Do you know what this is?
It’s what’s left of this.
I started to wait until April 29th. But my broken heart wouldn’t allow room for a gimmicky Arbor Day post.
This tree and I fell in love last autumn. It was Inspiring Image #16. That’s where my empathy stems from. My camera and I had connected with its barrenness. All of its leaves had fallen, as is customary for trees during this time of year. It looked beautiful, not battered. And it certainly didn’t look like it should be destroyed. Branch by branch.
I looked forward to seeing its spring blossoms during our Sunday walks. I looked forward to the bright leaves that would fill its arms. I looked forward to sharing a glimpse of its showering green and newfound beauty. We were going to re-connect, this tree and I. It would show off its regeneration and I would stand under it, awed by the natural recurrence of rebirth. Our energies renewed by one another.
It was February 23rd. One man leaned lazily against its trunk. Another stood on the sidewalk, sizing tree up. Still, another sat atop a yellow machine. Its neck rose higher and higher. Orange cones and yellow tape surrounded the scene. Maybe they’re just removing the lone damaged branch, I thought. Hope against hope. I’ve always loathed that phrase. Wouldn’t the two cancel each other out, leaving no hope at all?
Upon my return, I’d ask them what they were doing. An hour and a half later, and like a stage-play, the setting had changed. All that remained was a stump.
“Did you take a picture?” Dwight asked.
“I didn’t. I couldn’t.”
Eventually, I could. And I did. The stump saddened me. Remaining scattered woodchips seemed irreverent. Couldn’t they have cleaned up better? A lopsided hew appeared haphazard. All of that machinery couldn’t produce a clean cut? Who has time for discriminate chops when there’s more of nature to disassemble? Who has time for anything when one’s job is to destroy trees that are minding their own business, waiting for spring, like you and me?
February 26th, the tree guy was back.
“Hey,” I yelled out of my car’s window. “There was a big tree down there, remember? You guys just tore it down.”
“Oh yeah,” the left corner of his mouth crept half a smile. “It was dead.”
“Yeah. Really dead.”
Shows what I know. I guess tree’s time on this earth had ended long ago and I had been marveling at its carcass. Hmmmph.
For 21 days, I had no sugars and carbs. I deactivated my Facebook account. I exercised. And I meditated. Why? Why would you do this to yourself, friends and family have asked. The simple answer is it’s a form of discipline. More in depth answers are below.
No sugars and carbs is a great way to stop craving sugars and carbs. The thing about me is that I’m a real food eater. Meaning, if I had to choose between a full-course meal and a slice of cake, then I unequivocally will choose the full-course meal. But after vacation eating in June and then stress eating in July, I began requesting and making multiple visits to Sweets by Holly for mini red velvet cupcakes. Detoxing from this stuff started my re-set button.
Deactivating Facebook for at least 21 days is mandatory for me. Each social media site has its own perks and drawbacks, but I find Facebook to be the most time consuming because of personal connections. Having multiple inbox conversations, liking and questioning friends’ and family members’ posts is fun. But sometimes it’s a huge distraction. Detoxing from this site forced me to pick up the phone and actually check on people when they floated across my mind. And most of the time, direct communication felt better.
Exercising for 21 consecutive days helps me to practice listening to my body. Some days I practiced yoga. Other days I ran. Functional exercises occurred somewhere in between. And on those lazy weekend days when my body wasn’t used to working out? I took a 3-mile walk outside. The point is I used intuition to determine what would be an appropriate way to move. No app. No trainer. Just me. And it worked. I felt good about what I was doing and there was no burnout.
A 21-day Meditation quiets my mind so that I can focus on one particular aspect of self-improvement. For example, last year I chose to concentrate on relationships. During that one, I learned to love my core self more; consequently, other relationships began to flourish. This year, I meditated on the energy of attraction. I’ll keep you posted on those benefits as they occur.
Focus is important. Whether it’s ditching sugar or unplugging from social media, adding exercise and meditation, or something else altogether, doing (or not doing) an activity for 21 days helps to jumpstart mindfulness. Being aware can also spark a bit of consciousness as you deliberately think about your SELF and how you’re living. Depending on your activity, those small changes may not only positively impact you, but also those around you.