I don’t believe in cutting down trees because I believe in trees! Something mysteriously ancient in me resonates with trees — especially the grand old evergreens of my native Pacific Northwest. At the risk of sounding a little loopy… I have felt since childhood that I can sense the spirit of a tree. Each one is alive after all. I recently explained this to my grandson who looked at me in wonder when I told him how I saved the trees on our Florida property from the ravages of a hurricane.
“How did you do that, Gram?”
“When I heard the hurricane was coming, I hugged each tree and told it to stand strong.”
“Did it work?”
“It sure did! None of them fell, even though all the trees next door were blown down.”
(In truth, one of ours actually did uproot. My husband had disliked that Jerusalem Thorne at the end of the driveway for years. I think he actually notched the trunk before the first gale.)
So. Trees are good, and cutting one down is not to be taken lightly. Even so, one of the 200 ft. firs overlording our Washington woodland is no longer standing among his stand of brothers. We hired professional arborists to put him out of his dying misery last week, along with a few sickly cedars, a dead deciduous, and last but not least, a gigantic maple. That one killed me, because I knew we were killing it. The poor thing wasn’t nearing the end of its life like the others; it was in its prime, rotating through the seasons with aplomb. But Honey had gradually convinced me that the gigantic maple was mostly a nuisance, so down he came.
And I cried.
For about ten seconds.
The maple memorial was brief because it only took me that long to feel the sun on my face! And when I looked up, I saw sky! Sky! Blue, shimmering sky! It electrified all of us, including the dozens of remaining trees in the greenbelt: the feeling, the change, was gloriously instantaneous and celebratory.
I’ve experienced that same exhilaration and liberation many times in my life, but it’s never had to do with a tree before. It has, however, always had to do with removing something I overvalued that was blocking my view: my intellectual or spiritual view, that is. The process can be complicated, lengthy, and painful–like the hours it took to saw down that tree–but the moment of clarified, rarified vision usually happens all at once. And in a burst — in a proverbial “lightbulb moment” — the world turns upside down and you suddenly realize that you like it better that way!
Though dramatic, life-altering events (illness, accident, near-death, divorce, loss) can change a person’s perspective in a flash, why wait for the traumatic to inevitably force your hand? If a relationship or situation is causing you unhappiness or frustration, and you’ve tried everything you can think of to fix it without success, there IS at least one thing you CAN “fix” in a “heartbeat”; one hopeful avenue to increased love, peace, and happiness.
The solution might require emotional and intellectual prep work; it will probably mean seeking out education specific to your situation and opening your heart to the inspiration of others who have successfully passed through a similar predicament — but — if information, humility and desire are all genuine, things can click into place in one glorious minute, and the life that has been so complicated and consternated, can suddenly appear so much simpler, so clear, so ready to receive the new you-with-a-new-vision.
Here are some ideas for how to nurture, or prepare yourself for a change of perspective. Remember, how much time the prep work takes will vary according to how much of yourself you are able and willing to invest in the process, but the following, in any combination and in any order, will help bring on your “moment” of truth:
1. Take time for self-reflection, including pondering the past and journaling your insights.
2. Begin a personal study on the topic of your frustration.
3. Take a class on the topic you are wrestling with, optimally a live class that involves the stories and support of others (like the WifeSavers Course and Community).
4. Spend quality time with wise, mature people who have been through your situation (finding a mentor you trust is ideal). Professional counseling may also be a helpful, even necessary option.
5. Be alone in nature.
6. Listen to beautiful music.
7. Immerse yourself in a great book(s), as in literature and scripture.
8. Do something physical. A one-time hike/stroll, or a new regular exercise routine clears the mind and strengthens the spirit. Making genuine love with your spouse counts too.
9. Experience something completely new and foreign to you.
10. Find an outlet for your creativity; something that feeds your soul in a way that’s uniquely you.
11. Give to others: do something helpful for someone(s) in difficulty. Better yet, commit to continuous, dedicated service. Invest yourself in a worthy cause.
12. Say a long prayer. Say many prayers. Tap into your faith.
Finally, dare to hope, dare to dream. You will find the answers. I can promise that — not only because I have experienced transformation over and over myself in many areas of my life, but because I work with women everyday who are in the process of transformation. Contributing to their “prep” work — their education and inspiration — is a joy, but I’ll tell you what: there is NOTHING more thrilling than being present at the moment when the tree (that’s been keeping them in shadows for so long) crashes to the ground. Sun and the sky stream into the soul.
A mood doesn’t change your life. But an altered perspective changes everything.
What experiences have you had or seen in others that have taught you the possibility and the power in a change of perspective?
And to tune-up your related WifeSavers skills and principles, tune into these or other WifeSavers Podcast episodes:
To Transform Your Marriage, Focus on This
When Faith is an Issue in Your Marriage
5 LIES WE TELL BRIDES
AND THE 5 TRUTHS THAT SAVE WIVES
In this entertaining, eye-popping, easy-read Ramona reveals the five misconceptions that may have gotten your marriage started on less-than-perfect footing, as well as the five wife-saving truths that will turn things around in a thrilling way! FREE DOWNLOAD
Don’t waste one more day feeling unsure, frustrated, confused, or alone!
LEARN MORE ABOUT
Thanks for the wonderful insights Ramona. Sometimes it is hard for us to see beyond the boulder, where something better awaits.
Kacey, too true. I love the boulder comparison. I think too, we’re often afraid of what’s on the other side.
