I didn't intend to do a study about trees, but nevertheless, it has happened. I heard a quote from Elder Boyd K. Packer, "Things that grow slowly, live longer". I heard this about the time that I was in the middle of chemotherapy. I was having a hard time relaxing and couldn't lay in bed to let my body take care of itself. It was just "Too Hard", I thought.
But I DID want to live longer. Could I learn to "Grow Slowly"?
Why is it that growing slow makes you live longer anyway?
Well, I did some research, not a lot of course, and not right away, but SLOWLY over the last year. :)
This is what I discovered. Pine trees grow slow and tall. Oak trees grow slowly, and become very large, and have a STRONG root system. They don't fall over very easily because of those
Slower growing trees channel their energy into structural support and defense compounds. (Hmm, is there a lesson here?)
Rapidly growing trees are more prone to frequent, catastrophic disturbances such as windstorms. They may put all of their energy into growth and burn out before they can achieve old-age. (that couldn't possibly be related to anything about MY life, could it?)
It may be a "tortoise and the hare" situation. Slow and steady wins the race.
During my cancer year, I was told by my husband, my doctor, and the Holy Ghost that one of the lessons I was to be learning was how to slow down.
I can barely comprehend what that means. There were days when I thought I was getting it. Now there are days when I don't get it.
But, SLOWLY, I am getting it.
I remembered a poem that Dale gave me and I taped it inside my Day-Planner. ( oooh, I wonder if people who use day planners are considered slow growing....live longer,
kind of people)
Here's the poem, you may have heard it,
I will emphasize the words that have meaning to me
"Slow me down, Lord
ease the POUNDING of my heart (I get tachycardia often, not dangerous, just annoying)
By the quieting of my mind (rarely happens)
steady my hurried pace
with a vision of eternal reach of time
amidst the confusion of my day,
the calmness of the everlasting hills (I experienced this in Park City in July)
break the tensions of my nerves (a constant problem)
with the soothing music of the singing streams
that live in my memory (sorry, don't have any)
Help me to know
the magical restoring power of sleep (this is almost incomprehensible sometimes)
teach me the art
of taking minute vacations of slowing down (having an aging grandma did this for me once)
to look at a flower
to chat with an old friend or make a new one;
to pet a stray dog
to watch a spider build a web
to smile at a child
or to read a few good lines from a good book (that's all I can handle at one time)
Remind me each day
that the race is not always to the swift
that there is more to life than increasing its speed (that's opposite of what I always believed)
LET ME LOOK UPWARD (YES)
into the branches of the towering oak
and know that it grew great and strong
because it grew slowly and well.
Slow me down Lord,
and inspire me to send my roots deep
into the soil of life's enduring values
that I may grow toward the stars
of my greater destiny
Orin L. Crain (no idea who that is)
It's a GREAT Goal, don't you think.
Yesterday, it all started to come together for me. I want to record it, so that it can do some good in my life. I remember things much better after I write them down.
I have been going to a cancer support group meditation every Monday. We always work on our breathing,(that was an interesting thing to learn, we learn that we can control something that is automatic in our bodies, i.e. inhale for so many seconds, hold for so long, and exhale at a speed that you choose, hence our brain is learning that we can CONTROL automatic things like thoughts) and we often do visual imagery.
Yesterday, we imagined a tree. The roots went deep into the earth. The leaves were beautiful, but after a while, they didn't serve us anymore, and we LET GO of our leaves......like the trees do in the fall. We let go of anything that doesn't serve us anymore. (my thought were things like temper tantrums, yelling, getting mad, getting offended, all things I USED TO DO :) )
I was mostly focused on the roots, growing so slowly and becoming so strong that the WINDS of trial CANNOT blow it over.
I have always had my volume turned up on high, I just came to earth that way.
I didn't realize it could be both a blessing and a curse, until I turned 50. I am starting to see that I do a lot of things fast. I talk fast. I move fast. I think fast. (not always clearly, but fast) I have expected everyone and everything around me to be FAST.
I need some advice on HOW TO SLOW DOWN, and GROW SLOWLY.
Anybody out there got anything??
One scripture to end with:
Jeremiah 17: 7-8
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see (fear) when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful (worry) in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit"