Me And The Tree


The Tree

#ImpactMusing Very interesting exercise…can you sit and watch a tree for an hour? How hard could it be, right? It’s not like sprinting or boxing or listening to chemistry lectures. And if not — why not?
I couldn’t. Here is a photographic record of me, moments before failing to keep watching the tree. At about the two minute mark.

The shame is, it’s a very nice tree. In a very nice tropical setting. And even with a very nice breeze rustling the leaves. But still nope. 

I have a hell of a lot of work to do right now. Contract stuff, school stuff, #ImpactProgram stuff (we launch tomorrow!), my speaker’s bio to rehab for a new prospective client. And although I’m not a smart man, I do know you sometimes have to slow down to speed up. So with all this pressing down on me, I stepped outside Starbucks with my coffee to just watch a tree.

And failed.

Is it the workload? Ah, hell no. I had already told the workload to pound sand and I’d be back when I’m back. It was the Time.

We treat Time like George Carlin said we treat Space. We get some space, and then we go buy some shit to put in it. When we get too much shit for our space, do we discard shit? No! We go buy more space and then buy more shit to put in all the new space! (That’s why real estate will always be a good investment. You’re welcome.)

Early Protestantism, and Zen Buddhism, both traditions which I’ve followed at different times in this brief flicker of existence, are variously credited with some version of this wisdom: “I make it a practice to pray (meditate) for a minimum of one hour every day. Without fail. Unless I’m too busy. In which case I make it two.”

I gave myself the priceless gift of an hour of peace, of Time, and immediately began loading it up with whatever shit I could find lying around in my walnut-sized brain. Why?

Do I fear unoccupied physical or temporal space? Possibly. It’s probably more habit. What do you do when you find yourself unexpectedly waiting for a few minutes on the plane, the train, or the automobile? Right. You probably grab the phone and start looking for stuff to quickly jam into that vast, echoing chamber of space called two minutes of your life. AKA “tranquility.” God forbid you should just sit and watch a tree. And relax.

As a writer, I have an unfair advantage in that I can use the 58 minutes to generate this story about the unhealthy need to fill time with activity (like writing a story….) Heck, I rationalize, I needed to do the story for my business anyway.

But I also needed to relax. And I chose not to. I need to own that truth. And because I’m mindful of it, I’ll do better next…Time. Especially now that you are holding me accountable because you know my little secret.

Tomorrow I’ll try the tree for three. Minutes, that is.

(PS: if you’re not already following @ImpactActual at Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, either change that or be prepared to hate yourself forever. That’s where the details can be found about the amazing 49-week #ImpactProgram, starting tomorrow, of which this story is but a taste.)

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