The Lesson Of The Tree

By Chris Palmer, M.A.


At the largest and smallest levels of the universe and our imagination, everything changes all of the time.

Our bodies regenerate cells.

We grow up and grow old.

And the universe expands…

…until it doesn’t.

But nothing stays the same except this pesky characteristic called change. It’s so fundamental to everything that the only clear path to survival and peace of mind is adaptability.

Look around you.

How many times do you hear people frustrated at something that just changed?

“I found more gray hairs today.”

“My boss just changed my hours.”

“I can’t believe it’s snowing this early in the season.”

Change, change, change, change, change……

Things in our existence don’t ever stay still very long.

And all of the complaining we do about all of it is really just a result of never embracing the fundamental truth that all of it — every single part of everything we know and even think we know — changes.

So we can wallow in self-pity as if each change was a complete surprise. And that’s what we tend to do.

Or we can adapt.

Now that may sound painful, like skipping a slice of pizza when you’re trying to lose a few pounds.

But those who adapt — those who really expect things to change — have an advantage.

They can thrive instead of just survive.

They can spend time on what’s possible instead of mourning the loss of yet another thing that has changed.

And they are one step closer to finding a meaning in their lives that makes sense for them.

Because when we are stuck mourning the changes, wallowing in the dark abyss of self-pity, yearning for a past that will never return, we are losing this moment, this day, this opportunity.

Just look at the tree in the picture. It grew up against that chain-link fence until pushing the fence away was no longer possible. As much as the tree tried, the fence was too strong to be pushed.

So the tree grew over and through the fence and literally enveloped it. One day the suffocating fence will be entirely inside the trunk of the tree.

And although the tree and fence aren’t visibly conscious, they make a great metaphor for what we go through. The tree adapted. It thrived.

The fence did not. It’s being consumed by the tree.

Adaptation. It’s nature’s strategy for dealing with the reality of change.

I want to be the tree.

If you like this, please share. It means a lot to me. And if you need help getting unstuck, contact me:

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