The Travelers and the Plane-Tree (Aesop's Fables)
|Illustration by Arthur Rackham|
TWO TRAVELERS, worn out by the heat of the summer's sun, laid themselves down at noon under the wide-spreading branches of a Plane-Tree.
As they rested under its shade, one of the Travelers said to the other, "What a singularly useless tree is the Plane! It bears no fruit, and is not of the least service to man."
The Plane-Tree, interrupting him, said, "You ungrateful fellows! Do you, while receiving benefits from me and resting under my shade,dare to describe me as useless, and unprofitable?'
Moral: Some men don't see the value of their very best blessings.
The behavior of the complaining traveler seems to be a prevalent thought-form lately. I've been witnessing it in several people with whom I've been in contact in recent weeks, both professionally and personally.
I have to wonder if sometimes folks don't add to their own challenges by how they view their situations. Quite a few of my clients keep asking me "How can I get out of my situation? I need specifics. I want to know EXACTLY what do to because I've tried EVERYTHING."
In my readings, I find that Tarot is responding with, "Change your outlook and things will change." Unfortunately, that's not what people want to hear.
Oprah Winfrey once said, "If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more. If you look at what you don't have in life, you'll never have enough."
One of the best exercises I know to get out of that mindset is to speak 3 things for which you are grateful each day for 21 days. It's not a new concept. Lots of people utilize this. The most successful and happy people in the world are the ones who have an "attitude of gratitude". And, it's difficult when you're in the midst of major challenges to see your blessings.
It's easier to slip into depression and ask questions like "Why me?" or "How am I supposed to be grateful for THIS?"
I get it. I really do. Been there, done that; got the t-shirt for participation and wore it proudly for a long time. But, the thing is, when I started to embrace the process and the situation I was in, and to be thankful for the things that I took for granted, things started to change- and rapidly. It may get to the point where you have to say, "I'm thankful that, for today, I have a roof over my head. I have food I can eat to sustain me. I have clothing on my back." That roof may not be ideal, the food may be peanut butter sandwiches, and the clothing may have holes in it. But, some people in the world don't have some, or even all of those things today.
There are always things for which you can be grateful. Life is a gift. It isn't fair, and it isn't always pleasant. It isn't always awful, either. Our lives tend to move cyclically, like the turning of the wheel or changing of the seasons. Many times, we're put into similar situations to give us a second chance at learning what we didn't get the first time around (or the third, or fourth). When we learn to embrace and be grateful for this moment and all of the blessings it brings, we find ourselves enjoying the journey, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Why not give it a try? For the next 21 days, write down 3 things for which you are grateful (no repeats!) and speak them out loud. Make them part of your morning or evening routine. It'll take you less than 2 minutes. Is it worth 2 minutes of your day for 3 weeks to possibly radically change your life for the better? If so, let me know your results.