I planted a six inch dogwood tree in a distant meadow on our property in 1991 and assumed it didn’t survive that summer’s drought. I was walking in that area in early spring 17 years later when I spotted it. It was almost the same size as when it was planted and somehow still alive. I carefully dug it up and transplanted it into our garden, which had rich, organic soil and a tall, fine mesh fence to keep out predators.
A neighbor asked me “Why are you planting that chewed-up, spindly stick?” I explained that it was the seedling that I planted all those years ago. It still had life and therefore potential.
Now that dogwood tree is over eight feet tall. It’s covered with delicate flowers in spring and small white berries through winter. On a recent Christmas, five pairs of cardinals enjoyed dinner on the dogwood in the garden.
So I ask, “What is the true nature of a dogwood tree?” Clearly it’s to grow tall and be covered with flowers that turn into berries that provide dinner for cardinals and delight for humans. Becoming a chewed-up spindly stick was simply how the seedling adapted to ongoing threats of deer, rabbits, and drought. Removing these threats allowed the true nature of the dogwood to emerge.
A respected archeologist recently wrote that there is little evidence of war or hierarchy in the first 95% of human existence. It is only in the past few thousand years that man-made fear has dominated our consciousness. It is only in the past few decades that we have lost regard for what is true and relevant.
Most of the problems humans face were created by other humans who were either living in fear, stuck in fear-based thinking, or holding onto self-serving versions of the truth. We have adapted in order to survive conditions created from fear. Could we be the human equivalent of a chewed-up, spindly stick?
What might we become if we moved beyond fear-based thinking and gained lasting respect for truth? What would happen if obstacles to working together were seen and removed? How might our world be different if fear and misinformation no longer interfered with each person being able to explore and develop their unique gifts and potential?
Let’s find out!