|Posted by Joan Zabelka on October 1, 2012 at 5:05 PM|
As I sit typing at work, I notice the leaves have begun to change color. I suppose just a few changed at first and who knows, they may be the ones lying on the ground right now. I know that last week I didn't notice the trees that line the street, but this week - well let's just say "Golden Arches" takes on a whole new meaning.
I have a wonderful view here at work. There is a castle on the property. It is a banquet hall - Royalty West, but I can pretend it's my castle whenever I wish. There is a gazebo on the property too. I see brides and grooms during their photo shoots there and wonder what will become of them.
I watch the seasons change around the gazebo. Soon it will be laden with snow and covered in lights then one day it will become the backdrop for tulips and daffodils. In summer, the parking lot becomes a lively hangout. As they enjoy a Tropical Sno cone, teens wander over to the gazebo and snap photos of each other with their I-phones. Lovers sneak off to the waterfall around the corner no matter what the season.
I love where I work. Besides a castle, there’s a very eclectic coffee house – Ashbary’s, a craft boutique – Aurora Rose, a bike shop, a florist, a massage studio, a photography studio, an elderly acupuncturist, a tattoo parlor and a church on the property! I’m blessed to work among such creative people.
Fall around here is the prettiest season (as far as I'm concerned) and it's just beginning. I witness the gradual changes in the trees and I am in awe! How does this miracle happen? Yes, I took science, but it is much more than the reduction in sunlight and lower temps. It's the miracle of change.
The trees seem to do it effortlessly. For most of us though, I believe change is not so easy. Think of the fretting we do over the simplest things. Will our child get into the right pre-school? Which is healthier for us two-percent milk or skim? How can I be in two places at once – the PTA meeting and Zumba class? Does the red blouse make me look too fat? Or too old? Or too aggressive? Can’t I just wear the red blouse because I like it? We stress over simple and serious things.
What happens when we need to change and we don’t necessarily have a choice? Little changes take place every minute of every day, but there are also big changes being demanded of us. How do we handle them? Head-on fight or head-in-the-sand flight? Is there a way we can prepare for change gradually?
Big changes can come on like gangbusters. They come at us out of the blue and we can be left reeling at first. Loss of a job, loss of a loved one, children issues (from infancy to adulthood), moving, income problems, big repair jobs, aging parents, etc. How can we ever be prepared enough for the big changes that throw us through a loop?
We can take our cues from the trees. They go with the flow of life. They go dormant when they need to re-coup, then they allow the sap to rise and energize them. They only go through this once a year, but we can go dormant when we need to, then we can allow life’s energy to rise in us as we face the day’s issues. We need to rest, to pull back from the drama, chaos, or the piling on of everyday activities (none of which needs to be draining, but compiled – suck us dry).
We need to be flexible. The willow tree sways and bends in the storm. We are made of the same stuff as willows. Believe me – we were made to bend, swoop, and dance in the rain, wind, and lightening of life. The secret is to trust that by being supple and adaptable we will not be so rigid as to snap and break when the pressure is one. Non-negotiable should be reserved for life principles, but accommodating can be used in many more circumstances than we admit. Take the time to really examine the situation. Most times, flexible is better for all involved.
Find a support system – don’t be that lone tree waiting for the lightening to hit you. Dormancy is time for you alone, but you may also need someone to turn to when things get rough. A trusted support system is a forest of reinforcement. These friends cheer you on, encourage you, and hold you when you need a hug. You can help each other go through changes together.
Practicing to be like the trees in the everyday changes that occur, strengthen you for when tougher change occurs. When you handle the little changes with a calm, rooted attitude then you will be better prepared for the storms in life. Trees do lose leaves and branches – sometimes entire limbs, but for the most part they survive.
One day, you will look in the mirror and admire the color and vitality you have. You will have changed gradually and effortlessly – just like the autumn leaves.