It’s a fresh new year according to the modern human world. Many of us set resolutions or intentions for how we want to improve our way of living. This year I struggled with the idea of New Year’s resolutions. When I reflected back on the past year, I saw a list of goals and intentions that I wasn’t able to achieve when life took an unexpected turn. It didn’t feel useful to make a new set of goals. I went to the forest to ponder how the natural world approaches intentions. Here are some lessons it taught me.
As I gazed around the forest, I could see intentions everywhere. The ground was littered by thousands of acorns, dropped by their oak parents. Each acorn with the sole intention of becoming an oak tree. However, only a handful of mature oak trees were standing nearby. I wondered if the oak gets discouraged. Then I remembered that when the next year comes the oak drops its acorns again. It keeps going. As long as it stands, it continues to drop acorns and reinforce its intention. It doesn’t let the outcomes, that it can’t control, change what it does. It keeps going.
Each acorn has all the ingredients to become a towering oak. However, without the nurturing of the sun, rain, soil and space, they decay instead of getting a chance to sprout. In order for intentions to take root, they need consistent nourishment.
Something else I witnessed in the forest is how nature makes space for new life. Leaves fall from their perch to make room for next season’s buds. The fungus beautifully breaking down fallen trees to transform them into new soil. Even the clouds letting go of their rain to make space for blue sky. It’s essential to make space in order to bring in the new.
As you contemplate how you would like to live in the year to come, perhaps consider some of these notes from the forest. Keep dropping the acorns, find the sunny spots and clear space for them to grow.
May the wisdom of the forest guide your journey.