Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Four Trees


Four Trees...

We can think of ourselves
as having four basic dimensions
Emotional - Social
and the

Tree can be used
as effective symbols
to represent these four facets
of ourselves

If you were to choose
a tree for each of these
four parts
what would they be...

think of these parts of yourself
and consider which tree suits them best

Is the tree tall or small
deciduous or evergreen

straight or bent

would your tree be bare or in leaf
healthy or neglected
diseased or robust

would your tree blossom

or flower

produce fruits and pods
broadcast seeds

would your tree be trained
to remain small and compact

rootbound or stunted

does it provide shelter
and nourishment
for others

may the tree require some pruning
or cutting back

Is it windblown and battered
by the ravages of time

Does your tree provide a sanctuary
a place of peace and calm

Is it strong or weak
deep or shallow rooted

tangled or entwined
parasitic in nature
or a proud forest species

hollow in the inside

a young sapling starting out

or a mature
deeply rooted specimen

does your tree
show new growth
budding new tips
is it thriving

how do you see
the four trees
that you have chosen
to symbolise the:

Physical body

the Intellect

the Emotional - Social part


your Spiritual self...

Do you feel comfortable with
the appearance
the health
the status
and the purposes
and roles
of these four trees
in your life

Do your trees
feel to be in balance

What may you need to do to

and nurture
these four dimensions
of the whole
of who you are...

You might like to explore this discussion further
by drawing your four trees
and spending some time journalling
the ideas that come to you
regarding their current wellbeing...

Happy growing...



  1. What wonderful photos! And how interesting to compare ourselves to types of trees. I like the analogy and will spend some more time thinking about it.

  2. Hi Delwyn

    I know exactly where you're coming from. Trees are 'individuals' like human beings and they need the right conditions if they are to thrive.

    When neglected, they mostly survive but remain fairly nondescript. If they are nurtured and given the room to grow, not only do they become superlative specimens, but they give so much back in return.

  3. Gorgeous photos. I think I am a different type of tree depending on the day. Or maybe one kind of tree, but varying in blossoms and leaves. :)

  4. Hi Splendid Little Stars

    Forgive me but I can't remember if you have visited I will extend my welcome again...It's nice to have you here...I know I have been to your lovely corner...

    Trees do offer a great metaphor to work with...

    Happy days

  5. Hi Martin

    I'm glad that you find the metaphor fitting. Working in a symbolic context like this can often be very revealling and open us up to awarenesses that we may not have reached through a purely rational approach...

    Can you come up with trees that reflect your 4 parts...

    Happy days

  6. Hello there Amy

    Yes we can change from day to day depending on our moods and outlook and life's vagaries...but if you were to consider the status of those four dimensions of yourself and choose a different tree for each part might you notice something interesting...

    Happy days

  7. Delwyn, I liked that and the idea resonated with me. I shall give it a go. Thanks!

  8. Delwyn - what a beautiful analogy!
    I have the feeling that this notion will stick with me for a while, and I will find myself considering trees and wondering how they correlate to my various states of being.

    This morning I took a long walk, and I saw the most beautiful tree (maple, maybe? or a kind of oak) dropping its red leaves. I resolved to go back and take a picture and catch it in this moment of dramatic transformation. I find myself thinking about trees a lot now. Yesterday I ordered my daughter a book about trees for Christmas . . . and she is very interested in the natural world, but truly, the present was also for me because I want to become more knowledgeable about trees. I always asking my walking partner", "What's that one?"

    Last night, a friend and I were up late -- brainstorming on our new blogging collaboration. I can't decide if blogging falls into the intellectual, the emotional-social, or the spiritual dimension. Perhaps all three? Not so good for the physical, though . . . that's another reason we need to keep walking, my friend!

  9. Hi Titus

    Good on you - I am sure you will learn something through this simple exercise...

    Happy days

  10. Hi Bee

    I am glad to have got you thinking through this metaphor...

    I also love learning new trees and native flora...I have a book to identify local native plants and another of birds, both of which are my trusty companions here at my side...

    I think blogging falls into all three categories you mentioned, it connects us, stimulates and exercises the mind, and deepens our understanding of our place in the world and our understanding of ourselves...

    I often break my typing and reading with a little routine of stretches and yoga...and must have daily exercise and walks...

    Happy days

  11. hello delwyn - i recall a similar exercise at a workshop i attended in which the "icebreaker" was to compare yourself to a tree - a specific tree - so the metaphor was held back to the visual. it felt empty. i couldn't figure out why.
    this fantastic piece you have put together addresses the whole person and so i can place myself inside it and look around. in all honesty i have been and am all those descriptors you provide at different points in my life - even inside a day!!! delwyn - your insights and knowings are worthy of a larger audience than your blog might provide!!! thankyou so much for sharing this beautiful and powerful post. have a lovely evening by the river. steven

  12. I enjoyed doing your thoughtful exercise Delwyn...

    Physical--- Flowering Dogwood's usually a small tree in stature...I'm a small petite type!

