Why Cut to the Root?
Dear Why Team member,
I hope this week’s radical message finds you well and will encourage you to cut to the root.
Imagine a shovel cutting into the ground to get to the root of a tree. The origin of the word radical comes from the Latin “radic” meaning root, hence radical relates to or affects the fundamental nature of something or cutting to the root of a matter. It is interesting and I think worthy of contemplation that a trees growth is determined by the health of its roots, which are mostly unseen beneath the ground. In the ancient text there is a saying that you will know them by their fruit; the fruit is therefore a clue into what lies beneath.
So how are you caring for your roots?
Consider how the choices you make either improve the health of your roots or harm them.
What thoughts do you entertain on a regular basis?
Are they healthy or harmful?
Today it has become quite fashionable to judge and criticize those who think differently from us. Deep down we have a human tendency toward tribalism which can lead to an “us versus them” mindset - fracturing and separating us; I have felt its force in my own life. It’s natural to defend what we hold precious and I can get fired up from time to time too, which is an invitation for me to ask “why?”.
My higher self in quiet reflection does try to seek understanding more-so than to be understood. When I make time to think about what I think about, I can see better why people think the way they do. It does not mean that I agree with them, but I do try to seek why they bear the fruit they bear. Observing also the fruit I bear; am I offering it, or throwing it?
How can I be a living example of peace, strength and fortitude no matter the behavior of another?
I believe we are all 100% responsible for our individual abilities to respond. Living a life of extreme ownership may be the best example I can provide to those who think the world must change for them to be okay. Living a life dependent on others to change, or on circumstances to change, in order to achieve peace of mind is a sure way to have little to no peace of mind. This does not preclude the importance of taking positive action to help make the world a better place, as we may see it, but cutting to the root rarely means destroying the good that comes from the tree. How may we hold onto that which is beneficial while addressing that which is limiting? For me, I have particular touchstones: personal ownership; addressing first how I conduct myself in all situations.
Am I leading by example?
Does the way I conduct my life appear centered with a healthy resolve or am I behaving just as fearfully as the “so-called” other?
Am I attending to my own mental and physical health?
Attending to our own roots, first and foremost, will improve the quality of the fruit we bear.
Deep down, we all know that life is a journey and not a destination, therefore life is the means in which we live it. There is no end, except for our physical end, life itself goes on - therefore the end does not justify the means - our life is the means and I think our highest calling is to attend to how we conduct ourselves every day with love and respect for ourselves and for others; no matter how misguided we may have been or they may be.
Don’t be afraid to extend your roots even deeper and farther so as to find more insight and truth that will help you bear more fruit. Consider the Shepard’s tree found in South Africa; it’s root system according to the journal Oecologia, can reach as far down as 223 feet- the deepest roots in the world. Those roots reach deeper in the ground to find the water needed to produce the dense leaves and berries that provide much needed nutrition as well as shade from the searing heat.
While it is true that leaders do go first, it is their own personal behavior that will determine how many will follow. Standing up to the tyrants in our life is a must, but we will be far more effective with a centered peace coming from a nurtured root; providing better fruit from a healthier root. Let us consider attending all the more to our own roots, noticing our own fruits, more-so than being too much in the business of others.
Are we living a great example for others to follow?
How are we showing the way with our own lives?
Consider more the quality of the fruit you bear and how well it feeds others. And if the quality of your fruit is lacking, consider what new daily disciplines you could incorporate to improve the health and quality of your roots. Our world needs loving strength more than ever - attend more to the means at which you conduct your own life and you will find that you will become more of the solution than the problem.
Make it a great week!
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