The body of life reflects our coping skills. It is a symbol of who we are, what we’ve experienced and how we interpret reality. The rings of our tree are the hardships we’ve faced and how we handled them. When we build our palace our tree’s rings determine the quality of the lumber. The more we learn from each hardship the stronger our foundation becomes.
We don’t have control over what happens or how we feel, but we can try to make the best of the bad. Every hardship is a gift granting us an opportunity to help people with our hurt. Sometimes its impossible to improve our perception in the moment, but in reflection we can encourage it.
The bad finds us no matter where we hide. Discovering I had cancer was a long and torturous battle. Eventually I learned others had a similar story as mine and I vowed to help end this terrible cycle. Now I work to guide the newly diagnosed find a different way, one with less horror and confusion.
My experience in the hospital after my thoracotomy was horrible. There were times when I had no painkillers and the agony was excruciating. In moments like those there is no way to see anything but the bad. Later I learned there is good in every moment, especially our worst. It gave me insight on pain, the medicine used to mask it and how fear can make it worse.
Existence is a collection of incredible experiences. It is equally good as it is bad. If we stare long enough at the terrible we might miss how terrific life can be.
I believe it is especially important we look back at all the good. Our past sweetens the present. Often, I return to how my mother celebrated her children, she did a wonderful job making holidays feel magical. If I could see her today I would thank her for giving me all those treasured moments.
These experiences are just a few rings of my Tree of Life, what are some of yours? Look inward and find the seasons you’ve endured and the lessons learned.