Along the California northern coast, there is a large community of trees that stretch hundreds of feet into the air—some over 350 feet—called California or coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens). Some are over 2000 years old, making them literally older than Jesus. They have been around, seen some stuff, survived.
Image courtesy of Kristi via flickr
Though their height and longevity are truly amazing, the most interesting fact about these redwood trees is their roots—they are very shallow, sometimes only 5 or 6 feet down into the earth. It would seem that these trees would not be able to remain standing with such shallow roots. However, the secret to their strength is that their roots spread many times that distance outward from the trunk, intertwining (and sometimes fusing) with other redwoods to create an underground network of powerful connections. This is why they thrive in thick groves. Each tree is held firm by the strength of the entire community.
The secret to their strength is that their roots … intertwine with other redwoods to create an underground network of powerful connections.
This wisdom from nature had me thinking about my own communities and wondering about the strength of my connections. After all, redwoods don’t have the same privileges that I enjoy. They have to grow where they are planted. You and I get to pick and choose. So, if we’re in Crapville, it’s pretty much our responsibility to make the changes and take the actions required to heal our situation and station in life.
The key is to keep company only people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.
Who are you keeping company with? Does your community support you? Are you actively in support of others? A Course in Miracles tells us that giving and receiving are one in the same. As you build up others in your network, you will see growth. This is the magic of the redwood trees.
As you build up others in your network, you will see growth. This is the magic of the redwood trees.
We know this, and yet somehow we resist engaging with one another. We fear that if we follow someone else’s lead or vision we will be nothing more than a cog in the wheel. And yet, that is exactly who we will be anyhow. This is life. Sometimes you’re the leader and sometimes you’re the follower. Sometimes you are the host and sometimes the guest. Getting to play all the roles is what makes for a rich life.
In community, just like we teach our kids in the sand box, life works best when we all take turns.
Maureen is a minister, storyteller, national speaker and premier teacher of A Course In Miracles. With her vast background in acting, she has had the pleasure of creating and crafting characters and stories for stage, TV and film.