Lessons from a Bonsai Tree

Many people associate bonsai trees with inner peace, serenity and contentment… they are earned over time.


Sometimes you can actually come into great awareness and insight of your world and yourself via social media. Who knew! I wound up learning something profound from a frustrating place I found myself in. So, it’s almost the end of the school year and since lately I have been feeling wonderful and I have been able to do so much and not be sick – I have gotten sick and tired of being sick too often, over the last couple of years. So I was doing great. Then wham, I felt so sick I have to immediately go to my doctor who decided I needed rest. So at home feeling tired, hot and very much frustrated, I decided to feel sorry for myself.I was doing a splendid job, until I saw this video that annoyingly, kept coming up in my recommended videos. Ultimately I decided to click and there you have it, a video on a traditional Japanese art form, of all things, snapped me out of my pity party.

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The art form of Bonsai has been around for well over a thousand years and as I stated before is a Japanese (and Chinese) art form and horticulturist practice which when translated means, ” planted in a container”. Well there is nothing special in the translation of the term right? Wrong.

More than just a horticultural practice this art form has some very valuable lessons we can live by:

It Takes Vision

There are two ways to look at the Bonsai practice. It can be viewed as offering only limitations or restrictions or reflecting in miniature the beauty that your life can be once you step beyond those seeming limitations. In order for a plant to become a bonsai tree there has to be some serious planning. The artist has to have a vision of this tree before the process begins. Keeping in mind that it may also have its own ideas of how it wants to be. However, from the curve of the bark to the lines of the branches, everything has to be in balance. So too should we try to be balanced in our lives. Too much of anything no matter how good it is or how good it feels is never advisable. Therefore we should always know the direction we want to head in.

It Takes Time

Then, there is the time put into a bonsai tree. Time means nothing and everything, as there is a saying that “a bonsai tree is never finished”. A tree can be passed down from generation to generation in an effort to ensure that its beauty and full potential even within that shallow ground can be reached. similarly, no matter where we are planted whether deeply in the ground or in shallow soil, we can reach the potential that has been predetermined by where we begin, your circumstances do not limit your possibility unless you see it as limiting and choose to give up along the way. Nothing good and worthwhile happens over night.

It Takes Commitment

imagine getting a plant that has been around for 800 years? Bonsai trees can live that long! But imagine getting the plant and two days later you somehow killed it. Centuries of special care and attention to details, of souls poured into its care, vanquished in two days. The care and expertise needed to ensure the survival of the plant is crucial. Many owners, after experiencing the trauma of killing plants, have been able in time to successfully care for them. The key here is that when they failed they did not stop. they continued to pursue their passion until it yielded the kind of success that brought harmony and contentment. In life we will fail but failure does not mean the end but the growth of the individual who ascends to greater heights of knowledge insight and hopefully maturity.

It means Being Unique

One of the major fascinations with the Bonsai trees are their unique miniature appearances. However each tree in and of itself is also unique. The shape that they eventually take has a unique quirk that goes along with it’s creation. There is the Windswept bonsai style ( Fukinagashi) that becomes an example of a tree that struggles to survive.

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Windswept bonsai style

Or the Growing on a Rock bonsai style (seki-joju) where the tree’s roots try to protect themselves from the sun, by growing a special bark that covers them!

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Growing on a Rock bonsai style

It must be mentioned here that there are well over 430 varieties of bonsai trees. Therefore, the lesson is to see the beauty in your unique characteristics. Instead of striving to be like someone else, how about just being the you God intended? That means appreciating and accepting yourself from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet. Blow where you are meant to blow and grow how you were intended to grow. It really doesn’t matter if people understand you as long as they accept that that is just the way you are.

It is truly fascinating that often times we look for profound, grandiose revelations, when insight comes from the most unexpected of places. Who knew I could get so much insight from a four minutes (video)

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Loves to tell and hear untold stories about people, places and experiences!

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