Just Move The Tree!
Posted October 21st, 2011
I am convinced we all have one thing in our lives – a simple thing, not a huge task – that if addressed, would free up boundless energy and get things moving again. Kind of like a log jam in a river. Sure, you could look at ALL THOSE LOGS crammed up in that tight space and think, “What a mess… I’ll never get through all this…I wonder what’s on Hulu…” and put it off some more. Guaranteed next time you come back to it there will be more logs piled up.
But here’s the thing…If you take the time and really look closely, there is often one item that, if removed, would have the others fall away with little effort, like the keystone that holds up a stone arch. And that one thing is often not glaringly obvious. That one “log”, the thing that holds the greatest power to getting you unstuck, might be right under your nose, but because you see it so often, it seems fairly innocuous.
Here’s an example. A client of mine was stuck. She was in a time of transition and was feeling the rub of it. She was in the process of growing her business while she was also working another job, sorting out some past relationships and taking stock of her life and what she truly wanted for herself. She was overwhelmed and rightfully so.
She had run into a log jam in the river of her life. She wanted to flow, baby, flow, but was feeling frustrated by this mound of mental clutter and literal tasks that had piled up around her seemingly overnight.
During one session, she mentioned “the tree” as an example of one of the items on her list. Apparently there was a ficus tree in her living room that she walked by countless times during the day. Every time she walked by it, she made note of the little white lights on it that she hadn’t taken off yet from the holiday season. It was June. It bothered the crap out of her. The challenge was, if she took off the lights, then she’d need to move the other stuff and box it up, and then…and then…and then. So the tree stayed put. And won.
It soon became clear the tree was the key. It was sucking a little bit of her energy each time she walked by it. So we tried an experiment. Rather than set out to completely redo her space as she had envisioned, I asked her to just move the tree outside. Get it out of her line of sight. So she did that night.
And everything changed.
The floodgates opened, and suddenly she found this wellspring of focused energy that had her tossing out the clutter, and moving around her life – literally and figuratively – to better suit her. And here’s the thing: it didn’t take a lot of effort.
She had removed the right log in her jam. It wasn’t the biggest log, mind you, but it was the most critical because it was holding all the others in place. Once the tree was removed, she could focus and the water of the river could once again flow freely.
Want other examples?
In my own life, I have found my “tree” lives on the stairs of my home. Specifically, it’s the billion little papers, books, socks, bills, games and STUFF that we slide in between the balusters of the stairs to remind us to take them up. But we never do, it seems. So they just serve as a little mail slots of distraction, a trail of reminders and to-dos that nag you as you go up the stairs…and then down the stairs. Remove them, I’ve found , and I can focus freely. And I’m not talking about taking each item and putting it away in its proper place. I’m talking about grabbing it all in my arms and stuffing it on a shelf behind a closed door or a drawer. Until later, when I have time or the energy to deal with it. Or better yet, someone else needs something from “the stack” and deals with it. What I discovered is how much lighter I feel afterward. Seems like such a simple (silly, even!) act, right? But it has an amazing impact
Another client of mine has “the office”. Specifically, she had this massive pile of papers that needed to be filed and sorted. And then there were the photos to be scanned and organized. And the old tax records and bills and…and…and. You get the picture. She never went into the office, but you could tell it weighed on her like a lead balloon. It mocked her and called her disorganized, lazy, and a procrastinator. So one day, she went in with a big box. She took her arm and just did a sweep with it on all the surfaces, shoving all the clutter into the box. And then she gathered up all the piles on the floor and tossed them in the box. She took the box and tossed it in the closet. A task for another time. You should have heard how giddy she sounded at the quick and easy way she reclaimed her space.
Call it cheating. Call it procrastinating. But out of sight IS out of mind, and sometimes the mind is where it’s at for us.
So find your tree – whatever IT is for you – and just simply move it. Spend no more than five minutes doing it. Be vicious. Don’t hesitate. Take back the night and watch how that one simple act can release your flow of energy. Flow, baby, flow.