I once, not all that long ago, took a leadership training course at work. It was a completely volunteer course and while I am always looking for ways to improve myself, things had been a little tedious at work and a two day break sounded awfully nice! The course itself had some great points that I will take with me but it was an unexpected story told by our instructor during a break that really stood out and made me think and reflect upon my life.
Our course was lead by a nice gentleman from the Washington D.C. area, and for simplicity let’s call him Dave.
I am told that D.C. is an absolute beautiful thing to see in the fall. All the leaves of the trees are changing from shades of green to beautiful hints oranges and brown. People visit from all over the country to see this sight come autumn. Well Dave lived there all his life and didn’t appreciated this one bit.
See Dave was born colorblind. What we interrupt as a mystic display of natures beauty, Dave only saw as death. The leaves of the trees slowly changed to a darker shade just before they withered away and died. He absolutely dreaded the months of September, October and November.
He spent over thirty years of his life with this mindset until one day he met an old friend of his for coffee. She was raving on and on about how beautiful it was, forgetting that Dave was colorblind and could not share in the sentiment.
“I don’t get what everybody’s fascination with this depressing season is!” Dave uttered. “Everything around us is dying. There is absolutely nothing to enjoy.”
Well being the ever optimist his friend turned to him and said; “Well Dave, colorblind or not you are missing the true beauty of it. The tree’s leaves falling is not a sign of death, but instead it is the tree’s way of removing the excess from its life. The tree rids itself of the leaves that are holding it back so that they may fall to the ground thus providing food for the soil. That soil then turns into nutrients that the tree uses the following spring. By removing the leaves, the tree allows itself to grow bigger and stronger then it ever could have with them weighing it down all winter.”
Dave’s jaw dropped in amazement. He had never viewed it that way before. In that instance his life was changed as now he could not look at the leaves falling as death but a metaphor for life and how beautiful it is.
I think we can learn a lot from Dave’s experience and use the story of the leaves. The fall is a perfect time to perform some self reflection and rid ourselves of external things that are preventing us from growing bigger and stronger each year. Consider doing the following this fall:
- Take some time to go through your home and rid yourself of the excess clutter and unused items such as non-perishable foods that you have never got around to using, items you no longer need or use, and old clothing. Consider donating them to those less fortunate then us as they could defiantly use them especially with the weather turning cold.
- Step back and analyze your personal relationships. Consider cutting ties with those who weighing you down and holding you back. The people who may be always criticizing or putting down your choices and ideas. Removing them from your Facebook and your life may only help to keep your spirits positive and move forward to bigger and greater things.
- Nurture the positive relationship you do have so that they may continue to grown deeper throughout your life, like the roots of the tree.
What do you think? Will you be taking a moment this fall to enjoy the beauty that happens just outside our windows and mimic the actions of the tree to help yourself come back stronger next spring? Do you have any suggestions or tips? Share them in the comment section below!