Close your eyes. Exhale slowly for the count of 6. Now inhale for 6. Establish a nice even pattern, feeling a slight pressure in your lower back against the chair.
Imagine that you are standing under a tree. It could be a tree in which you once built a tree fort that was the envy of the neighbourhood.
Or the one where you spent many care-free hours, swinging and laughing your way through those seamless summer days.
Perhaps it's the tall one in your front yard where you and your teen-aged love would steal a series of first kisses, hidden from the prying eyes of your parents?
It's the tree you sat under, shading you from that hot tropical sun, while your children romped and rolled in the surf and sand, constructing moments that will last a lifetime, washed by the sands of time.
It may be the one you slowly work your way around one crisp autumn day, rake in gnarled hands, each leaf representing a colourful memory of moments past - a life lived.
The tree of life. The tree that is not unlike us.
The roots hold the tree in place. Steadfast. They stabilize and provide nutrition to the rest of the tree to enable it to flourish and grow strong.
The trunk is like our spine. Sturdy. Strong. Flexible. It represents discipline and practice. Repetition.
Finally, there are the many branches - some thick and solid, others thin and wispy. Like our neural pathways. Some are solid, well-worn paths, others are nothing but a shadow or a hint of a new idea awaiting ignition. Our creative minds reach up and outwards, thirsting for more, craving to be awakened and expanded, stretching for the light of knowledge and of knowingness.
When we are stressed parts of our tree become damaged. When one part is affected, the tree compensates and carries on. Too much damage and the tree is felled.
How is your tree of life? What are you doing to keep it vital?