ROOTS

ROOTS

Grounding or zero?

Around this time last year I had three gardening face – offs 1) Jimson Weed 2) the wall climbing ivy 2) a giant vibrant violet thistle: all glorious weeds in real life that were each taking over a different aspect of the garden and morphing from beautiful, unusual delights into virulent, rampant and destructive blights. What had once, in its springtime, been a mass of delicate flowers, with a little rain and a lot of sunshine had become giant, unwieldy and unwanted. They had to go.

Not one of these extractions was an easy task. The root systems were so intricate and ingrained, and my strength no match for the subterranean anchorage they had established, that it required days not minutes and the use of hardcore tools and implements; one brand new pitchfork shattered into pieces whilst the root remained unscathed and I had only just started the job. But I succeeded. And, whilst not one plant went without a fight, I learned by doing and looking and listening and living, that some roots can be easily shaken loose, others need more serious intervention and in some situations it’s wiser to leave well alone in order to maintain the security of everything else around it.

It seems to me that growing up, leaving home and moving house / jobs / countries tugs on one’s own deeply ingrained psychological root systems.

It’s too easy to accept that we are defined by our roots then live our lives like trees rooted to the spot, clinging to a past for an identity that becomes by its very nature, outmoded and outgrown. The sins and graces of our forefathers and mothers cradle us softly then bind us fast, uniting one family member to another unconditionally through love, nature, nurture, justice, mercy, honour, hope and duty. Yet, as safe and comforting as this can feel, the inevitability of change awaits. If we are to truly grow, we must either break away – sometimes with a gentle tug or on a light gust of wind, sometimes in a violent tornado, or if we are lucky, all that is needed is a little occasional pruning, a regular cutting back or a cutting away so that we ourselves can be gradually potted on. Moving forward and moving on by unearthing and tending one root at a time is kinder to our Selves and all around us, less radical and undisputably the more humane option.

No matter what our backgrounds are, we are not our parents or families and our parents and families are not us. That does not mean that we have to erase all evidence of that and there from whence we came. No – those roots are as important and essential to the chrysalis Us as breathing. Make no mistake, there is nothing better than returning to home and hearth, friends and flames, gorging on those two handed hugs and catching up with everyone who gives us a boost is as good a healer as any guarana laced energy drink or weekend spa stay.

As loyalty and empathy begin to motivate our choices we must also remember that we are not our employers either, nor are they us. If trees can be uprooted, moved and then planted in more advantageous surroundings, then so can we. Provided that we handle ourselves and the situation with the utmost care, we can become strong, confident and thus capable enough to develop and nurture our own root system. Better that than clinging to a future that is pre-determined and that leaves us strangely wanting, unstable, wavering and deeply co-dependent.

Feel free to add your thoughts to this discussion.

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