I think in pictures. I always have. To the point that it becomes difficult at times to actually explain in words what I am ‘seeing’. I had this experience at work yesterday as I was trying to explain my vision of corporate balance – revenue growth secured by very strong basic tenets.
So I began in my usual way with an apology for my pending rant and a “bear with me…I’m a visual thinker.” My team has come to understand that, if they are patient, I will eventually make a good point that will become a part of our team’s vernacular. It still makes me smile when I hear someone casually mention “monkey bars” or “potholes and craters” or any of the dozens of others. They sound nuts but they don’t seem to know it. Yesterday it was trees. More specifically, roots and branches.
A tree cannot be healthy without both roots and branches. A tree that is unbalanced and has one but not the other will ultimately fail. And, a trunk without either? Well, it’s just destined to become toilet paper. (At that point I heard crickets. But, they understood my point.)
Later in the day as I went about my evening with my kids, I thought about this in terms of my personal life. There was a period of time that I literally had no roots. I lived with someone who made me feel ‘less than’ and intentionally severed all ties to my support system. I also had no branches because I had little hope and even less energy to pursue any interests beyond simple survival. I have often referred to this time as the “withering years” which makes more sense to me now.
Over the last several years I have been working very hard to invite life back in and to reach for things that are new. Branches. I have a healthy bucket list which grows by the day both on the “to do” side as well as the “already done”. I am writing again. I am participating in the Theatre Program. I took a chance on love which I swore I would never do. I am allowing myself to be seen. I’m running. And I making new friendships including a lovely woman by the name of Sally whose writing I appreciate more than she knows. Apparently she likes mine too as she may use one of my blog posts in the class she teaches as well. I’m stretching for air and light. And it feels good.
I am finding that roots are harder to repair; but not impossible. I am making a concerted effort. Last week I had coffee with my friend, Laura, from many years ago who just moved back to our hometown from Australia. Tonight, I had dinner with my High School friend, Lori. She lives less than two miles away and we never see one another but for school band concerts. It’s time to change that! We ate Greek food and enjoyed some amazing conversation about life. And, if all of my packing for my upcoming trip is done, I may catch a horse show tomorrow with Deb from High School who I didn’t know then – but do now. There are dozens of others from my past who are all a part of my intricate root system – work, school, life. I couldn’t really see that they were right beside me in the midst of the storm. But, I’m finding them again by the day. I feel anchored. And it feels good.
- It takes discipline to tend to your roots.
- It takes courage to stretch your branches.
- And a strong wind to strengthen your timber.
I am grateful for all three.