How We Can Learn from Trees

Nature is nothing to fear and everything to learn.

So, I got rid of my fear of heights (more importantly falling), but somewhere along the line, my fear of trees falling has escalated. So much so, that on windy days (and especially nights), I would be an anxious wreck. I would fear that the trees near my house would fall on top of me.

While I was able to rid myself of my fear of heights by doing the CN Tower Edgewalk (walking around the outside of a 1,400 tower platform hooked on by nothing more than a couple of fancy ropes), I had no way to rid myself of my fear of falling trees. Do I chop down a tree myself? Watch it fall down?

I really dislike having irrational fears. While my motto in life is that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% my reaction to it, irrational fear eliminates my control over that 90%. Yes, I know they are called phobias, but really they are what they are: irrational and unfounded fear.

I had to figure out a way to get over my fear without doing something drastic, and on one particularly windy day, I found it. As I was sitting on a living room chair playing a video game on my phone, I briefly peered outside of my window. Off in the distance, I noticed a relatively large tree sticking up from the backyard of a house across my street. It was in that brief moment that I found presence. I paid considerable attention to the wind interacting with the trees.

It didn’t take me long to find a soothing comfort fall over me as I watched the trees sway ever so generously at the mercy of the wind. Each branch moved in unison, and the trunk of the tree never budged. As if some kind of healer came to my brain at that moment, I wasn’t so afraid of the trees falling. I was amazed at just how resilient they are!

A couple of days later I read up on the effects of wind on trees. I learned that everytime a tree faces the wind, it wood fibres get stretched a little bit, and after the wind subsides, those wood fibres grow a little and become stronger. Much the same when we work out our muscles and get bigger, and we get stronger. Trees get stronger in the wind! I have grown a whole new appreciation for the trees in my life. They are fascinating living creatures.

There will always be fear in our lives, but like trees facing the wind, if we just sway along with it and bounce back, we will notice that we will do get stronger when we overcome it. Fear will never break you unless you allow it to. If you remain uptight and try to push it with all of your might, fear will always win. Remain calm in the face of fear, move with it, embrace it, but never back down.