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Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: Coping with Emotions

When I was 24 years old, I found myself backpacking in New Zealand. Even though I had a lot of experience hiking through the deciduous rain forests of northern California, this forest was different. All the trees were different species I had never seen before, and it was so green. I remember talking with my partner, and both feeling like we couldn’t see the forest through the trees. When I looked over the side of the trail, I just saw a wall of green. It was almost impossible to tell the difference between one tree and another -- it all just looks like one continuous green slab. My depth perception was completely thrown off. But after a few days, things started to change. I was getting to know the different trees of the forest. I was able to tell when I was in the presence of one type of tree or another, and I was able to see much deeper into the wood.

To me, this idea of recognizing the depth, and starting to see the details as they slowly revealed themselves to me, is something that so many of us face every day. Folks with heightened motions, those that are supersensitive, people facing issues with anxiety, or depression, or mania, are stuck walking next to that wall of green. It’s near impossible to decipher the difference between one tree or another. But as I’ve been taught so many times, by so many different teachers, emotions are like waves. Sometimes they’re small and they hardly even make a difference. But sometimes they’re huge and they knock you down. Sometimes you can see them coming from far away and there’s nothing you can do, and other times they hit you from behind and knock you straight on your face. But the thing about waves is that no matter how big or how small, they always pass. Sometimes when there’s a really big one coming and you can see it from far away, you have time to prepare and your dive right underneath as it passes right over your head-- and it’s almost exciting! But often times, this is not the case. It’s important that we honor our emotions without try to mute them or push them away because the more we suppress things the worse they will be once they are actually allowed to come to the surface.

However, we can train the body, and treat the body, and work with the body, to be able to handle these waves with grace and ease. Regular exercise, good diet, herbal medicines, getting enough sleep, not over working or getting too busy: these are all tools that we can easily access to help us see the beauty of the forest and not get lost in an overwhelming sea of green.

We are all human beings riding on this planet earth. And now seems like a particularly crazy time in history. With the amount of stimulation we get every day from the media, from the technology, and even from driving around too fast in our cars, it is no wonder that there is so much anxiety, depression, and over stimulated emotions raging through a systems. I invite you to take control and learn how to ride the waves. This is not always an easy task, as it takes persistence and a lot of self-compassion, but it is possible. I’m not going to give specific details in this post, though perhaps in the future I’ll start to give some tips and tools for coping with anxiety. But for today, I invite you to make an appointment. Let’s see if we can work together to help find tools to help you learn how to see the forest through the trees.

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