The Great Oak is one of the largest natural-growing trees in the western hemisphere. To some American Indian tribes, the Great Oak represents strength, wisdom, longevity, and determination. In Greek mythology, the oak is the tree sacred to Zeus, king of the gods. These ancient trees can live anywhere from 850–1500 years…they have seen centuries of history pass them by and they remain.
It crossed my mind today, what it means to be a Great Oak… to be a living legacy, and to touch centuries of history to come. We all desire to be great, to leave behind a mark for future generations… to feel like the earth will always turn differently because of what we did with our lives and its ripple effects. I began to look for the lessons that biomimicry could teach…
It’s roots; they never stop expanding. Even while branching out, they seek a rooted depth and a width that is an environmental wonder. It means they never truly pause, relax, or stop growing. They are forever pushing for more, even if millimeter by millimeter. Progressive, eternally.
Its branches, when seen from afar, are a true phenomenon for the Great Oak. You may think it’s several trees when it’s just one as its thick heavy branches are always in a circle of growth. Each branch comes to rest on the ground and then rises again to form the outer canopy. The Great Oak knows that its “growth-dreams” can only find fulfillment (branching out to reach full potential) when each branch is grounded. Staying grounded so you can reach further, impact more, and shade many from the storms… wisdom at its best.
Perhaps the most crucial element in its longevity is its high tannin content. Tannin is an astringent that is poisonous to predators. It makes the Great Oak very resistant to insect and fungal attacks, giving it a real fighting chance at a long life. For me, the negativity, doubts, and attacks from others are the predators of greatness. Developing a high tannin content means becoming very resistant to the naysayers, the attackers, the fakes, and the frauds. They should never have a chance to destroy you.
These are the lessons I share with you as you begin your journey to Greatness, the most important of all being that every Great Oak started as an acorn… a spark of an idea. As those acorns can take up to a year and a half to mature, you should never be afraid to hibernate and plan your ideas… and, more than everything else, never be discouraged because of the time it may take. All things have seasons. I genuinely believe this is yours. All it takes is for an Acorn to realize all it can become… all it was destined to be.
Plant your Acorn. Become the Great Oak you are meant to be.
© Written on November 28th, 2014