Trunk

How strong is Your Trunk?

Photo courtesy of Chrisroll via Freedigitalphotos.net
"Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing" - Abraham Lincoln

This past week I experienced  a seemingly endless stream of cars topped with fresh cut Christmas trees on the roads. The weather in the Midwest continues to be in the 50-60s without a flake of snow in sight. Although people may not feel like its Christmas, the trees driving around tell a different story.

I must confess that as much of an avid gardener that I am, we have a fake tree.  I love the beauty, structure, and scent of real trees however, I’ve always had a hard time taking a beautiful, green, fresh tree and cutting it off at its knees. I prefer to plant my trees root intact. That being said, there is so much beauty, tradition, and fun in cutting down a holiday tree and bringing it into your home.
Christmas tree fields are a magical place to visit during the holiday season. They are full of some of the most popular trees for celebrating during December. You can choose from so many varieties:

·         White spruce
·         White Pine
·         Fraser Fir
·         Colorado Blue Spruce
·         Douglas Fir
·         Balsam  Fir
·         Scotch Pine

While growing, these trees absorb CO2, support wildlife, protect soil from erosion, and are biodegradable after they are done with the season.  Growers religiously plant 3 new trees for every tree that is cut down. If you really want to be green this Christmas you can purchase a live tree in a pot and then transfer it out into your landscape after Santa Claus visits. What these gems need is to have a pre-dug hole to be housed in and they cannot be placed in the house longer than 7-10 days. If they remain inside too long, they will dry out and have a hard time adjusting to the great outdoors. Christmas tree facts

As I’ve watched trees wiz by this past week one thought kept popping into my head “Why are potted trees double the price of cut trees even though they are half the size and not as commercialized”? Simple – the sum of the whole is worth far more than the parts – and so are you.  You see, humans aren’t really worth much if we don’t have strong “trunks” or our “roots” aren’t intact. In fact, without these natural attributes, we are just disjointed and trunked like a Christmas tree. We shine for a bit but in the end, the sparkle dims. There is so much more to us.

What makes us whole is our “roots”. Our roots make us who we are, help us grow, and are our life force. Your “trunk’ is your core and your values are your roots – a critical part that makes us human.  According to Dictionary.com values are the “fundamental beliefs of a person or organization. The guiding principles that dictate behavior and action”.  Your core values keep you on the right path and are your guiding force. They monitor your beliefs which impact your internal conduct. In short, they are our foundation just as the roots are to our Christmas trees.

Core values are different for everyone. They range from empathy to empowerment, honesty to accountability, or humble to courtesy. Only you can decide which values will ground and guide you. Values enable your “trunk” to remain strong and vibrant. Without them, you may weaken and become disjointed from your purpose or lose focus of your dreams. The big question that you need to ask of yourself is “what ARE my core values”?

I hate to tell you but your values aren’t going to knock you on the side of the head to let you know they are there. You need to go looking for them. Now, friends may be able to help because they often see what drives you or they know what you value. Ask them. You can also check in with your significant other – although be prepared for some bad with the good. Ultimately you need to rely on yourself for value identification and to learn what makes you tick. You need to become your own private shrink and look deep inside to pull out your top values. You also need to allow yourself time to quietly think about YOU.

Here’s how to find the values that make up YOU and ground you each and every day:


·         Find a comfy place to write and reflect. Write down every value that is a part of you, you admire in others, and really resonate with you. Write the first words that pop into your mind and don’t over think it.
·         As you write think about why what you are writing down has meaning. Make sure that you don’t write down who you want to be, but who you really are.
·         Look at your list and pick out the top 3-5 values that jump out. Again, don’t over think this. Write them down on a separate piece of paper and look at them. Put them in your phone, on a sticky note, in your planner. Become comfortable with them. Have them visually follow you.
·         Breathe your “new” values, live them, they are natural and they are YOU.
·         Whenever you have choices to make or a path to choose, ask yourself if your core values will be supported and your core will remain strong. If you have doubts, pull back and reflect.

Like a potted Christmas tree with a strong truck and healthy roots, you are more than just a tree this holiday season and beyond.  You are a complex miracle whose values make your core strong and keep you rooted where you belong, help you have an impact on your environment, and are the essence of you.


So. Just how strong is your trunk?