Climb a Tree
Has anyone ever told you that you need to “find a new perspective?” I say it all the time. I say it so often that I hate hearing the word “perspective,” yet I spend most of my time helping people find a new way of looking at their current situation, aka, finding a new perspective.
In an effort to avoid such over use of the term, I changed it. Instead of asking people to look for alternative perspectives, now I ask them to climb a tree. A metaphorical tree of course, but hey if your feeling frisky, by all means go find a great tree and climb to the top. If you do you will notice that the world you left on the ground looks different from up here.
The tree for example looked huge, and now you can’t really see it because you’re sitting on it (or gripping it for dear life depending on how many trees you’ve climbed). The items that were right in front of you are now flatter and smaller, you can see further into the distance and have fewer obstacles blocking your sight. It’s all still the same stuff…just different…your world from a new perspective.
Learning to view our lives, or even more importantly our crisis, from the top of the tree is both difficult and invaluable. How many times have you wished for a time out? If only you could get away from all the demands, decisions and obligations; then maybe you could clear your head and think. You deserve that time, we all do. The trick is remembering that it exists.
When emotions are high we maximize our problems. We see things as being bigger and more important than they really are. Our fear takes hold more easily, our pain grows more rapidly and all of it seems ever lasting. It’s only when we climb the tree that we see the truth. The difficult problem in front of us isn’t all that big from up high; and as it turns out, it isn’t ever lasting because there is a lot of country on the other side of it. We couldn’t see that when we were standing in front of our problem, but we can from up here.
Whether it’s your children failing a class or experimenting with drugs; your spouse having an affair; your boss telling you you’re fired; or your inner voice saying your aren’t good enough; whatever the crisis you are facing, climbing a tree can help. Changing your perspective can give you the moment of peace you need. Realizing that what is right in front of you is not all that exists and that their is life after the crisis eases our fears and brings much needed calm. It is that calm that is essential for our growth.
To face a challenge of any kind, the first thing we must do is stay calm. That too is a task when we are so emotionally invested in a situation. It feels like a negative outcome is too disastrous to contemplate, and the very idea of such raises our panic level. We can become desperate and impulsive, causing us to make choices that drive us further from our goals.
Climb the tree. See the world from a greater perspective. Cultivate calm and realize that every crisis does have an end. No moment in time has to define any one person if you choose to not be defined by it. You can take ownership of your moment and live life with the knowledge that there are plenty of unwritten moments on the other side of it. Don’t be afraid to get dirty and go climb a tree.