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The Trouble Tree

Melli O'Brien



Melli O'Brien



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The Trouble Tree

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

Today, we're going to explore a

story called The Trouble Tree.

So once upon a time, a young man

hired an elderly carpenter to

help him build his first home for

his wife and his growing family.

So on the very first day of

the job, the old carpenter

had a particularly rough day.

It seemed that everything that

could go wrong did go wrong.

On the way to work, he got a flat tire

which made him an hour late to work.

Then his electric saw broke down.

He had to use slower tools.

And after a series of misfortunes,

at the end of the day, his

truck refused to start.

As the young man drove the carpenter

home, carpenter sat in a gloomy silence.

When they arrived at the old

man's house, he invited the

young man in to meet his family.

And as they walked towards the front

door, the carpenter paused briefly at

a large tree, touched the trunk with

both hands with his eyes closed and

then walked to the front and opened it.

And at that moment, he seemed to

have a profound transformation.

He greeted his wife with a warm

smile and a hug and a kiss.

His children were there

and he embraced them.

He laughed and he joked.

He seemed fine.

The next day, the young man was

pondering that carpenter's quick

transformation in mood and asked him,

"What happened yesterday with that tree?

You were in a terrible mood and you

touched the tree and everything changed."

The old man explained, "Oh,

that's my trouble tree.

I know I can't help having problems

in life, having misfortunes,

having bad days and bad moods.

And sometimes it does all get me down.

But there's one thing that I've learned

in my life and that's that I don't have

to bring all these troubles home to my

family and then miss out on precious

time with my wife and my children.

So I just hand my troubles over to

the trouble tree every afternoon,

so that when I come home, I can be

present with the people I love."

He said then, "I try to pick them

up, the troubles the next morning

when I leave the house, but the funny

thing is whenever I come out in the

morning, some of them had disappeared

and the other ones never really so

big as they seem the day before."

So what's the moral of this story?

We have a lot more choice in carrying

around our troubles than we often realize.

We often keep our troubles alive by

continuing to ruminate on them over

and over and over again, unnecessarily.

When we give our worries and problems

so much access to our attention, it

really lowers our mood and helps us, or

holds us back, rather, from being truly

present, relaxed and enjoying our lives.

So what if like this carpenter, we set

up a time every day to set down our

troubles, just be present for a while.

It could be during our morning

walk or the commute home from work.

It could be during your

evening meal with your family.

If we find ourselves dwelling again on

our problems during that time, we can

give ourselves permission to drop it

again, just be present, knowing that if

we want to, we can pick it up afterwards.

But right now we give ourselves

some space to simply be.

So if this practice sounds like

it might have some value or some

resonance for you, my invitation is to

choose a time today to try this out.

If you find it valuable, then you can

repeat it again and see what effect

it has on the rest of your life.

As always, thank you for your

practice and your presence here.

Let's settle in for today's meditation.

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