Resilience - bamboo as symbol for resilience
unleash the power to spring back
You will notice we use imagery of bamboo to illustrate different aspects of resilience in our publications. In Japan, Bamboo is a symbol of good luck and used widely within their new year’s celebrations.
Over the winter, heavy snow bends bamboo back and back until one day the snow becomes too heavy, begins to fall, and the bamboo snaps back up tall again, brushing aside the snow. The bamboo endured the heavy burden of the snow, but in the end it had to power to spring back.
The image here of young, fresh bamboo represents the ability to spring back after experiencing adversity.
be flexible yet firmly rooted
In the forest, a bamboo tree will sway with even the slightest breeze. This mild swaying movement with the wind can be seen as a symbol for resilience. Although their branches are firm, and their trunks firmly rooted in the ground below, they can sway gently in the breeze, responding to the changes in the seasons and the weather without losing their ground. In time even the strongest wind tires itself out: the bamboo remains standing tall and still by not rigidly trying to fight it.
A ‘bend but don’t break’ approach is a secret for success whether we’re talking about bamboo trees, managing your team through change, or just dealing with the everyday challenges of life.
commit to continuous growth
The bamboo tree is one of the fastest growing plants on our planet. When we commit to continuous learning and development, our own growth can mirror this pace. It can be a surprise to look back at what or where we used to be, and see how far along a journey we actually are.
When we are making progress, we may not notice our improvement: but how fast is not the main concern, only that we’re moving forward. Do not be discouraged by what you perceive as your lack of growth or improvement, but if you have not given up, then you are growing. You just may not see it until much later.
what looks weak is strong
When compared with larger trees in the forest, a single bamboo tree may look frail or even weak. However, it endures both cold winters and hot summers, and can often be the only tree left standing after devastating typhoons. Although they don’t grow to be as tall as other trees, they are strong and remain rooted in these extreme weather conditions.
We would be mistaken in thinking that bamboo is weak – as it is not as fragile as it might appear. As we deepen our knowledge of what constitutes strength, we can learn not to underestimate others or ourselves based on old notions of what is weak and what is strong.
Taking time out to explore any difficulties you might be experiencing can have a profound effect upon many aspects of your life, including your work, your relationships and ultimately how you view yourself. It is a sign of courage, not weakness.
be ever ready
Unlike other types of wood which take a good deal of processing and finishing, bamboo needs little work. This applies to people too: often we instinctively know the right course of action, the best approach… the answer might just need a little finishing.
Through training and practice, we can learn to tap into this inner wisdom, so that solutions to problems require less processing and less energy
find wisdom in emptiness
If we are to truly learn a new idea, technique or concept, the first step is to empty ourselves of our preconceived notions. The hollow insides of the bamboo remind us that we can often be so full of our own conclusions that we have no space for anything else.
We cannot fill ourselves with new information if we are already full. In order to receive wisdom from both nature and people, we have to be open to that which is new and different.
When you empty your mind of your prejudices, you become open to the possibilities.
express usefulness through simplicity
We can spend a lot of our time trying to prove how smart we are, perhaps to convince others and ourselves that our position in the world is justified. Because of this we may complicate the simple to impress, concerned that others may know what we know and realise it was simple all along.
Our personal and professional lives can be complicated enough, without making things even more complicated! Perhaps if we could let go of this desire to impress, we could be more creative and find simpler solutions to even complex problems. It is these solutions that ultimately provide the greatest usefulness for our customers, colleagues, or loved ones.