I was crying and as the tears gathered down my cheeks they felt warm. I was sitting under my favourite tree which I liked to call my Wisdom Tree. Wisdom is the most beautiful tree I have ever seen that seems to expand into the endless sky where it tells me a story of growth and strength. I would sit on the cold but inviting ground and I swear I could feel the roots from underneath me guiding me. It was my one place that I felt I was safe.
As I sat there crying, I was startled and I quickly looked up and uncovered my eyes from the palms of my hands. She was there looking over me. This beautiful and small elderly woman.
“What seems to be the matter dear?” she says.
I just glared at her as I hadn’t seen or noticed her before. I was filled with shame and vulnerability and had no idea what to say. The silence seemed like eternity.
She proceeded to say with such warmth, “I sit at base of this tree all the time. It is an inspiring tree, isn’t it? Like a Wisdom Tree.”
She slowly sat down next to me and immediately I felt like I knew her for years.
I took a breath. A long one…as I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I replied, “I am sorry I am crying.”
She looked with me with kindest smile and told me not to be sorry for feeling an emotion. Immediately I felt at ease.
There was silence. We just sat. The calmness helped me share something I didn’t think I would share with a stranger.
I turned to her snd said, “I feel so lost…I had all these high hopes and dreams and nothing seems to be working out for me. I feel like I am such a failure. I feel like I am not worthy.”
She put her hand on my hand and look into my eyes. I felt she was looking deep into my soul.
She said, “dear, you are not lost, you are exactly where you need to be. You are not a failure as the things which don’t work out are not meant to be. They can also be our greatest lessons. And you are worthy. So worthy in fact that I feel privileged to be sitting here with you to help you though what is troubling you.”
“You see I am quite a bit older than you. I remember sitting here like you many, many years ago under this exact tree and crying myself. This is why I call it the Wisdom Tree.”
I replied with tears still streaming down my face, “life is hard. I thought it would go one way and it is going another. I thought I would achieve this and that and it didn’t happen. I thought my path would take me to great success however all I encounter are road-blocks.”
She holds my hand tighter and says, “you think a lot don’t you?” she lets out a little laugh. “Life wasn’t meant to be easy. The best things in life are the ones which are tough, unexpected and also those that are just meant to be. Your life will take paths and ways that are not part of your plan, embrace them. You have achieved as you gave it a go and you will achieve more and you will fail more. Always have the courage to keep moving forward and keep learning. You are a success because you are making a difference as success is about significance and impact. Those things are the only ones that matter. The road blocks are just little lessons to give us more courage”
I reply – “really?”
She says, “yes really. Your life is only just beginning and if there was one thing I would tell my younger self and there are plenty believe me, is to kind to myself. Truly and lovingly kind and compassionate. When you are kinder to yourself – you are are kinder to others and to the paths and struggles you are taking and encountering in your life.”
My hands attend to my cheeks to wipe away the tears and I notice there are no more tears. I look at her and say thank you, thank you so much. She only smiles back. I feel for a moment she has tears swelling in her eyes as she then looks away.
Finally she says, “I want you to love yourself. I want you to talk yourself like you would a child you love. I want your thoughts to be of courage, kindness and love only.”
She asks me to help her back off the ground as it isn’t as easy these days for her she mentions.
I say to her, “do you have to go now as I would love to keep talking.”
She doesn’t looked surprised by the comment and says she will be back one day when I need her.
I think to myself how will she know when I need her so I decide to ask her.
She looks at me and takes my hand and says “maybe I am you but just 50 years into the future. Who knows….I will be back and I am always here when you need me.”
“I love you Sonia…”
She walks away slowly and I am stunned. How did she know my name.
It is then I know I will be okay. More than okay and to take life one day at a time and embrace all the fears, journeys, challenges, successes, love, joy, heartaches, road blocks and connections.
To life and lead a life of kindness and courage. We all need a Wisdom Tree.
By Sonia McDonald
Award Winning Author