I have a weeping birch tree with long flowing branches, delicate lacy leaves and paper thin bark outside my bedroom window.  The tree is at least 15 years old.  I have been watching for the past couple of years, as the seasons come and go and through all kinds of weather.  It wasn’t until last night that I realized how truthfully the seasons of my life are represented by the tree.

My Own Way

In my own personal development work I have a metaphor that I use to help me show up in a new way – a way more aligned with how I want to be.  My metaphor is a strong hardwood tree – a maple or an oak perhaps – that is slow growing and fast adapting, flexible and strong, deeply rooted and free to explore, giving and able to receive.  

Lying in bed last night, right before I drift off to sleep, I’m watching this tree outside my window being frantically tossed around as the wind picked up, an early warning of a storm brewing.  I couldn’t help but think of the parallels to my metaphor and that tree. 

Looking at the branches and limbs, the tree looked utterly frantic.  Being thrown around in every direction, quickly changing gusts thrusting the branches into one another and swirling them around to the point that I wondered if they would tangle up. 

I wonder how often I look like that tree in a wind storm?  Running around from task to meeting to appointment.  Pick-ups and drop offs.  Phone calls, texts and emails.  Looking like I might just get all tangled up or a branch ripped off if its stretched just a bit too far.  Never a moment of rest, constantly in motion.  Hurried. 

When I woke this morning the tree was as calm as could be.  No tangled branches.  No broken limbs.  Barely a lost leaf.  There was the birch standing tall and calm, basking in the early morning sunlight shining down on our street. 

There have been moments I feel deep into my being, my soul, I know I have felt just as peaceful as that tree looked this morning.  Clear in my purpose.  Calm, steady and basking in the gratitude for the gifts I have in my life. 

The Gifts of a Storm

Reflecting, I see that storm brought gifts for the tree. The wind shook away the dying leaves and debris that might have been caught up in the tree.  I associate this with a good exfoliation or vigorous scrub.  Perhaps it’s a a thorough spring cleaning, de-cluttering or organization project.

The rain pouring down, washed away the dirt and dust of the city life, pouring life into the soil, freeing nutrients for the tree.  The tree was able to bask in the sunshine this morning — a true gift from mother nature. 

And like the tree, I am reminded that peace is available to me too.  My peace is usually found in the very early mornings.  This is my calm after the storm of the day. I’m working with focused attention to understand and embrace the gifts, the lessons and the tests {or signs}

Learning to “BE”

For some it’s the evening rest with a book, TV or a conversation, for others it’s the minute they leave the office and for some it’s a long run at lunch.  For me, it’s my early mornings.  Up before the rest of the house, no one else to take care of or asking things of me.  I embrace the rituals of walking the dog, a quiet cup of hot coffee and a good book, a guided meditation and my journal.  My movement is now based on what my body tells me it needs, as I’m able to hear the whisperings of my muscles and bones. 

I’m from the prairies, so we often have dry hot summer days with thunder storms that roll in around dinner time.  They usually pass by late evening and the skies clear revelling the last of the prairie sunset.  During winter we have days so cold you can’t be outside for longer than a few minutes, yet the sun shines so brightly you might think it was the middle of July.   Some years, we have had snow every month – yes, every month of the year, all 12 of them.  And my point is this, 

There is weather and there are seasons. 

To“BE” you must know the difference. 


A Season or the Weather


Is what your experiencing a sunny day in the middle of December? Or a cold hail storm in July?

Are you in a season of growth and experiencing a freak 1 in 10-year snow storm?  Or do you need a rest.  Time to go inward and regenerate? Have you been woken from a deep winter’s sleep by the bright sunlight and the promise of spring?

There is a difference between a snow storm in July that hangs around for a day or two and one in January that adds inches to an already thick blanket covering the landscaping.  And there is a difference between a hot arid stretch in August and a sunny day in February.   We will experience bad weather in the seasons of growth in our own lives.  And we can experience bright vibrant days during the hibernation.  The crucial element is in being aware of and understanding the difference. 

My birch tree serves now as my guide.  A place I check in and reflect.  For my birch does not drop its leaves in July when the weather turns cold, nor does she bud out in February under the warm sun.  Rather, she listens to the seasons, to the quieter dance of daylight and bends with the wind, soaks up the rain and continues to remain rooted and exploring at the same time. She trusts herself to know the difference between the seasons and the weather. 

“Life is not about waiting for storms to pass;

it is about learning to dance in the rain.”

I write these articles to support leaders in becoming more effective by embracing all parts of themselves and increasing their capacity to practice empathy.

Thank you for being here.  



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