I recently read a wonderful book, The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes, about March Wong, a 14-year-old boy on the autistic spectrum, and his love of a beautiful tree. The entire book is from the viewpoint of March and offers a fantastic perspective of trees and forests and the human experience. Rich in detail and tender in consideration of March and his connection with this huge 300-foot, old-growth Ponderosa pine, we see firsthand his struggles and his growth as he fights for what he wants to do: climb this tree.
There is part of March’s story which is very similar to my own journey. March knew what he wanted, and he set out to accomplish his goal, resolving obstacles as they arose, adjusting as he learned from his challenges.
Resolving, adjusting, and learning can seem like easy responses, but often they aren’t because personal truth is a moving target.
That’s where learning comes in. Learning is the process of finding inner awareness of how your truth has shifted in the experience of living your life. Learning can be a subtle affair because shifts aren’t usually dramatic or obvious.
Most of the shifts in life are nuances, tiny steps, petite motions which often make their move when your attention is occupied elsewhere. Often time will pass before the motion enters your awareness. When somehow the usual pieces aren’t fitting as expected, awareness emerges in the questioning and learning.
There’s a big challenge: Expectations. A big deal because of how they make you think your truth is one direction, and that your story is the same old safe one. No need for change, no need to be aware. That’s the hocus-pocus expectations use to distract your attention and your awareness.
For me, expectations have been an on-going thorn in my side. Recently, as I have returned to online dating, I’ve really been challenged to take a fine-tooth comb to my expectations around relationship. However, when I can successfully identify an expectation and challenge its authenticity, I have found that expectation itself offers the path around its gnarly trunk. Letting go of expectation helps me focus on me, what I want, and my next step within the truth of me. Expectations aren’t easy but when confronted head-on provide a conduit to personal truth which can’t be beat.
Once I get a clear view of truth for myself then it is easier to adjust whatever needs adjusting. Maybe I need to adjust habit, routine, or schedule. Maybe I need to adjust my approach, my plan, or my intention. Or the need might be a shift in habit, thought, or belief. Adjusting gives me the chance to consider possible paths and likely consequences. Adjusting can also help me feel capable and able to be present, to stick to this moment, and not lose myself to past blame or future fear.
Typically, most ideas of resolving relates to finding a solution to a problem. A great process to engage in as truth emerges. But, I also like to think of the process of resolve as one of melting and transforming. In this sense, to resolve leads me to let the nature of my challenge shift by seeing what’s truthfully before me with new perception. Like watching melting candle wax take a new form, resolve in this perspective is possible when expectations are acknowledged and released, allowing self to explore the truth of a new form and open to new possibility.
Just like March, there is what I want in my life. When I am fixed on the container, on what I expect my want to be or do, then resolving is dicey, limited by expectation. However, if I can see and feel the experience, the content of what I want, I am open to adjustments, unexpected turns, and surprising possibilities. My life becomes adventure and I am an explorer capable of learning, adjusting and resolving whatever comes my way as I set out to live my truth and climb my tree.
May you find your tree to climb!