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    Something to Think About ~ Endure Being a Root

small green plant growing in a mound of dirt

A tree has to endure being a root for it to flower and fruit.
Dr. Amit Sood

Dear friend,

When a seed germinates by absorbing water and nutrients, the first thing to emerge beneath the ground is the embryonic root, also called the radicle. Next the shoot appears and slowly threads its way above the ground. Leaves then materialize, by which time the sapling is established in its new home.

Most roots spend their time in damp filth and darkness. Roots, however, are the most essential part of a tree. They anchor the tree to the ground, transport water and nutrients, and store food. Every tree seeks flowers that lead to fruits (and seeds). Flowers wouldn’t be possible, however, if the tree didn’t have roots. The discomfort of the roots is the price the tree has to pay for the gift of the flowers.

The tree has a choice—either suppress its “root consciousness” or integrate that reality in its life. I like the latter option. It honors the struggles roots face each day.

My feet in the dirt help me learn the lessons I need in order to develop the requisite humility. The dirt experience nourishes me and teaches me how I might help others so they don’t spend their lives focusing on the dirt. Just as a tree can’t be alive without its roots, my life’s difficulties nourish me in ways I can’t fathom.

My experiences include both—damp dirt and boundless bliss. I should honor and integrate both the experiences and find meaning in them, so I can live a fuller and more useful life.

May your struggles be few; may each of your struggles make you stronger.

Take care.  Amit

Dr. Sood 1
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Dr. Sood is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.