Root Down to Rise Up

Drawing from, but you can draw your own.

I did this healing exercise in both my adult and teen journal writing workshops. On the tree and in the branches, they wrote words that positively described them, how they were special, and how others saw them. Then under the ground in the roots, they wrote their values–what was important to them.

The oak tree has always had a strong symbolic meaning for me. My connection to trees is deep. (When I was a child, I sat in them for hours and read.) Despite the storms, wind, and rain, the oak tree bends, but it never breaks. Its roots run deep, its core is powerful, and it rises up to not only persevere, but to be a beacon of hope for the world.

It’s been a tough week on many levels, and everyone has those days, weeks, months that just seem like endless storms that pummel our spirit and soul. It’s not easy to dig deep into our roots, our values and let our positive attributes stretch forth when we feel like the world keeps knocking us down.

I went to yoga after my teen’s class, and as I reached my arms to the ceiling and rooted my foundation into tree pose, I thought about my positive attributes. What do I root down to in order to rise up to not only get through another day, but to make my life, my family, my community, and the world a better place? What do I reach for?

Photo by Alysia Thomas

One word came to me–optimism. My hope and intuitive belief that the crisis that I’m in or the sadness that I feel will get better is what grounds me. No matter how devastated I have been, I have always reached up and reached out for the good in life, the best in others, and hope in myself that I can make this world a better place.

But it all begins with me. If I don’t grow deep and strong roots, if I don’t reach out to help others or ask for help, my branches are fragile, and I will break. Yes, some of our branches do break, but the core of who we are is forever powerful if we root down, dig deep, and find beauty, love, and sunshine no matter where we are in our lives.

So I ask you. What makes you strong when the winds of life beat on your branches and threaten to tear down your foundation? How do you dig deep and root yourself to the earth, so that your spirit isn’t ripped away? What makes you special? I hope you come up with at least 10 adjectives, because you have so much to offer. What is important to you? Knowing this makes you a powerful entity. Living by your values and sharing your unique attributes creates a community that is stronger together.

But it all begins with you.