“Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity” –Joseph Sugarman
~February 25th 2009 ~
Today on the first walk of my resolve to lose 10 lbs before my daughter’s wedding, I had one of those “aha” moments that sometimes might have us scratching our heads. I’ve a very convenient spot for walking near work: the county 4-H center grounds.
I had just finished the last turn of my 2 mile goal and was feeling very good about things. The birds were singing and I was listening to my favorite classical guitarist on my iPod. I happened to glance to my right and noticed a stump of a tree beside the path. It had obviously been chopped down some time ago. It looked to be a good size tree at one time… the circumference being at least 3 feet. I had to stop and stare at it, because out of it were growing 3 very alive new shoots. I stared a long time, thinking: “They meant to kill it, but yet it lives. It has defied severe odds”. I looked a while longer, even glancing back once to make sure I saw what I did. Then I headed for my truck. It was then I noticed something even more drastic. To my left, in the field was a burned stump of an even larger tree, charred almost to the ground. I walked over to it, carefully stepping all around it. It was burned black. Yet, up the side of it grew moss. Bugs were seemingly eating some life sustaining nutrients it provided. And there, on the side… was a shoot of life! Amazing! It too had lived through the deadly intentions of its saboteur.
I hesitated to leave the charred stump. I wanted more time to think!
~March 18, 2009~
The two stumps were both dealt heavy blows meant to kill them. For a long while it appeared the attempts were successful, too. The large portion of the trees was gone; either chopped into smaller pieces for someone’s fireplace or burned down at the tree site. Life as that tree knew it prior to the death attempt ceased to exist.
Little did the saboteur know that he only managed to kill what was visible above ground.
That which was below the level of sight (down under the dirt) was still very much alive! Once the killer was gone and probably seeing to the deaths of other living things… the offended trees began their recovery.
Enough of these allegories! What does all this mean, anyway!!?
You are a viable, vital living energy. A lovely being with 100% potentiality and promise. You knew this the moment your entered this world as a newborn. As a baby, most of us were able to live inside each moment, happily utilizing that potentiality and promise to the max. But at some undefined point in your young life, your curiosity and spontaneity began to be “not ok”. The others around you (perhaps parents or even siblings) began to let you know this on a consistent basis. They began to say things like “don’t be so sensitive” and “get your head out of the clouds and come back to the real world”. And because they were the most trusted people in your life, you listened to them and you began to think that being curious and spontaneous and happy with your surrounding circumstances was not normal. So, you “grew up”. That was the first act of murder. By the time we are adults, we live “grown up” and don’t think twice about it. It’s “just how life is”. Soon we have learned to hide all sorts of things about ourselves in order to fit in with how others think we are supposed to act. For some, this is a very crippling thing. Their first inclinations and first true ideas become either shoved down inside or cut off at ground level, just like one of those stumps I saw.
Before I go any further, I want to add an addendum to my story of the Two Stumps.
I have kept to my walking schedule, of which I am quite proud. But I noticed something besides those two stumps recently. There are lots of OTHER stumps there too… and a couple of other burned out stumps to go with them. And the new stumps I noticed seem really dead; or at least they’ve not sprouted any new life and things really look hopeless for them. I also observed just today that there are several trees with a red “X” spray painted on them. You and I both know what comes to mind when we see a red “X”, right? Do you think those trees with a red “X” know they are marked for sabotage? If they do, are they scared?
Now I ask you, why are some of the stumps sprouting new life and others seem truly dead? Why do the stumps with sprouts and living things on them show life and others don’t? What sets them apart?
We all have the same energy, the same living vitality inside of us. Even though there are a thousand and one people and things that can seemingly sabotage us and intend us for death, we CAN live! It is in each moment’s choice that we can cheat death. Remember the spontaneity of childhood: Moment by moment choices about what happens around and to us. Some choose to think death is normal. Myself, I think life is normal and we have been lied to all along about death.
All of this started with Two Stumps. Two living, vital energy sources! They are showing their life through death. Will you?