Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lessons From a Tree

I  think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep.  --May Sarton

When running my Recovery Group at work, I not only focus on drug education and relapse prevention techniques, but also try to spend some time focusing on what goes on inside...emotions, feelings, etc.  I am a firm believer that if one does not work on self, one will not be gifted with a strong recovery.  That's a lesson I learned the hard way...a long, long time ago.  So, I try to make it fun by finding little quotes and readings that make  one dig deep and think.  Yesterday we did the following:

"How can I do what you say," asked the child, "and still be me?"

"Look at me," said the tree.  "I bend in the wind, droop in the rain.  Yet, I always remain myself, a tree."

"Look at me," said the man.  "I can't change."

"Look at me," said the tree.  "O change every season from green to brown to green again, from bud to flower to fallen leaf.  Yet, I always remain myself, a tree."

"I can't love anymore," said the woman. "With my love, I have given away all that I am."

"Look at me," said the tree. "There are robins in my branches, owls in my trunk, moss and ladybugs living on my bark. They may take what I have, but not what I am."

Whether we know it or not, we are like the tree. Only our pride hangs on to a false sense of self, wanting to keep everything, refusing to follow advice or orders. What we do doesn't matter; how we do it is what counts.

--Author Unknown--

We had some great conversation on this one. In our society, which is full of  stereotypes, expectations and conformities, we are often so busy trying to be what other people want us to be that we forget that we are a 'self'. We all want to be liked, accepted.  To be different is to be somewhat viewed as an 'outcast' amongst the general population. As a result, many of us find ourselves at a point later our lives where we finally realize that we have wasted many years following a path that was not meant for us .  As a result, we  end up not knowing who we really are.

I was one of those who really had to learn the hard way how to 'be myself'. Growing up as the child of an alcoholic, more  than anything I wanted to fit in with my peers, yet the more I tried, the more I failed.
During my 20's well into 40's, actually until my early 50's,  I still tried to fit in by doing things that I noticed other people doing and acting in the ways that they did.  But, I was never really happy, and that was because somewhere along the line I had lost myself.  

In counseling, I began to take a good look at myself and what I really  wanted, what I liked and how I felt, and I learned to stop caring about what other people thought and spent more time being myself, and as I became happier with who I saw in the mirror, I discovered that others began liking and respecting me more.


  1. Oh dear Mary....I LOVE stopping by here first thing in the morning. This post could have been written by me. We are true soul sisters. One of my favorite quotes in AA is "To thine own self be true" and you have summed it up beautifully today.



  2. I know how to be myself, that's not the problem. However, in being myself....I am an outcast and it gets pretty lonely.

  3. I really enjoyed this post. Still nice to find others who have gone through some of the things I have as well as my daughter. I was lucky as a recovering co-dependent (married to abusive alcoholic) to find a fabulous counselor who set me on the road to find myself. Still looking....after all these years. I still get effected by negative energies from others. But, at least now I'm aware of it and let it go and just avoid the negativity when I can.