In 2015, Hill and I hiked through the Haleakala National Park to Waimoku Falls. Absolutely beautiful. 

The trail passed through a bamboo forest and each time the wind blew the shoots clapped together in subtle applause. I like to think it was Mother Nature praising herself for the gift she was giving to the visitors. Such an unforgettable experience. 

What I recently learned in Chop Wood, Carry Water, is how a bamboo forest grows. After bamboo is planted, growth occurs under the surface where a dense network of roots extends throughout the ground. That growth can take five years before a single bamboo shoot breaks out into the sunshine. At which time it can grow 90 feet in six weeks.

“What most people want is the 90 foot bamboo tree, without the five years of the process….

“Chopping wood and carrying water… is the long and arduous journey of invisible growth where you are building the foundation that is necessary to sustain success.” 

It may appear as if nothing is happening. But, it is the work done in the dark, that no one else can see, that will make all the difference.

The most inspiring humans in history have taken the time to build the foundation necessary for their success. What would you be able to achieve if you did the same? Would you be willing to go for years growing a dense, strong root system that showed no signs of outward progress, knowing that it would bring forth a beautiful plant? 

Day in, day out, chopping wood and carrying water. 

After much reflection, my bamboo forest is meditation. What’s yours?