    Intellectual--- Locust's strong with open airy leaves and sends out runners...I feel like a fairly intelligent, open minded individual who likes to search for a little knowledge and order to keep that brain functioning well in my old age!

    Emotional & Social---Sassafras Tree...It has layers of uplifting branches that turn up at the tips with several different shaped leaves, that bend and sway...the smaller trees group together, but can thrive alone...that's me...I 'm a friendly, happy, optomistic type, that loves being part of a group, but I love my alone time as well...I'm not rigid.

    Spiritual---American Beech Tree...Tall large multi branching with smooth silvery gray bark...My favorite tree in the woods...It's whiteness stands out to me, making it easy to see, I am drawn to others are obviously by all the carvings on them...a very strong long lasting tree...even when attacked by nature!

    Are you going to show us your picks Delwyn?

    Smiles Always,

  13. 3 trees instantly came to mind for me. Maples, cherry blossoms and sliver birch. Not sure why they came into my mind but I think this is a great topic to explore further as I fall asleep tonight as I find the dark warm comfort of my bed a great place to think.

  14. Hi Liss

    you could always take photos of your trees to help you with the thought and insight processes...
    You will find that ideas about those trees you have chosen will come to you and offer you suggestions about the way you function in each of those areas...

    Happy days

  15. Hi Wanda

    thank you for sharing your four trees...the way that you have described the trees gives me a good impression of how you see yourself and how you feel about yourself too...
    I like the Wanda that you have described...I wish I knew the Wanda in real sound to me to be a woman of gentle strength and integrity, of individuality and creativity but a person who also enjoys her family and friends..and I am intrigued by the beech tree and it's carvings and its resilience...I wonder what those carvings might represent...

    Maybe I'll describe my trees later...

    Happy days

  16. Hi Steven

    Thank you for your much valued and appreciated comments today...I used to love creating these exercises and wrote them for a number of years for women's self discovery classes I co- I am happy to share this way...through this medium...

    Maybe if you stopped and applied the symbols to where you are at right now in your life it may serve to function as a evaluation tool...

    Happy days

  17. An inspiring, introspective analogy and exercise Delwyn. Trees are the perfect symbol to represent so many of our human qualities, conditions, aspirations.

    Thank you.

  18. Oh lots to think about here. I will water my inner tree with coffee before I attempt to mull this one over.

  19. Great photos of these trees...and you have given me something to think about most definitely. I can journal my way through this to decide...right now, this moment, I'd have to say that my tree is very dry, brittle and flaky!! Needs watering...desperately!!!

  20. I'll give this some deeper thought as the day progresses.

    And, no, there were no snails anywhere near my breakfast! LOL

  21. This is a wonderful post, your tree pictures are excellent and now you have me really thinking!
    The cloud in your 12th photo is amazing.
    Thanks for stopping by and your kind comments. Madison County is in Iowa.
    Sunny :)

  22. I love trees, not only for their physical being but much more for the spiritual presence they represent. Trees are for the most part much longer-lived than man, they have seen and felt history, wars, love, the never-ending seasons, and survived all.
    Their roots are deep in the ground and their crowns high up towards the sky. They provide food and shelter, strength and warmth. They give this earth of ours the necessary life force to allow our planet to survive. Without them, man is doomed.

    Let the trees live!

  23. Delwyn, I'm an admirer trees , but I have never compared myself to one. You have given a lot of food for though there. I will now, be looking for myself in our native trees. As always a fabelous post.

  24. I guess I am a pink dogwood :) Your post gave me a lot to think about - I will have to come back and write more when I have thought this through.

  25. Hi Bonnie

    trees do seem appropriate metaphors for their diversity in size, shape, form and purpose but also because they are so alive and essential...

    Happy days

  26. Hi Bonnie

    trees do seem appropriate metaphors for their diversity in size, shape, form and purpose but also because they are so alive and essential...

    Happy days

  27. Hi Lori

    You are going to stimulate it first...or refuel it...

    Happy days

  28. Hello Sherry

    You have already done some work in identifying those needs...which tree is that- i.e. which part of you does it represent...and how will you 'water it'...

    Happy days

  29. Hi Ellen

    you might like to let your unconscious have a little play...

    Happy days

  30. Hi GW

    any snails in your trees....

    what other critters live in your trees...

    Happy days

  31. Hello Ray of sunshine

    I need to get my atlas out again...I try to place bloggers on the map in order to learn more about your continent and to give the stories a context...

