The Tree

I am in a love affair. Outside my window is the most beautiful tree in the world. You might not believe me, so let me offer photographic evidence collected over time.

I like to think of my office as the Tree House- I think you can see why. The point is, this is serious love. 
Ode to Tree or something like that.

Trees have played an important role at different points in my life. So... let me just play it fast and loose and say: I love trees. 

Fast forward: I have been licensed a few years but I am brand new at supervising counseling interns. I am very young (as opposed to now, when I am full of wisdom). Younger than most of the people I am supervising. Suddenly, my mentor and dear friend is seriously injured. And, of course, I do everything I can to help in his recovery. In part, this means I am "him" for a month- filling in his very big shoes.

Here's the problem though. I am so not him. He's the kind of mentor everyone wants. In my book, he's kind of a big deal. He's the sort of person who makes you feel safe, and seen, and valuable and competent all at the same time. The sort of person that you want to be around. The sort of person you feel lucky to be around. Combine that with decades of experience as a therapist. He is a valuable well of knowledge and experience in a package of infectious warmth. And guess what? I'm not him.

I'm sooooo not him.

Not even close.

So... it is the holidays. I am a mom and business owner. I am worried about my dear friend and mentor. And I am trying to be him. Sort of. In that, I am trying to be him and failing miserably at it. Because, well, none of us do that very well.

And everywhere I go in his place, there is a new group of people that is so very worried about this man they love. They are desperate for updates and for reassurance. Reassurance I cannot honestly give them in the early weeks. And they are so painfully aware I am not him. 

And I just keep thinking, really Lord?

And I let myself get caught up. Caught up in the worry. Caught up in my feelings of inadequacy. Becoming very internally aware of all the ways I fall short. The experience I am missing. The wisdom. The sort of benevolent-comfort vibe that I wish I had.

I don't do zen very naturally.

I know, hide your shock.

And I enter this store at the exact right moment. And my eyes fall on this necklace. 

And in that moment all the trees I have loved flood into my mind. I stare at this necklace and I realize what I need to do. I make myself a promise: I will stop being a poor version of someone else. Instead, I will be the best version of me.

And honestly, I don't even know what that looks like in that moment. I don't have some great insight here. It's completely unclear and I don't know how I'm going to get there. But I know in my gut, this is a promise I must find a way to keep.

And I guess I'm sharing this for two reasons. One, because I am obsessed with my tree in the way a proud pet owner must talk about their pet (and share pictures). And so I will take any opportunity to talk about it. Two, because I wonder if you might be experiencing this too? Is there somewhere in your life that you are trying your very best- to be a poor version of someone else? What might happen if you let that go? You're not succeeding at it anyway. You can't be. What if you made a brazen promise to yourself- to be your best self... and no one else?


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