by Cara Lumen
It lay curled on the ground beside the tree it had served, beautiful even as it moved into uselessness. I noticed it on my walk and was drawn to pick it up; looking for the message it might hold for me.
It comes from a Crape Myrtle tree—a tree that blooms late in the summer and grows by adding beautiful flowers in shades of red on the tips of each branch, These flowers then become the branches for next year’s growth. It is also s a tree that gracefully lets go of the old.
The bark was on the ground because the tree had expanded and split if off. It has completed its work. I’m certain it had done its work well, protecting the inner tree, but it no longer fit. If it had stayed in place, the tree could not grow.
What do I have in place that is keeping me from growing? How have I expanded and what do I need to allow to split off? What no longer fits into my vision, my plan, my passion?
It was the message I sought.
I’ve had several opportunities lately to move backward—take up services I used to offer but have outgrown. That’s why the idea of doing them again held no appeal—I had outgrown them. I am in a different mind set. I have new skills I love to use more. I have new ideas I wasn’t to express. Why would I ever entertain the thought of moving backward?
Sometimes we are offered choices in order to fortify our determination to move forward.
What has changed for you? What are you willing to do? What activities and interactions bring you joy? But more importantly, what are you no longer willing to do? What needs to drop away, just as the bark has dropped from the tree it once served.
From moment to moment we are different. We gain new insights with every interaction. We find new adventures that excite us. And we cannot go on the new adventures unless we stop carrying the old stuff around. We cannot move forward as long as we are holding on to old beliefs and habits. We cannot grow without holding new expectations.
The Crape Myrtle tree adds new growth in the form of beautiful flowers, just as add new aspects to your life as you open up to new experiences. But in doing so, the tree outgrows its skin, its bark, and releases and discards what it no longer needs.
What do you need to release?