A client shared a quote that I will never forget…
“The wisdom of Trees in Winter: they show us the beauty of letting go.”
I have recommended the Hidden life of trees by Peter Wohlleben to a number of people as the book illustrates what Trees can help Humans learn about life and living well.
Throughout our lives – we let go of things all the time, mostly without recognising that we do. Whether that’s time, relationships, clutter, jobs, money, skin cells, brain cells and other unmentionables we dispose and let go of without a second thought.
A thought struck whilst eating about letting go of things that have been used. I usually have creative illuminating thoughts in the shower. There is something about the running of water that invites reverie and space, perhaps the act of creating for me is more about the act of cleansing – another letting go.
As I put aside the lid to the pot of yoghurt – I thought about what it was I was letting go of. Like the tree this was a leaf of plastic. If we think about this thin veil of plastic – it comes from oil which comes from organic matter that came from a tree or other vegetation millions of years ago. The plastic leaf did not cascade from my hand to the table with that carefreeness that a leaf from a tree descends to a loamy forest floor. No.
This (plastic yoghurt) lid was placed onto my wooden dining room table carefully and with little grace. The aim of the act was for the lid to be discarded in time. Without much consideration. The plastic leaf eventually going to a landfill site to add to all the other lids and plastic detritus that have accumulated rapidly in the course of my life to be a little big problem. Plastic life, spans a time of decay lasting between 10-200 years with little up-cycle value but with huge ecological impact and cost.
Being mindful of my impact, of my imprinted footprint on a multitude of ecosystems is worthy of thought and action. Observing where I can let go of less, which negatively affects the course of generations of Earth’s inhabitants is a cause I can ascribe to. Less plastic consumption. More demands on local councillors to reduce plastic consumables available in production and sales of various products. Small big acts. Recycle recycle recycle Michael.
With the coming of a new day, new moment, new year, new experience letting go invites me to reflect on the space that is discovered/recovered from discarding what has had use. Letting go of something that costed time, energy, money and sanity is a useful leaf to shed. Moving into another moment I can reflect on the benefits of either holding or releasing an element or relationship or thing.
In 2018 a number of leaves fell: I left my counselling space in Lee, clients finished short pieces of work with me, I stopped working for Together, the illness MS progresses and reveals other hidden horrors. My eldest left primary school and started his defiant walk towards adulthood.
My tree holds few leaves now and I am starting to witness each curve, and knot and root, branch, twig – offering views of a collection of unparalleled unique beautiful sights. There is learning here also as I struggle to understand what letting go has revealed. A dream to be realised? Challenges to be overcome and triumphed with? To finally see that in letting go, we win?
Energy is to be gained in the release. It is not ‘the loss of’ that I fear, it is the idea I will not ever be: whole, good, qualified, enough. Even here the Wintered Tree teaches ‘These ideas too are to be released.’
Suzanne Simmard – Trees
Mark Manson – The Subtle Art
Don’t Think Twice – Letting Go