What are your “trees”?

“The more experiences you have of ordinary life being interesting, the more contented you are.” Mary and Rick NurrieStearns

I came across the tree in the accpanying picture about two months ago while walking around Cheesman Park. At the time, I was struck by the fact that I had probably walked past this tree many times before I actually saw it. Most of the time my mind was elsewhere as I attempted to discharge pent up energy through the act of movement.

Sometimes this translated as complete absorption in the flickers of light that descended from the cacophony of leaves above. Other times I was caught in the game of quickly sneaking sniffs of neighboring pine trees before replacing my mask as I passed someone traveling in the opposite direction. What I was doing on this particular day, I do not recall. However, when I saw this tree, I was immediately absorbed with so many questions: Is it getting enough water? Was there too much sun exposure here? Had some infestation taken place, stripping this tree, and only this tree, of its leaves and vitality?

These questions were soon accompanied by others, including: How many times had I walked past this tree without really seeing it?  How many others had done the same? And then more broadly of course, what other aspects of life was I too distracted to notice? 

This week I share this image, as well as the accompanying thoughts and questions, because they collectively call to mind something I read in a book entitled “Yoga For Emotional Trauma.”  In this work, authors Mary and Rick Nurriestearns argue that mindfulness coupled with compassion are the means by which to heal some of our emotional wounds.  For them, contentment, as well as healing, is really rooted in the ability to be with ourselves as completely and as compassionately as possible. 

Keeping this notion in mind, I wanted to share the following questions with you as contemplation points for the week: 

  • What are the metaphorical, or perhaps even literal, “trees” in your life? That is, what aspects of your daily existence do you quickly walk by without giving a second thought?   
  • What might you gain if you were able to slow down a bit and really notice all that is around you? 
  • How can you begin to more infuse all aspects of your life with a greater sense of compassion, curiosity, contentment, and wonder? 

For me, my practice continues to be the place where I work to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Imagining your practice might serve a similar purpose, I have a few public offerings available. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out.