5 Life Lessons from the Trees (to Help You Unlock Your Potential!)

February 2, 2023
Reading time: 4 minutes


Pure potentiality… that’s what lies in this week’s celestial window. Because on the 15th of Aquarius (next Monday), we celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the new year for the trees. In Days of Power, Rav Berg tells how, during this time, “we can connect to Tree of Life consciousness.” The key is to get back to the seed.

As the Rav wrote, “There’s more power in the seed than there is in the entire tree. But the power of the seed is potential, while that of the tree is [already] manifested.” We may believe ourselves to be fully manifested, but that is never the case. We are all–and always–works in progress! In fact, much of the potential we once held is still there. (Granted, if you’re 30-something, you may no longer be able to become a prima ballerina, but there’s no reason not to get back to dancing for the joy of it!)

Take it from Jennifer Coolidge, who expressed this sentiment after winning her Golden Globe a few weeks ago: “I had such big dreams and expectations as a younger person, but what happens is they get sort of fizzled by life…. [but] Mike White, you have given me hope. You’ve given me a new beginning. Even if this is the end, because you did kill me off….you changed my life in a million different ways!”

Let’s not be afraid to pick up those dusty dreams and revisit our potential. Renew our commitment to our own evolution. And along the way–regardless of which path we choose–we can learn important lessons from the trees.

Here are a few to consider:

1) Think beyond the present.

We can help ensure the longevity of our pursuits by thinking beyond the now. There’s a Native American (Iroquois) philosophy called The Seventh Generation Principle that illustrates this idea beautifully. It states that, in all our thoughts and behaviors, we should consider their effect on seven generations to come. For instance, we may think it’s no big deal to “throw out” our plastic something because we don’t see a recycling bin. The thing is, there is no “out”!

Our thoughts and words, too, affect others in lasting ways. It’s all too easy to act rashly or seek instant gratification without considering the consequences. So, while imagining seven whole generations ahead is challenging, we can start by realizing that the proverbial buck doesn’t stop with us. Life is a “pay it forward” endeavor, for better or worse.

2) Share, share, and share some more!

Trees don’t hoard their fruits and nuts; they give them back to nature. And the fruits they offer are not just for today; they hold the potential to create more trees and fruits for years to come.
This week (and beyond), find new ways to share. Reach out beyond the “me” and do something for someone else. And, in the ironic flow of the Universe, the more we care about others and the environment, the more blessings we invite into our own lives!

3) Be resilient.

Trees have the profound power to grow against gravity. They are built to be resilient through wind, rain, snow, and extreme temperatures.
When life brings challenges, we, too, are stronger than we think. Instead of letting tough moments lead us to thoughts of doom or ruin, we can bend and not break. And, in doing so, we grow stronger. There were many times when I might have curled up or given up. I could have stayed stuck in my middle school mind, thinking I wasn’t good enough or smart enough. Or, later, that I couldn’t be a public speaker… or raise a child with Down syndrome… or survive the losses of loved ones… and the list goes on. But for me, quitting at any point wasn’t an option.
The bottom line? Believe, stay strong, and grow from where you are.

4) Remember your roots (and stay connected!).

In The Hidden Life of Trees, author Peter Wohlleben exposed the depth of communication among trees, primarily through chemical exchanges between and among root systems. It is nothing short of astounding!
Likewise, we rely on one another in ways we don’t often notice. Pay attention. Be grateful for the unseen worker who picked the fruits now gracing your table. Or for those who planned (and placed) the traffic lights that keep you safe. We are blessed with endless connections and interconnections. So this week, reach out more. Connect more. Appreciate your family, friends, and community. Because the deeper the roots, the higher the reach. And speaking of that…

5) Reach for the stars!

Years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Big Sur. I remember feeling awestruck beneath the towering redwoods near the coast. I felt tiny; I felt limitless. I felt myself communing with the trees–grounded on earth, yet fully dedicated to reaching… to exploring the great mystery of that 99% realm beyond our senses.

The lesson? There’s no limit to our becoming. We are, as the Rav wrote, of the same pure potential as the seed.

What seeds will you plant this week, literally or metaphorically?
And in what new ways will you cultivate the seeds of your potential?

The Zohar teaches how, in manifesting the world, the Creator is able to “perceive the end in the beginning.” Start today by envisioning your next incarnation. Whether it’s a new pursuit, better health, more connections, or something else, you can make it happen!

You hold the seeds. You ARE the seed. And what is a seed’s purpose if not to grow?


  1. It is always good to remember that we too are a part of nature and brothers and sisters of those grandfathers, the trees. We can learn so much from all of nature. I seem to remember that the Kabbalah center had a tree planting event?! It would be wonderful to see the center have an event or something ongoing that teaches our connection to nature and helps people to become actual nature gardeners, maybe as a spiritual practice and in actuality. Getting away from manicured lawns to nature gardens to make that connection again. Well it’s a broad subject but the center actually has the power to bring that to the people. Just a thought.

    • Hi Katja, thank you so much for sharing your reflections and suggestions. We would love to offer our students opportunities to spend more time together reconnecting to nature. We recently hosted the first Spiritually Hungry retreat in Mexico and this was a wonderful experience. We plan to do more of these events in the future. Warmly, Monica

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