by AUDREY CARLI
My young adult son, Jon, stopped the car in the driveway of the summer home and we gasped at the sight. A tall white birch leaned against the log structure, its leaf-heavy limbs resting on the roof. “I hope there’s no hole on the roof, Mom. I’ll get the ladder and chain saw. I won’t know the roof condition until I saw off the branches so the trunk can drop to the ground.”
Fortunately, the roof had not been damaged.
An hour later the branches were off the roof and the tree crashed to the ground. There, Jon cut off the lower branches, working toward the stump. He told me to stand back. “Sometimes cutting branches lightens the tree and it’ll spring back into place, Mom.”
Minutes later, the trunk sprang upright and the stump roots blended back into the ground. And the ten-foot tall trunk segment stood erect—as if it had never fallen!
“It shows how heavy the tree top was when the storm hit, Mom! The burdened top pulled it from the marshy soil.”
The burdened tree brought to mind how many of us are affected by life’s storms. Discouragement, stress, illness, grief, money shortages and other problems weigh us down and threaten emotional depression. By shedding problems, the average person is able to feel “lighter.” We can again feel burden-free as the tree trunk.
Burden easing lifestyles
To ease stress, my friend June cleans closets or drawers, mops the floors, or does another task. “If stress, worry, anger or other frustrations hit, I work off the adrenaline pulsing through my body. I’m more relaxed when I’m finished and I’ve accomplished much.”
After his day filled with mathematical formulas at work, my friend Ben destresses with a change of pace at home in the evenings. He enjoys the lawn mowing, shrub trimming or car washing tasks.
By shedding problems, the average person is able to feel “lighter.”
His wife, Marie, eases his job stress by preparing his favorite foods that contain healthful ingredients as well. Together they spend a few evenings a week listening to their favorite soothing music or silently reading together.
Their children are urged to decompress after their busy school day and evening schoolwork with quiet reading with their parents. The peaceful interludes ease the stress of each person’s daily tasks and the family celebrates their relaxed evenings with a pizza or ice cream treat.
Another friend, Helen, takes walks when she suffers from inner turmoil. “I hike around the neighborhood, the park or the mall. Each step eases whatever my worry might be at that time. I feel better after the brisk walks.”
Another man, Lawrence writes himself a letter that describes his emotional burden, and then he rips it up. He feels as though he’s ‘ripped up’ the problem. “I had written my problem to a friend or relative—although that person will never get to read the torn pieces of the letter. But I have vented my problem—and then gotten rid of it.”
I know a woman, Shirley, who talks in person or by phone with a trusted friend, family member or counselor. “Talking out my problem is like getting rid of heavy weights with each word. Soon the stress eases and my burden lightens,” she says.
Alicia, my writer friend, says she releases inner turmoil by spending time with quiet thoughts at dawn. She will sit by her window that overlooks a lovely green lawn shimmering with dew. “The world is silent and I enjoy inner peace as I start my day.”
Like the tree trunk that sprang back into place, it appears people, too, are able to feel “lighter” from released burdens.
AUDREY CARLI is a freelance writer from Michigan.