Love is like a tree: both need good soil, water and the protection provided by a safe environment in order to grow and be healthy.
There are many parallels between what happens in nature and what goes on between two people who love each other. In both situations there is a need to have strong roots that can spread wide and deep into the soil, providing stability, strength and security.
This need for security, both in nature and in love, cannot be overemphasized. Without security, fear creeps in and affects our view of reality both around and within us. When in fear, we search for protection. We don’t make ourselves vulnerable because it is not safe to do so. We don’t take risks, like opening up to our mate and sharing thoughts and feelings about us, because this would increase vulnerability. When fear is present, therefore, closeness and intimacy are impossible to achieve and maintain.
Trees need to develop strong roots in order to withstand nature’s storms and other calamities, just like love has to develop deep and strong roots in order to withstand the storms of life.
What are the human roots? They are the many ways in which two people in love maintain connections with one another. These range from remembering each other’s special days to favorite activities and interests, to being aware of a partner’s points of hurt and trauma.
Storms are unpredictable in their power and destruction. We can never fully predict when they will occur and how strong they are going to be, nor will we ever be able to be fully prepared for them, but we certainly can improve the odds of withstanding them.
Storms are particularly dangerous if they strike in areas where there already is weakness. A tree that is bent, or whose roots are exposed is more vulnerable to storms than a tree that is strong and solidly planted.
In love too we are most affected by the storms of life when they hit us in our weakest areas. These are areas where wounds from the past may not have fully healed yet. These become “faulty lines”, points of exposure in our emotional lives. As in trees, these areas of weakness reflect past experiences that wounded us and created a fragility that now makes us more vulnerable.
Storms, both with trees and with love, can happen suddenly, without forewarning, with a powerful, destructive force that kills.
In love, likewise, some storms are so powerful, sudden and destructive that everything on their path gets destroyed. A sudden illness, as addiction, violence and other traumatic experiences are examples of these powerful and destructive storms. Other storms are not so totally devastating, though they also cause damage, particularly if not addressed and dealt with.
In nature, storms erode the soil and wash it downhill, exposing the tree roots.
As tree roots become exposed, they are no longer able to anchor trees to the soil. Trees are no longer as protected.
When trees are no longer firmly grounded, strong winds and rain can become much more destructive. While they do their best to stay anchored to the ground, trees progressively lose their strength. Resisting storms becomes a tough battle for them to win.
As we can see, the more exposed the roots, the weaker and the more vulnerable trees become.
The same is true for couples: weakened by the stresses and pressures of life, what provided security and strength to them – romantic partners’ connections to one another – are increasingly less available. With each new storm, the unhealed wounds from the past get re-opened and they fester. Couples disconnect in order to protect themselves, increasing the distance between them and further reducing communication. And this happens at a time when both partners need each other and the power and strength of their love in order to better cope with whatever problems are facing them!
If nothing is done to remedy the situation, both trees and love will perish.
Couples at this point may feel there is no love left for one another. They become overburdened by challenges that feel insurmountable. Each partner feels abandoned by the other. Both are ready to give up and go their own separate ways, or settle for a miserable, loveless life together.
But there is still a possibility for renewal, both in nature and in love.
In nature, from what looked like a dead stump, at times new growth starts to appear
This is a new beginning, a renewed opportunity to grow and become strong. In love, if couples don’t give up and give in to their feelings of powerlessness, discontent, disappointment and hurt, they may be able to rebuild their relationship, just like trees that are born out of old, dead stumps.
New growth in trees is an indication that, even though on the surface everything seemed dead, there was still a spark of life somewhere deep down in the roots. From this little spark of life, a new beginning is generated, a renewed life that derives its energy from what was there before.
In love the spark may still be rekindled if partners believe in its power. Most of the time, it’s not that love for one another is completely gone. It is just no longer accessible, buried as it is by layers and layers of emotions – anger, frustration, fear, disgust, disappointment and other emotions – that lead to emotional disconnection.
It is possible to rekindle the feelings of love if, and only if, we are willing and able to face the issues TOGETHER, get in touch with our emotions and share this experience with each other. Love is resilient. Our openness – or closeness – to it facilitates or excludes the possibility of feeling it again. Both trees and human beings can thus grow healthy and strong.
Anew road opens up, full of possibilities
And, with it, a new way of looking at life, as the sun comes out for a brand new day