Shelly's home land on Great Barrier Island NZ - surrounded by hundreds of tall mānuka trees

I was sitting on my deck listening to cicadas and watching the mānuka swaying in the breeze.

Some of these trees have been here since before I was born.

Others I’ve watched spring from the earth and climb high, high, high until they’re taller than me.

Many of them are about 8 metres tall.

As a child I walked under them behind my Nana along a winding track to the waterhole my house is now beside.

Now I can sit on my deck and watch them.

Swaying in the breeze.

I’ve watched them hurled side to side in cyclone winds.

And still they stand.

After 50 years or more.

Aotea – Great Barrier Island NZ

Lessons learned from the mighty mānuka

It’s a simple but powerful life:

  1. Stand tall
  2. Reach for the sun
  3. Drink from the earth
  4. Bend with the wind
  5. Stand tall and reach for the sun again

I can’t help but think, at the highest level, it’s the same with us.

Quote: Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances - Maya Angelou

Stand tall.

Lift your face to the sun.

Dig your toes into the earth and drink from its energy.

And then, most importantly, bend with the wind.

Shelly home land on Great Barrier Island  - looking out at the mānuka trees
Aotea – Great Barrier Island NZ

Move with it. Resisting it is when we can break.

We’re made to flex, so why fight it?

Sometimes we need to let the wind blow us parallel to the ground, but then rise again.

Quote - But still, like air, I'll rise - Maya Angelou

The ebbs n flows

I can see this in my life again and again and again.

Husband left you and then drowned?


Single mother managing everything that entails?


Watching your children make the wrong decisions?


And then rise again.

Quote: We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty - Maya Angelou - Image by Shelly Davies

The lessons passed on

A key message I repeat to my son, a young man in his 20s finding his way in a world shaped by his teenage choices, is this:

There’ll always be another thing.

What you’re experiencing IS LIFE.

Don’t keep waiting, hoping, holding your breath for it to get easier. There will always be another thing.

So bend with the wind, my son.

Bend with the wind.

Sway, lean, relax.

Let it take you, and then when the gust passes, stand tall and feel the sun on your face.

Just know that tomorrow the wind will blow again, so be prepared to bend.

And, RISE again!

Shelly Davies quote - "Mānuka as a metaphor for life - bend then rise again