The Tree and the Forest

Tree

Once upon a time there was a friendly deer who was very busy eating acorns to prepare for the long winter. It was a good year for acorns and he had his fill.

Unknown to the deer, there were so many acorns that one caught in his antler. He walked into the nearby meadow to bed down for the evening.  While the deer was sleeping, the acorn fell into the soft ground in the meadow.

Most of the acorns fell in the forest, the squirrels hid many and some began to grow into trees. Because it was crowded, the little saplings had to fight for space to grow.  The little acorn in the meadow began to grow too.

Space was abundant in the meadow and the little acorn was able to grow in freedom. Because he grew in the full sunlight, the little tree soon grew big and spread his thick branches outwards.

The trees in the forest had to compete for the crowded sunlight and all their energy went into growing tall. They didn’t have many branches. The tree in the meadow admired the forest trees reaching tall. They looked so elegant.

One summer, there were many storms. The wind blew the trees. The trees in the forest helped to stop the winds but the tree in the meadow faced the winds alone.

The winds whipped and bent the branches of the tree in the meadow. The poor tree felt he might be ripped out of the soil and he noticed how the trees in the forest were protected. He tucked down and reached deeply into the ground with his roots.

Next came the lightning. The trees in the forest woods had grown taller than the tree in the meadow and lightening hit some of them. The tree in the meadow was all alone and stuck out, so he too was struck by lightening.

The lightening scarred the trees and those that were injured needed time for healing. When the sun came out, it began to slowly heal the trees. The trees in the forest did not get as much sun as the tree in the meadow and they healed more slowly. Some did not heal and they fell.

The adversities made the tree in the meadow stronger. His roots ran deep and his branches spread out in the sun. Yes, he had a scar and was not tall and thin, but he was able to provide a home, food and shelter for many animals.

When the light is right, in the early dawn, some say you can find a deer snuggled under the tree; a descendant of the friendly deer who helped plant the little acorn in the meadow.

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This story is an allegory. As an introvert, I have felt like the tree in the meadow. I didn’t ask to be planted alone, away from the forest; I was born the way I am. I didn’t know if I could handle the problems that came my way on my own, but I had to, so I did. I’m not elegant like my extrovert friends and I notice that, I admire them. I am scarred but my roots run deep, I stretch up to the light, and gratefully I fulfill my purpose helping others, right from where I am planted.

The Shoulds

I should be further along than this.

What happened to the time, I shouldn’t feel this rushed.

I should be able to figure this out.

I shouldn’t be having this much trouble.

I should have more Christmas lights out.

I should have shopped earlier.

Should, Should, Should

Breathe …

And reframe:

Everything is exactly as it should be.

I am good enough exactly as I am right now in this moment.

And breathe again …

I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

I forgive and feel forgiven.

I deeply and completely love and accept others.

I fail and I learn from my failures.

I am an amazing learner.

I feel freedom in organization and I feel freedom in being spontaneous.

Breathe …

I allow myself to feel all my feelings with evaluation but without judgement.

Everything is exactly as it should be; that which I feel is good and that which I feel is bad.

I trust everything will work out in the end even if it’s pitch black in the middle.

I walk forward in trust, in this world and towards the next.

In the darkest time of the year, a light was born into the world. A Savior, the Christ.  I pray for the gift to experience peace in surrendering to the light. And I pray you have a Merry Christmas (minus the should’s).

Reserving Judgment

I’m a nature lover and walk down our rural road each morning with my husband and our dogs.

If I see a small critter on the road (earthworm, frog, etc.) I’ll move it off to the side so it doesn’t get run over.

I don’t go overboard but my heart is in the right place and I try.

If I notice someone else pass by and not pay attention to the “little ones,” I tend to judge them as “not caring.”

Today was one of those days. On our morning walk, my husband and I noticed a large earthworm and the amazing circles it had made in the mud on the road. I quickly picked “him” up and placed the earthworm off the road. Then I asked my husband why he didn’t care enough to do that.

His answer surprised me. He said that the earthworm was on the road to get away from all the rain saturated ground and that I had just put the little guy back in the place he was trying to get away from.

Whoa. I had judged my husband because he had not picked the earthworm off the road and he had judged me because I had.

We both cared about the little worm but we both had different ideas about what that caring looked like.

I’m glad my husband considers the ways of nature and cares about the little things too. And I’m glad I learned an enlightening lesson about reserving judgment on others.

The Holiday Battle

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I have a seasonal holiday battle. It seems like it comes up every year to rob the magic of Christmas. It’s the battle of busy-ness.

Buy gifts, find the addresses for Christmas cards, get stamps, oh no the first holiday party is here – wrap the gifts – bake – what will I wear – clean – decorate … and on and on it goes. Repeating each week of December.

Usually checking tasks off my to-do list gives me satisfaction. But now it feels like I’m on a conveyor belt that’s going too fast. It feels like something’s wrong.

Why am I simply experiencing the rush and not resting in the moment?

Why not take a breath and allow a brief flow of thankfulness to surface?

On Sunday I decorated the yard and barns and today I notice some Christmas lights are not lighting up – a feeling of overwhelm and frustration arise. I stop, breath and notice. Then I turn my attention to all the lights that are sparkling bright – thank you for your brilliance I whisper.

I feel better, my muscles relax a bit. I take another breath. Somehow something changes and I decide to remove the wayward strand of lights without ado. Everything will be fine. Actually, everything is great. In this moment I’m one step a head of the holiday battle.