Choose a Single Thing
– Dealing with Stress (Part 3/3)


There are trees all around you. They are closing in, their branches scratching your arms, reaching for your attention, blocking out the light. Sinking to your knees, you dig your fingers into the moss, search for clues among your memories.

How on earth did you get here?

Once upon a time you found a beautiful seed and pushed it into the soil and watched its tiny first leaves break the surface. Then you planted another one. Then another one. They grew quicker than you had expected. New plants popped up from seeds you couldn’t even remember planting and still you couldn’t bear weeding any of them out. Maybe next week they would slow down. Maybe next month you would be able to keep track of them all. But they kept growing and growing into trees that were too big to pull out of the earth.

And now you are here, trapped in a forest you can’t recognize even though every seed was once planted by you. You close your eyes. You could just stay here forever. You could just stay here and forget about the sky.

But you don’t.

Instead, you run your fingers over the ground until they find a root. You follow that root to a tree and rise to your feet and reach for a branch and find another branch for your foot and pull yourself higher. You start climbing, carefully, from branch to branch. If your feet slip, you just hold on to the branch and each time you pull yourself higher, more light shines through the foliage. Each time, you discover a new branch to reach for, a new branch you could never have seen from the ground.

At the top of the tree, you look out over the treetops. Suddenly, you can see that the forest you have built is quite magical, after all. All these trees you planted can grow at their own pace. You don’t have to look after them all. You will never be able to. And right now, this tree is the only thing you need to hold on to.

Soon, you will be ready to reach out for another tree. For now, just stay here and enjoy the view.

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