Mindset: Flex Like a Tree

Mindset: Flex Like a Tree

A few days ago, after having several weeks of beautiful, spring-like weather, we were smacked with a storm of heavy freezing rain. Our spring prep went on the backburner as we raked the snow off of our steep and shady driveway. Our potted plants were brought inside to keep from freezing and our chickens were given a layer of leaf mulch on top of the snow so they were comfortable enough to leave their coops and move about freely. Had we not been flexible in our plans that day, our driveway would still be in sloppy shambles and our chickens would still be stuck in their coops. Our potted plants would be dead. We had to change our plans to flex with nature. Thankfully the snow that accompanied this ice storm has now melted and we have returned to our spring preparations.

Remaining flexible during the storm kept our pine tree alive.

The power of flexibility is articulated perfectly in Passage 76 from Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching (translated by Stephen Mitchell) .

"Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken,
The soft and supple will prevail."

Staying flexible through the various storms, just as our Virginia Pine has demonstrated time and time again, enables us to continue onward with the difficult journey of self-reliance and living off-grid.

Whatever it is that we set out to do, we must be willing to bend. Our plans, our designs, our trails, our meals (as demonstrated by our experience with the Three Rivers Pantry Challenge). Our timelines cannot become rigid or they will break. It seems that there is just about as much unknown out here as known in this life we've chosen. In fact, this was true of my life before homesteading.

The more emphasis we place on practicing our flexibility, both mental and physical, the better we are able to handle the extremes. Keep stretching and when the ice thaws, be sure to stand upright again and reach toward Heaven above. Therefore, embrace the bendiness of your life's journey and flex like a tree.

Stay blessed,