I read your wife for life book a few years ago because I was feeling such a disconnect with my husband. I didn’t know how to implement all the things you talked about and I just felt hopeless. Fast forward 8 months ago I found out my husband has been cheating on me for the past 13 years of our 18 year marriage—hence the feeling of disconnect all these years. So here I am with 6 kids and I’m in the beginning of divorce but I don’t want to be divorced and I don’t want to be married to this man. What do I do?!? I’ve tried to be the best wife all these years! But I don’t know if I helped him find his quest etc. I may have actually crushed his different quests over the years. I put him in a box and tried to make him who I wanted him to be. Now he is trying to be his authentic self and I don’t think that will work for me. I don’t know if I can love him for who he is. I think at his core he is so different from my core values that it can’t work. Too much hurt and betrayal. Is there any way forward besides divorce?
Your situation sounds very complex, worthy of far more than a blog comment. Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk more personally there.
beautifully written and captured as always! love every word! xoxoxo
Thank you Renee’!
This really spoke to me, because my perspective has been the biggest change since starting Wife For Life University, and that has made everything change. I think I was really turning my husband into what I thought he was, and the moment I started looking at him, his intentions, and our relationship in a different way, it actually started becoming that way! (…if that makes any sense.) I loved this!! Thank you, Ramona!
It’s been such fun to watch in you Joan!!!
Our perspective points the way! And for the first time, I feel hope from your words, your guidance, and your vocal reflections as you teach us about perspective. Wife for Life is helping me actually move from concept to actual substance; something that I can actually grab hold of and embrace. Perspectives that will and are changing my life. Thank you Ramona!
That makes me SO happy Kellydawn!!!!
I’m in need of that timber….on a journey to rediscover or maybe discover for the first time what it means to make love….
Cathy, that’s a tough journey but the one most worth taking in this life. I hope you will let me help you! Please feel free to write to me personally. email@example.com
A huge change in perspective for me was watching one of your interviews, I think it was with Desi from the Mom Conference. That was the first time I heard of you ever but was absolutely blown by all the info you gave. For many years I had blamed (both to him directly and in my head) my husband for our downfalls and thought that oh it couldn’t be me messing things up! After briefly hearing about the different crazy ladies you mention in your Wife For Life training, I realized I AM THE CRAZY LADY!! I AM SO MANY CRAZY LADIES!!! It is not ONLY my husband, and to be honest, it is MOSTLY ME! I was the one causing so much hardship, mainly by my reactions and perspectives on him and his actions. I was coming across a certain way even if I wasn’t intentionally doing so, etc. It just kind of hit me in the face pretty hard that I had some work to do too! I proceeded by ordering your book and am working on reading it now. I appreciate your content so much. It is eye opening but in a gentle way, it does not make me feel shameful about my past actions, it makes me feel empowered that I have the tools to change and not repeat them!
Wow! You never cease to amaze me, Ramona!! I love this analogy. I have such a love for trees! I need to read this again. Thank you for taking the time to teach us!
So so good to hear from you Jen! Miss you boatloads in class. xox And we share a love of trees????
I miss being in class! But I get to listen to your voice (Wife for Life Audio) whenever I want and it is wonderful!! Today I’m looking for one chapter in particular to remind me how to get through this challenge.
Thank you for the reminders of how important self care is to the survival of our hearts and marriages!!
You’re so welcome Cindy!
Love this so much!
One of my changes of perspective has just recently happened as we have moved to a new area!
Thank you for such wonderful words and for being an amazing advocate for marriage!
Moving can be a jolting “perspective changer” Monica! GOOD LUCK and well wishes with that! 🙂 Thank you for the support.
This is such a great analogy. Thank you for writing.
I can’t thank you enough for your insights, your encouragement, and your attitude. Just reading your posts lifts my mood because I can hear your voice and picture your smiling face. I have spent the past several years in a funk that I am finally finding my way out of. Thanks to you and your support, I know that my marriage is on the way to something spectacular. Thanks again!
Oh LeeAnn! That means the world to me. I’m so happy you are feeling more hopeful and positive about the future!!!
Thanks for your insights on perspective. Our attitude can make such a difference! It helps so much to “see the light”.
Light (understanding) is just that, isn’t it Cher? Illuminating… AND it lightens the load of anxiety most of us carry 24/7.
I think I am finally, perhaps finally, embracing the process and time it takes to clear one’s vision and to do the sometimes mundane monotonous baby steps required. Because, really, when i understand that my small actions lead to imperceptible shifts that create huge results then those baby steps become a joy and adventure of their own . You write such simple words with such profound, deep meanings. Thank you!
Oh Kelly! So true so true. Baby steps lead to that break-through moment! Thank you for your gratitude – touches me. Joy in the journey!
My husband and I could both use a change of perspective right now. We’re so focused on the daily stressors…
Too easy to get caught up in the demands of the everyday and either forget, or never identify in the first place, WHY we’re even in the thick of it, Michelle. One perspective change that would make all the difference is to consider, investigate, reflect (whatever it takes) WHY you are even married. If you haven’t already, read Wife for Life. That very question is addressed and it could be the lightbulb moment you’re needing right now. 🙂
The tree story is speaking to me right now because ours out back is splitting in two, so we will have to learn more about what to do. It provides great shade and luckily there are currently great views of the sky.
For me, I will ponder about certain subjects for a while without understanding, and then POW! I get the answer. It is great for mind to then be able to rest and be at peace.
While reading this I thought, hey, I can turn on inspirational music now! So I did. Thanks for the idea. 🙂
Music is my FAVORITE perspective-changer, Julie! My husband knows it, and often turns on music (without my even asking) when he sees that I need to break out of a certain train of thought or mood!
I am single, white, and looking for something this afternoon. Basiy here we are trying to recreate the feel of some porn loops that were popular in the mid-late 60s and early 70s.
There is more to be done – and not just for people needing to care for new families. While other firms are not going that far, Standard Life Aberdeen’s plan is seen as one of the most generous.