Imagine that you are a big, beautiful tree in a forest. You have been growing for one hundred and fifty years. You have seen many springs and autumns. Surrounded by other majestic trees, you are home to many birds, squirrels, insects. Your deep roots, nourished by the rich earth, are home to many fungi, beetles, and grubs.

One day a contractor comes with bulldozers. They destroy your friends, creating a vast parking lot for a new shopping mall. Because you are so big and beautiful, they leave you and build a rock retaining wall around your base. Now you are alone. The sun bakes down on the concrete, reflecting up onto your trunk and limbs. Cars come and go, dripping oil from their undersides that seeps into your soil. The cement blocks the water that nourished your roots. There are hardly any birds and no squirrels anymore.

A human could easily consider this disaster unfair and become angry, scared, or depressed, blaming the contractor, mankind, God, or fate. But you are a tree and do not do human thoughts and emotions. You do not waste energy crying or bemoaning your fate. Instead, by nature, you are serene, patient, and persistent in your continuous growth. You continue to do what you have always done: you take whatever resources are at hand and you grow.

Over the passing years you continue to take sunlight into your leaves and convert it into food, just as you always have done. While it is true you have less water because of the concrete above your soil, your roots go deep and tap sources in the water table. As they continue to search for moisture, some of your root tendrils find tiny cracks in the concrete where moisture seeps through. For reasons unknown to you, after some seasons the mall shuts down. There are no more cars. While concrete is harder than your tender roots and can smash them, concrete is a dead thing, while your root tendrils are alive and growing. As they seek out cracks in the concrete and grow, they widen those cracks. What is the result? In time the concrete buckles, creating spaces for your seeds to take root. Over decades, your children spring up, repopulating the forest. Without anger, sadness, stress, or thought, you have outgrown your limitations and returned your world to balance and harmony.

We humans have a lot to learn from trees and living things. When you contact, listen to, and learn to trust your inner compass the same thing can happen in your own life. Instead of wasting energy in irrelevant thoughts and feelings, you can learn to focus on growing, knowing that growth itself will in time crack whatever box you find yourself in today, at this point in your life.