    That cloudy sky I noticed one day walking back from Hell's Gates on the Headland. I was photographing a blue heron running up that wallum hillside...and looked up...oh blessed day...

    I suggest you photograph your trees as you are so handy with that camera...and then you can journal about them...

    Happy days

  32. Friko

    I understand those feelings. Trees can hold such a sense of history and place as well as housing all of our feelings and emotions anthropomorphically...

    When I am in a place of history or spiritual importance I find I need to touch the trees and the stones.

    ... I spent some time in Israel a number of years ago and could not resist stroking the stones of King David's castle building in the inner city and also the stones of Masada at the Dead Sea were so full of history and story...I wondered how many other hands had touched the same stones...
    They draw me like magnets...

    And there is also something about that connection to both earth through the roots and the heavens through their leaves that joins both the earthly and spiritual realms...
    And then of course as you say - they are essential for our survival...

    Thanks Friko for contributing to this discussion today...

    Happy days

  33. Hello Ann

    I am pleased that you are going to try this simple little exercise. I think that you will find it is not only fun but quite revealing...

    Happy days

  34. Hello Pink dogwood

    Think about all the characteristics of your tree - do a little brainstorm and then go with those ideas that feel 'hot'...and you will be on track...think how each of those tree descriptors tell something about you...and consider which part of you it may stand for...

    or you might like to start with the pink Dogwood as the complete you and then choose 4 others trees to represent your 4 parts...
    have fun...

    Happy days

  35. What an amazing and inspiring series of photographs and questions! I think I'll be returning to this post when I have time to ponder and process. I love the photo with the cloud and the bare tree in front of it. Our trees will shift and change as our life evolves. Thank you for sharing this.

  36. Hello Joanna

    How nice to see you...

    our trees will change over time but right now is a good time to do some stocktaking and gain some insight...then we can repeat the exercise at future intervals...

    Happy days

  37. Very interesting analogy and some great pics!!!
    Are they shot by you??

    Feeling great to be back to share all these ideas and pics and everything thats nice:)

  38. Hi Delwyn~ What great metaphors! I started this activity before but didn't complete. Your descriptions really help in giving a broad range. Physically, there is no doubt I am like tree 2, round as an apple. Intellectually, i would say i'm lke trees 3 and 6, multi-branched and blossoming. Emotionally, I'm stunted like the bonsai, tree 9. Spiritually, I like to think I'm tree 10: a provider of shelter and nourishment. So, I have some things to work on, starting with Oh, no! not those sit-ups again! I'll keep you apprised of my progress! Thanks, Delwyn xxox

  39. Hello Deepazartz

    How are you...It's nice to have you call by again...

    Yes all but 2 or 3 of the photos are mine.

    Happy days

  40. Hi Margaret

    You seem to have a good awareness of where you are at present what to do!...

    Happy days

  41. Hi Delwyn,
    This is wonderful I love the tree comparisons to our lives, the different stages of growth in the four areas. I always like to say hi to other Aussie bloggers to. Happy to find you. and I love the pink llly pilly flowers mine are just plain white those are so pretty and pink

  42. Hello Kim from Toowoomba...

    welcome here, how nice to have you visit from so near...

    Funny but I have not seen any white ones around here...maybe Noosa is always a bit bright and colourful...but then Toowoomba does have the wonderful flower festival....

    Happy days

  43. I was so intrigued by this "exercise" that I was initially going to post a whole blog about it, but now I'm chasing other rabbits, so I'd just like to share here the trees I came up with.

    Spiritual - Redwood. They grow so slowly and are made stronger through adversity. I've spent a couple of summers in California and went to the redwood park every day.

    Emotional - Live Oak. I lived in Louisiana for many years, where these trees are everywhere. They are joyful and melancholy, dark and light, heavy and light, and safe. And, like the redwoods, they become more beautiful and substantial and intricate with age.

    Intellectual - Maple. My childhood was spent in Toronto, and I adored the maple keys spinning and spreading in many directions. And the blazing of colors in the fall.

    Physical - Apple. Since I've lived in New Mexico, I've had apple trees at two of the places I've lived, including the house I'm in now. My apple tree is smallish, hardy yet delicate, and produces round little apples that change from green to red and fall off the tree if you don't pick them.

  44. Polly

    you have obviously given this a great deal of thought. Your selection of trees gives you a good understanding of your current feelings about yourself in each of these life zones. It appears to me as if you are well grounded and self aware.
    Were you content with the outcome?

    Happy days

  45. Yes, I'm very happy with my trees. It was more like naming something that was already there, seeing it more clearly, than discovering something new. These trees are so familiar to me and fit me so well, for so many reasons.

    Thank you for this exercise!

    I look forward to learning more about the nuances of my connection with these trees as time goes on.


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