In my backyard there is a medium-sized tree; in the spring this tree blossoms with beautiful, soft white flowers. My not sure what type of tree this is, but I decided that I would sit down with this tree on a humid, cloudy and stormy looking Saturday and ask this tree for guidance on a personal issue. The gentle tree was kind enough to give me guidance in the form of a story.
The tree was once nothing but a seed, small and vulnerable, but determined to one day be a wise tree. It waited and gathered strength in the dark, damp dirt. It waited for the right time and temperature and gathered nutrients from the Earth. When it was ready, a tiny sprout broke through the shell of the seed and reached towards the Earth’s surface, ready to be exposed to the fresh and open air. As the sprout reached skyward, its roots dug deeper into the Earth, spreading until they got a firm foundation set for its growth as a tree.
At any point in its growth and life it could be ravished by a disease or natural disaster, or suffer from malnutrition and drought. The tree knew what its path in life was and knew that it would need to be strong against the natural fluctuations in climate and temperature, in food availability and the actions imposed on it by humans. The tree is now firm in the ground, many days and nights later; its knows how to survive each season and it continues living, each year giving birth to beautiful flowers and serving as a sanctuary for the birds of the area. It stands witness to our daily lives, allows us to put bird feeders in its branches and gives us shade from the blistering summer sun. It waits to tell its story and in return for listening, it gives me guidance.
Listen. The tree told that I have gotten past the seedling stage and that I am now on my way to becoming a wise tree, but I have allowed the negative influence of the outside world to stunt me on my path. I am no longer growing and it’s even worse than simply not growing; I’m retreating into a dark and cavernous place where no light can reach me. It is as if I am in a drought crisis and the sun no longer shines which means that I am not getting what I need to do life’s basic functions. If I stay in this no-good place I will eventually not be able to survive and will become like a withered and dead tree. The flowers that once blossomed; the good thoughts and goals and positives outlooks on life can once again be brought back to life. How? How can I do this, I ask the tree. For a moment, there is silence from the tree as I wait for my response. I feel the breeze on my skin; hear the birds chirping and the wind rustling the tree’s branches, I can even smell a nearby neighbor grilling some meat. I close my eyes and concentrate.
The answer is inside of me, in my strength. At finding this out, I’m slightly taken aback. It would seem that I have no strength and that I am weak for falling so far from my healthy state and falling prey to the negative. I have no strength, I say. I am scared. The tree reminds me that I was just like a seedling once. I had the strength to make it through the initiations that I have encountered to make it to where I am today. I have veered off my path; this is not uncommon, I am only human but I can find my way again. I must face was is plaguing me and let it know that I may be afraid, but I am gathering strength from my foundation (my family and friends) to combat its power over me.
The tree’s branches are full of little chirping birds now. So full of life, and I realize that I want to be full of life so badly. I can’t let myself continue to slip away; I need to continue growing as a person. The last thing the tree gives to me is courage; it lets me know that I can do it and that nothing is standing in my way of getting better but my own self. You can do it, the tree tells me. I can do it, I repeat. I can do it.