Bonsai

There is an old saying that goes something like:  “You can’t force a tree to grow at a different pace than nature will allow, so why agonize over its given speed?”  Ponder it for a while.  So too it goes with your personal pace in comparison to the world that surrounds you.

After recently spending a week at the US National Bonsai Exhibition, surrounded by small trees that were up to thousands of years old, you can witness firsthand the simplistic power of that saying.  Everything has its own pace.  And don’t let the tree’s meticulous appearance or short stature lead you astray – they like we have a personal growth cadence.  The tree’s height and shape can be dictated by external influences such as their pot size, fertilizers, pruning or availability of sun but ultimately it’s up to them to determine the growth rate.  The vast horticultural techniques that a grower uses on a tree only determine its eventual outcome.

The environment that you live makes you feel comfortable or not based on the personal pace you were born with.  It shapes and determines your eventual place in the world; only you know if that pace feels right and is in harmony with your predetermined tempo.  A man may work uncomfortably on the hyper fast NY Stock Exchange floor for 20 years and end up in the hospital from high blood pressure.  This would be a case of having too much external influence pushing him along.  Likewise if you push a tree to grow too fast or slow and focus your attention too intently on it’s given actions, it won’t be too long before the tree reacts poorly.

The same man may also choose to become a monk, living in a tranquil setting.  Comparatively these drastically different external surroundings could affect his feelings in a positive manner.  Or… maybe this choice is found to be too slow of a lifestyle and the man wakes up to find that he is again uncomfortable.  Only he knows what’s right.

Looking closer at your day-to-day pace, you will feel varying levels of motivation or contentment for where you are in your life.  Sometimes you are “in the zone” and there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you want.  On other days the world may feel like it is flying by while your feet are stuck in the mud.  The best path is to enjoy the day and not worry about where the hours end up.  If you want to get super philosophical with me, I doubt that water in a stream has anxiety over going through a rock in its path; it just flows around it and stays on its own course.

Some species of trees grow at rates far different from others thanks to Mother Nature and growers need to work with them using distinct and appropriate methods.  For example, you can’t ignore pruning on a fast growing Redwood bonsai while in comparison, a White Cedar variety requires very little attention.  In your travels you will come upon distinctive people as well that have a pace which is not average.  Do not try to change them and don’t waste your energy fretting over their differences from yours.  Everyone is unique.  Your personal goal should be to observe and figure them out so that you can adjust accordingly.

Are you still with me or did you get bored and move on because of the numerous analogies?  Next time you feeling out of sync or are mad that you are stuck in traffic, think about the little trees growing.  You are being pushed or slowed down for a reason – you might not need to be as far ahead on the road as you think.  No need to honk and pass on the shoulder, just relax and leave it to the road to get you to where you need to be!

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