I’ve always found it fascinating when I see palm trees withstand winter storms with such grace and ease.
They bend to extreme degrees, yet somehow defy the forces of nature upon them and don’t snap. When the pressure is released, they bounce back to their full stature, amazingly intact, alive, and unbroken.
It’s equally fascinating when humans withstand life’s storms with grace and ease.
Just like Palms, the human spirit can bend unbelievably, and not break. When the storm passes, it emerges intact, alive, and unbroken.
Palm trees are monocots. As such, instead of having deep, thick roots to ground them, they have numerous small, fibrous roots called adventitious roots. This means that their roots are produced from a ”root initiation zone or area.” As long as conditions are favorable, the roots will grow. If conditions become dry, the roots stop growing.
So it is with our root system. Some people possess a primary, deep, nourishing root system feeding their lives. Many may feel they have no roots, however. Whether literally, as in you have no family or community, or you just don’t feel rooted in your life.
Palm tree roots are not very deep. In fact, they are quite shallow when compared to the towering heights the trees can grow to. The multitude of small roots enables the palm tree to stay rooted while being tossed around on the surface.
We may not have one deep root, but we all have access to numerous small roots.
These roots can provide us the nourishment we need to grow and to withstand any of life’s challenges with grace and ease.
Palm trees and other monocots don’t develop what’s called a secondary xylem, or layer, which is the hard, rigid wood seen on many trees.
Lacking this hard outer layer allows them great flexibility. Since they sway with the forces, instead of resisting them, they are able to bend with the pressure instead of break, unlike many trees that are not so flexible.
It is no different for us. We grow our secondary, hard outer layers for protection, so we don’t get bruised, banged up, or hurt by life. This is completely natural after lifetimes filled with trauma, loss, or a lack of love.
When these hard outer layers are no longer needed, they can begin to trap us in our own skin. We cannot sway with ease because we are stuck.
Healthy roots are important because they anchor trees and provide a channel for nutrients and water to enter, which allows for growth. Roots house food reserves and produce other organic materials trees need to grow. These functions are vital for a healthy tree.
Our roots need to be nourished also. When we ground into fertile environments, we create a channel through which we can receive love, energy, and connection. All things we need to grow and stay healthy.
The fascinating thing about growth in nature is that, when the seed germinates, it sends up a sprout and sends down a root.
These forces that seem at first glance to be oppositional actually work in unison.
This simultaneous process of grounding and growing allows us to reach out safely, with stability and confidence.
We all know people who, faced with difficult circumstances, weather it with grace and ease.
When under pressure they remain flexible, reasonable, and don’t seem to have a problem giving way to dominant forces.
The key here is that they don’t give in. They give way.
They can afford to give way because they know they aren’t being crushed. They are grounded, rooted, and know they will withstand whatever comes their way.
These are traits present in all of us. We all have access to this grounding, this rooting, this flexibility. It’s sometimes just a process of checking whether our lives are being nourished through our root system.
This process of growth is not an uprooting. It does not involve changing who we are or where we’ve come from. It involves softening our outer layer and trusting our roots.
Taking a good look at our root system can prove revealing. If we’re lacking nourishment in our lives, we can plant seeds. Water them with patience, love, and give them space to grow.
When we simultaneously ground and grow into our lives, into our bodies, and into our potential, our roots will hold us steady as we reach great heights, bend with the force of life, and emerge from challenges intact, alive, and unbroken.
Photo credit: nist6ss & Robin Jacob Abraham