Although I have never forgotten that incredible experience with a tree all those years ago, Lessons From A Tree – Part 1, it wasn’t till relatively recently that I started to consciously learn more from trees again.
For some reason shortly after I became ill with ME/CFS I felt drawn to trees. I used to sit and look out of my window at the trees growing in my neighbour’s garden and those in the little woods nearby. I found myself wondering what it would be like, to be like a tree. It made perfect sense to me, but I now know that this sounded strange to others, in fact a little mad to some, but let me explain.
Being on the West Coast of Scotland and by the sea I watched these trees living through some pretty wild weather conditions and it occurred to me that through it all they just carried on being a tree. They didn’t moan or complain or try to be something else or be somewhere else, they just carried on being the tree that they were.
The little birch that had self-seeded in my garden wasn’t looking around and wishing it could be like the full grown birch it came from or like the beech trees next door it was just getting on with being what it is, a birch.
All around trees are being the trees they are oak, hazel, elm, sycamore, birch or beech. They came from a seed that had all they would become already in it and that is what they are doing, they are becoming the mighty tree they can be.
I wondered what it would be like to just be a human, the human I am, Mairi?
What would it be like to be me, to stop trying to be like anyone else and to just be myself?
I also realised that to truly be myself I needed to be free of the learned behaviours, patterns and beliefs which plagued me and kept me stuck;
Who am I underneath all this?
And so, the focus of my self-development shifted. I no-longer spend all my time trying to get away from my “terrible” childhood, trying to heal the past and escape it’s impact. I became orientated towards who I am underneath all that, who I am free from all that stuff? It’s a subtle shift but an enormous one. I am becoming rather than undoing, if that makes sense.
Prior to ME/CFS I was driven by trying to get out from under the impact of my childhood by seeking the answers out there. I did shit loads of therapy, attended hundreds of self-help meetings, went on courses and workshops galore and continuously read self-help books hoping for “the answer”. I was driven and obsessed, and running scared. I could fall into such dark places which frightened me I was trying very hard not to go there any more. I felt like “back there” had it’s claws in me and I was never going to get free.
Now thanks to that little tree I am shedding something. Like it’s bark peeling away, I am slowly releasing the layers of limiting beliefs, patterns and behaviours which seemed to hold me so tight. I am learning who I am free from the emotional stresses and traumas of old.
Of course this is an on-going process, but it answers the question I am often asked;
“Why do you keep on doing all this therapy?”
I do it to be more free, to be more truly myself, to learn how to be the human being that I AM.
So if you are running scared and trying to get away from, know that you can change. Who you truly are is underneath all the crap and can be revealed. Slowly, slowly, perhaps with help, you can peel away the layers you had to create to survive and so reveal and become the wonderful being you are.
“When you live a life you love, your joy and passion act like beacons to the world; you shine your light and show others that it is possible for them too. By changing yourself you change the world.” Mairi