I recently spent some time around the world's largest living organism(s) in Sequoia National Park. Yes, the General Sherman is very impressive, but a walk along the Congress Trail means an up close and personal experience with many trees nearly as large. I studied, touched, listened to, and smelled them. I even went inside a couple of them, because they are that big.
Here is a very short list of lessons I'm going to apply from the most massive trees on the planet.
1. Be still.
The air around these trees is charged with an immensity of silence and peace that is paralyzing--in the best possible way. It's hard to understand the power of stillness and the impact it can have on your life if you don't make time for it. I often find that I create an overstimulated life in Los Angeles simply because I don't want to miss anything COOL. Who does?
There is a time for action, and when that time comes you have no choice but to act. But how much of our running around truly necessitates the frantic pace that we assign to it? And then we double down on our need to "get stuff done" with stimulants and multi-tasking?
Stop. Take in air and fill the space in your body with stillness. Then relax and smile.
2. Be enduring.
Giant sequoias survive fires, storms, droughts, bugs, people climbing in and around them, and all kinds of other stress I don't know about. In short, they remain powerful through thousands of years of strain and change.
Are you strong enough to weather the weather? Are you at least preparing for it?
If not, maybe it's time to start eating real food, making your body and mind stronger, or doubling down on your short and long-term goals. Father Time will conquer us all, but while we are here we might as well be the strongest, most tenacious versions of ourselves possible.
3. Keep growing.
Okay, this is finally just a metaphor, since I don't think continual physical growth is the healthiest way forward for our species. You aren't going to live for thousands of years in your current form, but you can continue to have new experiences, build new neural pathways, and expand your mind while you live.
There are so many ways to keep growing, but past a certain point we start to believe that it is impossible or too hard. Connect more to nature, your loved ones, and yourself. Grow your spiritual practice, knowledge of languages, or simply travel outside of your routines more frequently.
The General Sherman tree is said to put on the mass of a regular, full-sized tree every year. Imagine if you could do the same with experience, knowledge, and insight?
Challenge yourself to do just that.