3 Lessons learned from one of my bonsai trees

I have been talking a lot about acceptance lately and coming to terms with what is. Well, a little while ago one of my bonsai trees died. I was a bit confused as to what happened and honestly still don’t know the root cause (pun intended).

It was my Sawara Cypress tree. It was a relatively new tree, only 5 months since I got it, and it was likely a few years old based on the size. After I came to terms with the fact that it wasn’t going to be saved, I noticed something quite interesting.

A clipping of one of the branches was sitting in a small container that had captured rain water. And it was still very much alive. I thought to myself, “What are the odds that I can take this branch and create a new tree from it?” Lesson #1: Stay curious even when logic tells you not to.

Turns out those odds were pretty good, since it is now planted in the small pot you see in the picture. I took the branch and skinned the bark and let it sit in water in the sunlight on a window sill for several weeks. Finally, a few roots sprouted from it and that was when I transferred it to the pot.

Which brings me to Lesson #2: Reserve judgement of an event as long as you can. We assign meaning to the events that happen around us, whether that be positive or negative. Before we assign meaning to them they are simply neutral events. The nature of things, if you will.

This experience has really helped me better understand what it means to accept the nature of things. To remain curious about how I can remain connected to the natural balance and harmony I find around me.

Finally, Lesson #3 from this experience was, Retain the power of choice because sometimes things just happen for no apparent reason. Just because the first tree died didn’t mean that I was a failure or I am a terrible bonsai grower. Maybe there was an underlying disease the tree had, or some other random event that had nothing to do with me.

No matter the reason behind the event of the tree dying, I had the choice of what to do next. I chose to try to save a part of that tree, and for now it is surviving and showing signs of growth. For me this is part of my ikigai, being able to take care of my trees gives me a sense of truly living. 

This might be confusing for some that think ikigai is the Venn diagram that you have seen. Am I an expert at bonsai? No. Am I getting paid for it? Definitely not. Do I love it? I do. Is this something the world needs? Certainly the world needs trees, but do they need my bonsai? Questionable.

So the Venn diagram kind of falls apart when you try to use it as a litmus test. Ikigai is all about what makes life worth living, not a sweet spot or big goal that the Venn diagram makes it out to be. 

If you’d like to learn about how you can find your ikigai, send me a comment or email and I would be happy to discuss.

P.s. If you haven’t taken the time to appreciate a tree today, take a few minutes and do so. Put your phone down and away, walk up to the tree and observe the intricacies of its branches and bark. It is fascinating to me how trees grow and I am thankful that we get to coexist with them.

#bonsai #ikigai #trees #naturetherapy #shinrinyoku

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