In my late twenties, I had a stretch of a few years that were super tough. Every day was a struggle to make it to the next. There seemed to be no way out and no end in sight.
Maybe you can relate. I don’t think many of us escape this human experience without at least one dark night of the soul.
When I was deep in my own darkness–by some stroke of grace–I began setting my gaze on the treetops.
It happened one crisp fall morning. I was driving into work along the George Washington parkway, when I glanced up at the trees and noticed the top branches and leaves swaying in the wind. In an instant, I understood that this was visible evidence of invisible forces working in my life. It was as if the trees whispered to me, “there is movement, things are happening.”
Ever since, I have relied on the treetops to remind me that the flow of life is always happening, no matter how still and stuck things might seem down here, on the ground, close to the earth.
The treetops remind me too that this may not be a time of action—that there is a process naturally occurring deep within that I can trust.
In a culture that favors decisiveness and action, it is so easy to lose our connection to the cycles and rhythms of nature. But fallow times—times of stillness and darkness—are integral to the cycle of birth and renewal. Jumping ahead prematurely may disturb the tender shoots beginning to emerge from the soil.
Sometimes the bravest thing to do is to do nothing at all.
Except to hold steady, and look for the wind in the trees.