Make Like a Tree: Trunk

This is the second post in a 5-post series entitled, “Make Like a Tree.” Feel free to check out each of the posts!

Last week we talked about our “roots;” the things that have developed in our lives to make us who we are today. This week we’ll talk about the product of those roots, and what breaks through the surface into the light of day.

What we present to the world, our core values and beliefs, grow from our roots. Just about every decision we make is, in some way, tied to these beliefs. To continue along with our tree metaphor, these make up our trunk. Our trunk (the core values and beliefs) rests on our roots (our development and history) to support all that we choose to be and become. These decisions are the basis of all that we present to the world. This is an important distinction. We don’t always present our true beliefs and values, but they are usually the basis of what we present.

Similar to our roots, these values are deeply important to who we are and our overall wellness. An unwell set of core values generally leads to a lack of wellness in all parts of our lives. Another way to look at our “trunk” is as our identity. The person we choose to be is based on what our history has formed in us as well as the things that we have chosen to pursue and value. At this point you may see a pattern forming, each part of our lives (as we move up the tree) is built on, and influenced by the previous section. To insure health in any particular area, we must foster health in each of the previous areas as well. While much of our history is beyond our control, we are capable of strong influence in choices we make about our identity. Just as the trunk of a tree rises to eye-level, our identity choices are constantly in front of us.

What this means is that we have an ability to care for our “trunk” in a way that we have been unable to care for our history. Our history is in some ways beyond our influence, but our identities are accessible, malleable and adaptable. We have the ability to make changes in our lives that move us away from unhealthy pasts and toward healthy futures. A healthy sense of identity built in a core set of values can provide a lifetime of strength.

Next week we’ll look at our “branches,” and the ways that we reach out into the world.

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