Shake That Tree

I wait, holding my breath as one rider after another crosses the finish line.  My son has been training for this race diligently and has been dreaming of placing in the top three in his division. I watch as the riders in his class cross the finish line. 1…2…3…

Searching the crowd, I find him hunched over his handle bars, slowly slipping off his helmet.  My heart aches as I see the disappointment in his eyes. He looks at me and asks:

“What am I doing wrong?”

Instinct tells me that harder workouts and more training are not the answer.  I sense something in him…I sense self-doubt.

As he pauses to speak with a friend, my gaze is drawn to a large leafy tree near the track.  The sight of it reminds me of a magnificent cherry tree that stood in our yard when I was a child.  I recall watching my footing under that tree as abandoned bird eggs would occasionally fall from the branches, serving as foul smelling obstacles that limited forward progression.  What made the rotten minefield worth navigating was the luscious red cherries that hung hidden between the green leafy branches.  I recall climbing that tree year after year, reaching for a branch and…


I would shake that tree and squeal in delight as cherries rained to the ground, tasty treasures ready to be devoured.  They were such a treat.

Contemplating the plight of my son today it occurs to me that life is very much like that cherry tree.  There are times when seemingly rotten eggs fall from life’s tree making forward progression messy and difficult.  When self-defeating thoughts fall from above and obstruct our path many often find themselves asking…

“What is wrong with me?”

Perhaps the metaphorical eggs that clutter our paths represent faults we feel we possess, faults that illicit negative thoughts and fall from our minds, obstructing forward progression towards goals. These thoughts are often foul smelling, rancid, and ugly and leaving us feeling defeated, alone, and insecure.

You see, the mind is incredibly powerful.  If the mind and body are not in sync, the body will not perform.  The mind has an uncanny way of dropping rancid eggs at our feet until its message is heard loud and clear.  Negative self-talk is a sign.  A sign to…

…shake that tree

It is a signal that it is time to climb the tree in our minds and reach for the first branch – shake it gently at first and then with more vigor if we must – and then  watch with delight as our unique gifts, ambitions, and clever talents begin their descent through the dense foliage unimpeded.

“You know mom…I know what is wrong…I need some time to think.”

I am relieved.  In my son’s mind, he has acknowledged his self-defeating thoughts and is confronting them.  He has stepped past self-doubt, climbed the tree, and is reaching for the first branch. Only good things will fall now.  I need not worry.  He will find his own way.  Of that I am sure.