What I Am Learning From My Apple Tree
Coach Jackee Holder shares an personal reflection inspired by the apple tree in her front garden which elegantly survived the passing through of storm Dennis in the UK.
On the morning after the recent arrival of storm Dennis to the UK whilst sitting at my dining room table I reflected on how all through the night, the wind howled and the rain pelted down like jumping jacks on the pavement. I wanted to go out for an early morning walk but knew that within ten minutes I would be drenched right through so I stayed put. A couple of times I peeked out the kitchen window to see whether the bare Apple tree in my front garden was still standing up to the might of storm Dennis. I am pleased to say that the Apple tree may have bent and ducked all through the night but she held her ground.
Now as I sit here writing, the scene outside my kitchen window is a far cry from the one that greeted me in the early hours of the morning. The rain has stopped and the ground that was saturated with rainwater is almost dry. Our road, which normally has lots of through traffic, is remarkably still. The storm seems to have charged up the atmosphere and now I am savouring the quiet that has descended upon the area bringing a calm overtone. Nature as Tina Welling describes is, " ... our first mother and our first love, our first teacher in the lessons of life and the lessons of death."
These last few months have seen life swell to full capacity. Work has filled my hours and days, taking me away from my love of walking the city streets in the early mornings. There’s also been sadness. In between, some amazing elders, matriarchs have passed on. Carmel Williams a family friend who lived to the grand age of 97 and my dear friend Sandy who lost her beloved mother, Glorious Gloria a couple of days after Christmas. Death reminds us of the impermanence of life, as does nature. These last few months of busyness became the norm, the deaths reminded me of the rhythms of loss, and of rebirth and regeneration that nature signals to us time and time again.
Now, as I sit and look out at the apple tree from my kitchen window I’m hopeful. Hopeful that from its naked branches the buds will open, the leaves will come through and in time, the tree will bear the apples that did not arrive last year.
My life right resembles the apple tree in many ways. Bare in places that are vulnerable and exposed. A personal drama now playing out in the background of my life, is stressful and draining. But at the same time I feel hopeful. My life and work when I examine it with an appreciative eye is abundant with potential, possibility and the glories of promise. I continue to observe how the apple tree moves through the seasons. I notice how the apple tree navigated its way through the winter, butt naked, holding true to its presence and nakedness with a regal resilience and inner knowing. I realise that I have inherited a few of the apple tree's qualities into my own.
I am no longer afraid of what is being taken from me, but find myself holding true to my own inner authority and knowing that what will be will be. I have come to know that I have faced things these last three years I once so afraid of and in that facing I realize how the very act of facing dissolves the power I once believed the fearful thing had over me. It is true when Marianne Williamson wrote that each of is, ‘Powerful beyond measure, it is our light not our darkness that frightens us.’
Through my observations, I recognise that the apple tree will go on being an apple tree whether it bears the apples or not this year. I am learning how true this is for me too. Whatever is stripped away from us, from our lives or from our very being we still have our essence left, the core of who we are and that in my mind is priceless. It is from this place that women lead the best. When we tap into our higher self, the self that is self authorised, whose voice is your own, who is guided by a self defined inner authority. This is the woman leader who is walking her walk on a path designed and destined by her own thoughts and not those of others.
At the same time I remain thankful for the gentle and graceful teachings from nature. I am finding that my love of nature is being so elegantly woven into my coaching and leadership development work. I witness the gratifying and humbling benefits when stories and metaphors of nature are shared in the various rooms of my work and conversations and how it lifts spirits and warms hearts and brings us all into closer and more intimate connections with ourselves and each other.
This is why I am also delighted to be co-facilitating a women’s leadership retreat, Creative Thought Leadership For Women Who Lead with executive coach Deena Gornick, at the Arvon Foundation in Devon in June 2020. I'm really excited about working with Deena and we are both fired up at being able to bring together our wealth of experience and skills to host and facilitate a fertile and creative retreat for thought leadership. This will be a restorative space with 121 and group coaching, time to think inspired by nature and creative exploration of your leadership journey that will compel you into the future. Find out more at https://www.arvon.org/writing-...