Bend Like a Tree… Explored
Last summer, while sitting at a bench enjoying a morning coffee, I was lucky to be sat somewhere where I was surrounded by tall pine trees. The kind that has nearly no branches on their trunks, with a tufty collection up top.
It was a relatively still day but there was still a slight breeze. I know this because as I sat and observed, I could see the trees gently swaying.
It made me remember the saying about facing troubles in life like a tree bending in the wind. The tree that does not bend breaks.
While watching the tree gently sway, I considered that the tree is not conscious of its swaying. It is not trying. It is simply doing. Being.
It is a tree, and trees sway in the wind. That is what they do. They do not have to try.
The tree is born fully accepting that it must sway to stay alive. This acceptance runs so deep that it forms part of the being of the tree.
Humans are not trees (I had to remind myself!).
Dependent upon our upbringing and when we were introduced to this concept of flexibility and flow; bending is something that we need to consciously choose to do.
Once we develop an aware ness of the forces which are causing us to respond with tension and unease, we can identify where it may be appropriate to bend a little.
The first and most powerful way we can bend is to simply accept what is. Accept what we can control and what we cannot control. Wishing that things were different or focusing on a perception that things “should” be different does not change the thing in font of us. All we can do is accept what is and accept responsibility to change what we can to alter things.
The two steps go hand in hand. Accept what is, and accept your responsibility to change what you can.
If you accept what is but do not accept your responsibility, this can lead to a victim mindset and/or on-going anguish about the situation. If you accept responsibility for change, but do not accept what is (so you are still focusing on what should be), this can create frustration, resentment and a build-up of anger.
Both steps are essential.
When to Bend
Bending is not being a door mat. Remember, if you crash your car in to a tree, it will still kill you.
Knowing when to compromise, when to accept, and when to go with the flow is an art form.
It is the art of living.
A kind caring considerate person may find themselves being too much and not putting their own needs first enough. A strong minded self-orientated person may find that they do not bend enough as they always put their own wants and needs first above others.
There is not simple right or wrong answer to the question of when to adapt to the flow of life.
You simply need to try it out and then use the practice of honest reflection to check the end result. If you do not feel in balance, as yourself why, accept responsibility for the choices that you have made which led to this feeling, and discover what alternative choices you can make.
With enough practice and repetition, this conscious choice to bend and flex will become a natural response applied appropriately to situations. That is; applied as a reflection of who you are and what you need right now on you journey of growth up the mountain pathway.
Awareness and acceptance transform a conscious decision in to an approach to living.
You know you are doing it, when you don’t even know you are trying.
Enjoy, for now.