Veteran's Day - can now take the time to tend their roots. Forget about their families and friends for a while. And understand that the world will wait for them, owes them this time actually. So that their foundation can be strong and, when asked again to show up for all of us, they can from a place of even greater strength.
And I wish to extend this gift to you, too. To tend your own roots. Care for yourself. And see that it is not a selfish thing to do. That actually it is the most necessary and selfless thing of all. For only when we are strong in our skin and soul, true to our heart and kind to our bones, can we then send our power and our grace out to others.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Dog and Cat lover.