How Roots Become Branches: Tips for Exploring the Gifts of Who You Have Been

Below is an article I had published in the Journey Magazine this year.  Included is an activity to help you integrate who you have been into who you are today.  I hope you find it helpful!  🙂 Nancy

How Roots Become Branches

by Nancy Nicholas

“Only another breath will I breathe in this still air, only another loving look cast backward, and then I shall stand among you, a seafarer among seafarers.  And you, vast sea, sleepless mother, who alone are peace and freedom to the river and the stream, only another winding will this stream make, only another murmur in this glade, and then shall I come to you, a boundless drop to a boundless ocean.”

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

I was shown a vision as I began writing this article.  It was of a huge oak tree with thick, deep roots reaching into the lakes that surrounded it.  Each of these lakes represented a period of my life and contained a piece of myself.  Thinking of this vision, I realize that coming to terms with the past and discovering how to connect the many lakes of my life is not only about having access to the beautiful memories and the love for those times and people, but also for finding the thread that connects the lakes together…connects me to all the people I have been on my life path.  It is the continuity that I found myself seeking, rather than the peaks and valleys that always seem to stand out most strongly. 

So what is this continuity in my own life?  What are the things I’ve loved in every period?  What are the common experiences that repeat throughout the very different times of my life? 

I realized that as much as the peaks and valleys seem to stand out in my mind’s eye, they are actually only a small portion of my life.  They are the land portages between the lakes, not the lakes themselves.  In truth, the majority of my life has been filled with everyday things, a quiet predictability, moments of simplicity and steadiness.  Ordinary days filled with both clouds and sunshine make up the lakes of my life.  Like a thread that runs through a tapestry to help it stay together, those simple, ordinary things are the threads weaving the pattern of my life and bringing it to a place of wholeness, instead of swatches of cloth forever separated and severed.  Who would have guessed it was something so inconsequential that is truly the most important aspect of the life I have lived? 

And just as the “portages” of my experiences stand out most clearly, so do those aspects of myself that were born during those often difficult transitions.  The challenges of each experience called forth a different aspect of me, a part often exiled once the crisis had passed.  As I look at the experiences, I take time to honor and embrace those parts of me that developed to handle that which was seemed beyond my ability to cope.  I recognize that the pain of the portage became associated with these aspects of my psyche and as a result, they were pushed away.   

Yet, now as I embrace this understanding of my roots, I realize that each of these parts of me is essential to the whole.  Just as the foundation is rooted in simplicity, so too are my branches rooted in the “trunk” of the core aspects that are me.  Letting go of the pain of transition, and embracing the joy of ordinary moments and gentle personal truths, I see how my tree is grown full and bountiful.    

For those of you who are also looking to integrate your past into your present and future and discover the fullness of the tree of your life, I encourage you to try the activity below. 

Exploring Your Roots

  1. Use a timeline to chart your life from birth to now.  Divide the timeline into sections for each of the periods of your life.  Look for places where you moved or had some major change in life (either internally or externally) as you make the divisions.
  2. Draw a series of circles, one for each of the periods of your life, and label it by your age during each section.  Leave space between to draw in the “portages” where you traveled from one period to the next. In each circle, write the key facts from that period in your life.  Where did you live?  What was significant about that time period for you?  Can you describe yourself in a word or two during those years?
  3. Draw lines in between the lakes and write a short sentence describing the move from one lake to the next.  What stands out in your mind as you think of the change from one period to the other?  What part of your psyche helped you get through this transition? How did you feel about the change?
  4. Below each circle, make a list of what experiences stand out in your memory.  Remember to include, simple moments as well as the bigger events.  What were the bulk of your days during that period like?
  5. Take a look at your lakes.  Let yourself imagine that you are living in each of those periods again.  Write a letter from your younger self to who you are now, telling about what you love in yourself and in your world during that time.  Focus only on the positive for this activity.  Let this be a narrative about all that was good for you during that period of your life. 
  6. Read the letters you wrote and imagine yourself embracing your younger self and all the joyous moments from those periods.  Let the love fill your roots and flow up to your branches.  Recognize what an amazing human being you are and have always been. 

 I hope this article inspired you to revisit your roots and to pull the joy and love from the lakes of your life into the whole of you.  May the tree of your life be filled with deep, strong roots and abundant branches!    


Nancy Nicholas is a Life/Career/Spiritual Coach who is also a Medium and Intuitive Healer. She offers a unique approach that provides Divine Guidance from your Guides and Angels with practical coaching strategies and techniques to help you understand your life and relationships from a spiritual perspective.  For free gifts, products, or to schedule a life coaching reading, visit her websites: and

Published by Spirit Earth Coaching

Spirit Earth Coaching offers life coaching and vibrational healing for those seeking empowerment in their health, relationships, life purpose, or career.

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