From a Seed to a Tree (originally published 3.27.2010)

Every once in a while I have a glimpse that who I am is much more than I think I am , it is a glimpse of my unclaimed un-actualized potential, I have spent many years trying to live up to this potential to let this glimpse become a permanent horizon in which I live and travel.

This quest has also led to a lot of traveling, traveling both in outer space, and inner space, exploring different religions, bodies of knowledge, methods of healing, communities, and chance encounters that were more than coincidental. I have walked a path that has guided me in slowly learning more about the mysterious and miraculous nature of this world, and this life we are given.

But this path has led me to a threshold I thought I would never cross,  an  even deeper entrance into actualizing my potential that for me is a road less travelled, though it has been trodden by many.

I am talkign about the act of  settleing down. So far my path ahs been very much associated with movement, with traveling  from one place to another, and it has been an adventure that I am humbled to have been allowed to experience and I feel in me an indescribable grattitude to have lived it.  Now  my path is taking me is to being in one spot, and on the surface that might seem like the end of adventure but I dont think it is.

For a long time I associated settling down  with authoritarian voices trying to control me,  people said I needed to get  ‘grounded’.   To me grounded meant sitting in a corner and wearing a dunce cap, I had no interest in being grounded.

But I am coming the end of my second Ulpan here in Israel, and I have been praying since towards the end of my first ulpan for guidance towards my next step and recently this guidance which usually is intuitive and surprising, has informed me that settling down is my next step.

For many reasons this guidance makes sense and one of the reasons is rooted in TuB’Shvat. The new year for trees.  My name is Eitan, which is associated with strength and one of the metaphors thats used is a big tree, people draw me pictures of trees without me asking them to.  I love trees and nature.  I live on an agricultural kibbutz.

This past TuBshvat I organized  a seed planting project with a friend. There are now baby pea and bean plants growing in the bottoms of soda bottles scattered  around the Ulpan.  To celebrate the holiday,  I planted a small oak seed in some dirt in a half bottle hoping it would grow.   I had no idea if it would sprout or take root or any of that.

Aftera few weeks of mild anxiety I saw a root at the bottom of the plastic cup, about a week and a half later a little stem popped its head above the dirt and there is now a tiny oak sapling sitting in a plastic cup over the air conditioner jutting outside my window.

The thing about seeds is they travel,  some seeds have little helicptor blades to spin through the air, some seeds have parachutes like dandelions, some seeds have velcro like burrs to hitch rides on passing by animals or people and some seeds are tasty and get eaten and pooped somewhere else.  Seeds like oak nuts have  within them the potential to grow into a huge tree, something so much bigger than what they are , but its only when this seed settles down, that it puts down roots and starts growing up, and it is through this process it becomes a tree.

So what I got  from this intuition  is that I need to settle down  if I want to fulfill my potential.  I need to plant myself, like my Oak seed  and put down roots. Also just like my oak seed  is  starting out with a small little place , so God willing I am going to rent a little room.

And on that note whats great is that where I am settling is in Jerusalem, and there is really no other city I would want to settle in. The extent to which my heart feels glad that I am settling in Jerusalem, the physical sense fo well being that I get when I think about settling in Jerusalem and the spiritual sense of destiny that I feel, is  wonderous and Avraham Joshua Heschel said that wonder is one of the key foundations of the Jewish life.

I am wonderous that I got an answer to my prayer, through a seed, through a mystery, and through a holiday, and God willing now I will be able to live that prayer, and through settling down grow from a seed into that tree, and spread my branches far and wide and nestle others in my deep roots,  and provide shade and fruit for others on the path, and to start living that glimpse in a a new phase  life, in a new journey on my path.

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