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Ancient Secrets in Trees: A guide to life and living


“Standing as the earth’s largest and oldest living monuments, I believe these symbolic trees will take on a greater significance, especially at a time when our focus is directed at finding better ways to live with the environment.”

Beth Moon, a woman who has spent the past fourteen years in search for the world’s oldest trees, is correct. She understands the magnificence, and importance, that is trees.

A source of mystery and wonder, trees do far more than provide us with oxygen. They are a helpful guide, especially when many of us are learning that in order to restore the balance we need to connect to the world around us, in much the same way that trees connect to the earth, the moon, the sun, the wind and the rain.

Everything in balance, just like the trees.

Trees live and die, just like us. And just like us, they need to be connected to their roots, their source of self, the essence of who they are in order to grow.

The link between the present to times long past, most of us take trees for granted. Yet they can teach us so much. This is particularly true for the ‘worried well’, those individuals such as young people with mental health difficulties, who may find daily life difficult.

Stand strong, be strong, grow strong, just like the trees.

It can be helpful for all of us to have an ancient ‘frame of reference’, a guide to life and living, that connects us to the wisdom of the ancients. Our trees, some as old as 5000 years, are the link. They connect us to this wisdom.

In our technology-infused world, life has become so fast that the average person cannot keep up; food has been genetically modified, crops poisoned with chemicals, bodies of water contaminated with harmful compounds, our air filled with electromagnetic radiation etc.

We cannot stop progress, and neither should we – this is what has moved us out of the stone-age and into a more civilized world. Many of us enjoy the comforts that our modern life provides, and modern technology can indeed help to improve our connections with our friends, family and the world around us – when in balance. But without the balance, many of our bodies and minds have suffered, polluted with toxins, negativity, a lack of harmony with the world around us.

Too far removed from nature, in many cases, is to our peril. Learning from trees, indeed all of nature, can provide us with the answers to restoring some of the balance…

The tree trunk is strong and tall, supporting the weight of the top of the tree. In the same way, the inner core of our being, our sense of self needs to stand straight and true in order to withstand whatever challenges life sends our way.

The tree may be unyielding at certain times in certain places, like when it comes to our children’s safety, yet its roots and branches are always gently growing, supportive and adapting to the world around it – an excellent guide for parenting.

The branches of the tree are gnarled and knotted, moving in a nonlinear fashion. Similarly, our minds need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances, enduring the ‘bumps’ and ‘knocks’ presented before us by allowing our minds to bend when needed.

Look to our problems from afar, as though viewing it from the top of the tree. All of a sudden our problems don’t seem so big. In fact, they are quite minuscule. We can observe them from above, just like the tree.

The roots of the tree form the foundation. Tree roots grow in an ever expanding mass – finding the goodness from whatever is around it. We too need to look at the world around us and focus on the goodness that sustains us and discard what is not necessary.

Connect to family, connect to friends, connect to self, connect to spirit, connect to the world around us – this is how we restore the balance. Drink the water, absorb the earth’s nutrients – our bodies are connected to the earth just like the tree. And just like the tree, it is the earth to which we shall all eventually return.

We can all learn from the wisdom of trees.

Toula Gordillo holds degrees in arts, education and psychology and a Masters in Clinical Psychology. She has extensive professional experience as a clinical psychologist, teacher and guidance officer.

Toula has worked in private practice and schools for twenty years, delivering important social, psychological, historical and cultural information to assist students with a range of short-term interventions and therapies. For more information visit Talk to Teens.

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