The Things We Shed

My exercise bike sits next to a window in my living room. On the mornings I ride, I look outside at the bird house and from time to time see sweet little blue birds coming in and out of the house. I love to watch them.

This morning, however, I noticed the peach tree. The peach tree sits behind the bird house and I noticed that after the barren winter, it’s beginning to rebloom. For whatever reason, I thought about a science lesson we did last year in our botany course.

This peach looks quite pitiful, stripped down and without it’s beautiful adornments. Why can’t trees just keep their leaves and blooms all year long? Because holding on to what adorns them would actually deplete the life that magnifies their beauty.

Deciduous trees shed their leaves to store the water and nutrients that has been collected through the spring and summer to survive the fall and winter. Because water becomes sparse in the winter and the days become shorter, a tree knows it cannot spend its energy tending to the leaves to keep them around. The leaves become a nuisance, no longer an enhancement.

And then I thought about stuff, of course. I believe that it’s vital to shed the things that become a nuisance to us. Maybe it’s even vital to our existence, or perhaps at least to our quality of life. The trees teach us that if we can’t let go of the past, then we can’t rebloom to glorify the future. We can only sustain ourselves living with the things that drag us down for a short time, otherwise we become weak and drained. We remain weighted down from the energy we spend trying to maintain the things we need to let go. I know I sound like Bob Ross and I’d be lying if I didn’t say he has influenced me greatly. I think he was on to something with those Happy Little Trees.

Happy Little Trees are vibrant and colorful, standing for all of the world to see their beauty in the moment, without regret for the things they left behind in order to grow. Don’t we all need to leave some things behind to grow?

Our clutter holds us back and when we don’t make a purposeful time to shed our leaves then we prevent ourselves from embracing the growth that is possible. Is it useful? Do I enjoy it? Do I have a plan for it? Three nos means it needs to go. As the spring is upon us, take some time to go beyond just spring cleaning. Declutter. Make intentional decisions and release the things that no longer add value to your way of life.

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