Bonsai & Relationships

Now… I would like to reflect on a personal issue. This Sunday evening, I will be talking to L-. We planned on discussing our relationship. I would like to be in a commitment with her, but I have reason to believe she does not want to be in one with me — or anyone else, for that matter. Her feelings for me are uncertain. She has not had a boyfriend in many years. Perhaps she fears her loneliness makes her desperate to be in a relationship that she knows will not work out? That is a legitimate fear. Yet, any relationship is fragile. No one can be certain whether a relationship will continue.

A bonsai tree, for instance, is very sensitive to its environment, and its survival depends largely on the caretakers. The caretakers must commit to provide the bonsai with the best environment possible, and to make the necessary efforts to help it grow.

A relationship is like a bonsai tree. The two people are the caretakers. Proximity of the two people, their feelings for each other, their career goals, their needs and obligations to others constitute the environment. There may be other factors, but this environment has a high impact on a relationship. Similar to raising a bonsai tree, the people must commit to provide the most fertile environment possible. This may mean not living far away from each other. A good environment also might mean less ambiguity about the feelings for the other person, changing the career goals of both persons, and/or working out a compromise to meet both persons’ needs and obligations.

Is it possible that a relationship might not be possible under certain circumstances? Yes. A bonsai tree cannot grow to look like it has been blown by the wind all its life, have its trunk embracing a rock crevice, nor can its roots wrap around a large crystal sphere. That does not appear naturally. These unique characteristics take a lot of effort and patience on the part of the caretakers. Likewise, the uniqueness of a relationship takes a lot of effort and patience. Two people might one day find their relationship meeting an obstacle, a rock wall. They may choose to let it end there, or they can use that rock as support to grow taller. The relationship can grwo around the obstacle, in its crevices, and use it as a foothold to reach places it otherwise cannot. In the end, the relationship will be uniquely beautiful, just like a bonsai tree that had done the same.

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