My Quest Hub
National Tree Week
"IN A FOREST OF A HUNDRED THOUSAND TREES, NO TWO LEAVES ARE ALIKE. AND NO TWO JOURNEYS ALONG THE SAME PATH ARE ALIKE." - Paolo Coelho
National Tree Week is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year from the 25th November to the 3rd December. Some of you might be old enough to remember “Plant a tree in ‘73” when it started – I’m not by a few years, but I do remember the thick white t-shirt I inherited as a child from the event that had a big oak leaf logo on the front.
The week marks the start of the winter tree planting season. Now is a great time to plant new trees because they’re dormant and slowing all of their processes down ready for the winter, and the soil is steadily damp which makes it the perfect combination to establish roots. This got me thinking about us humans, and how similar we are to trees. Stay with me on this – I obviously realise we’re not covered in bark (most of us), and we have a few more options in life than standing in the woods all day (as delightful as that sounds). Nature tends to encourage us to slow down a little this time of year – it’s dark when we wake up, it’s dark by the time we get home from work, daylight never seems to really fully happen and the cold weather encourages us to hunker down inside. Just like the new trees tentatively spreading their roots to create the foundations for their growth, we start to naturally look towards the New Year, thinking about how we would like our coming year to look.
Trees roots aren’t actually that deep, they just spread out to keep themselves sturdy. My mum has always called them ‘tree bones’ and I’ve always done the same, telling friends to “mind the tree bones” when we’re walking through the woods. It somehow makes the trees a bit more human, a bit more deserving of the respect they are due. Trees work hard for us, with each fully grown tree creating about 270 litres of oxygen a day. Unfortunately, humans need around 550 litres per day, and then with the amount of CO2 all of our production work and pollution makes, we’re making them work even harder. If we can all plant a tree, we can help ease the work, and make the world a bit lovelier. Because they are lovely, aren’t they? I love it in the spring when the new, dark green leaves are unfurling with the promise of all they will be. I love it in the summer when the leaves turn that almost lime green colour, and you can look up into the canopy and see the sunlight dappling through. I love it in the autumn when the beautiful golds and reds and browns of the leaves dance on their stems until the winds come and they swirl around creating mini tornadoes of colour. And I love the winter, with the bare bones of the tree exposed, solid and sturdy, sometimes with a coating of snow, more often dripping raindrops onto my head as I walk under them. Changing all the way through the year, but still a tree.
It makes me wonder how we can do more of that in our own lives? More of being able to accept all of the changes that are thrown at us, adapting and noticing all of the differences in our lives throughout the year, but still being ourselves. At the core, still having the values and behaviours that make us unique and full of, well, us. It can help to know what your inner values are (and a cognitive hypnotherapist will definitely be able to help you figure those out). A really good test is to sit quietly and just feel. Feel if the things you are doing, the way you’re speaking to and about people and yourself, the way you act, the way you spend your days feels authentically ‘you’. Feel all of those thoughts and imagine those situations and notice if any of those don’t sit comfortably with you. It’s absolutely ok to feel uncomfortable, by the way. Life can’t all be rainbows and unicorn kisses on your forehead. But the uncomfortable feelings are telling you something isn’t quite right, and the more we listen the more that ‘feeling muscle’ gets stronger and we can start to change things to create the life we deserve.
So, those uncomfortable feelings you start to discover that are linked to your core beliefs and values? You can start to change them so you can feel more aligned with yourself. More true to yourself. I hate this phrase because I think it’s over-used without any advice to back it up, but if you can start to identify those uncomfortable feelings and behaviours and change them for the better, you can start to live in your authentic self. By the way, don’t search Tiktok for ‘being your authentic self’ because it makes you want to throw your phone across the room with the sickly-sweet impractical advice it gives you! Maybe go with what Chad Sugg said instead, “love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.” That’s really all we can do. Learn to love ourselves each and every year, and keep on doing that.
Trees are strong and sturdy, but they still bend and flex in storms. I’ve had my fair share of storms this year and I’ve survived, still standing, just with a few of my branches broken off. And although those branches won’t regrow, I am still complete. I am still standing, strong and sturdy.
Visit treecouncil.org.uk and onetreeplanted.org for more tree-planting information.
Carrie has been a qualified QCHPA practitioner since 2011 and works mostly with women feeling overwhelmed and anxious. She sees clients online with the belief that people who are comfortable in their own space will have the best results for them.