Lessons from a tree


I have been frustrated with myself lately. I have been, admittedly, playing that game of “should have, could have, would have” in my head about some of my decisions through the course of my life. I have also been pushing very hard in my own personal and career development, and getting annoyed when results don’t come as quickly as I’d like.

It is, admittedly, one of my biggest attributes, and also one of my biggest flaws: impatience. On the positive side of this coin is drive. I am self-motivated and driven in all my endeavors to almost an absurd degree. If I want something, if I set a goal, you bet your boots I will everything humanly possible to get it (short of breaking the law or hurting others, of course!). In many cases, it has generated success and lead to a great deal of fulfillment and joy with the results.

On the flip side of the coin lies impatience. Sometimes, I get so annoyed and frustrated with myself for not making things happen faster. I blame myself, when, often, it is not necessarily my fault, or even anyone else’s, that the desired result has not come yet. I should make this decision, I should go to that thing, I should check those items off my to-do list, walk faster, speak better, learn faster, you name it.

The impatience lately has come from my recent self-inquiry into what the heck I want to do next on my life’s journey, what my next step is, and where I’d like to direct my path. This requires a lot of soul searching. Although there are a lot of really wonderful and fruitful action steps that can be taken, I have not had measurable results yet. This results in doubt, and also annoyance that I can’t figure it out already and get there.

Today, during yoga class, I positioned my mat near the window. I needed to be at yoga because I needed to let my mind take a break, and I needed to release a lot of tension. However, I also needed to be in that corner of the room where you can see the sunset through the window, and where the last rays filter through the slats of the blinds and onto my mat. What can I say? I am a predictable creature and I need my sun!

Halfway through class I looked out the window and saw two trees planted in the parking lot. I realized in that moment that I could really take a lesson from trees. (At which point I got very frustrated with myself for not realizing this sooner, given the book about trees that I’m reading.) Many trees grow very slowly. Do trees yell at themselves and beat themselves up about this? No. They just grow, with confidence that their roots will find the correct nutrients in the soil to thrive. The roots seek out the path that will lead them to the most nutrients and water. They grow where they are planted, towards what they need. The results: stunning.


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