The Giving Tree I thought was good
Now I see unhealthy wood
It gave of self in rarest form
yet reaped no love in return
It gave and gave 'till none was left
save a stump - its one last gift
So when comes the very last page
the boy is old and tired with age
And still the boy does not see
the value of the Giving Tree
Despite the tree's steadfast will
the boy is old and unhappy still
I wonder would things different be
if it had been a sharing tree
There's so much good stuff to talk about with this poem, I am breaking the inspiration into parts.
This poem is about the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. If you are not familiar with the book, I encourage you to take five minutes to read it online via this PDF. which has the full text and illustrations.
For my readers who do not want to read the whole story, I have written the summary below of the parts of the story relevant to this inspiration:
A little boy loves an apple tree, which he climbs and plays in every day, and the tree loves the boy. As the boy ages, he loses interest in climbing the tree and often leaves the tree alone for long periods of time. The tree misses the boy terribly.
One day the boy comes to the tree to ask for money, and the tree offer's the boy her apples to sell so he can get money and be happy. The boy takes the apples without thanking the tree and goes away for a long time. The tree is sad again.
This boy comes to the tree between long intervals throughout his life. Each time he requests the tree to give him something else, and tree does so at her own expense.
In addition to giving the boy her apples, the tree gives him her branches and then her trunk, until all that is left of her is a stump, which she also gives to him, hence the nameThe Giving Tree.
The Giving Tree is happy every time she sacrifices part of herself for the boy because she thinks the sacrifices make him happy, and that's all that matters to her.
At the end of the book, when the Giving Tree has given literally all of herself to make the boy happy, he is still not happy.
When I read this book as a young child, I came to three conclusions that shaped my life well into adulthood.
What does loving mean to you?
What do you believe about giving and receiving?
What do you think about the idea that a person can make someone else happy?
I want to explore these questions from the perspective of the Giving Tree as she responds to the boy's request for money in the different mindsets of the catabolic Core Energy levels - one and two.
I am touching lightly on the concepts of catabolic and anabolic energy here, defining them as destructive and constructive respectively. For an in depth discussion and examples of catabolic and anabolic energy, read my I've Seen The World From Both Sides Now blog.
If you are new to the concept of Core Energy, you may find yourself overwhelmed by all the information.
This is perfectly normal.
Don't give up! Just take your time reading the inspiration. Use the links I've included to explore earlier inspirations in which I introduce the concept of Core Energy in detail.
Stop when your brain feels full, and come back to it when you are rested.
Level One Mindset
I introduced the core energy concept, levels of energy, and the Energetic Self Perception Chart in the You Are What You Speak blog where we explored Core Energy level 1.
Let's look at the tree's response from a level 1 mindset.
I can't help you. I have nothing to offer. I am worthless.
The core thought at level 1 is victim, which might show up like this:
I am a powerless victim of circumstance.
The core emotion is apathy, which might show up like this:
I can't make the situation any better, so there's no point in trying.
The result of level 1 core thought and core emotion is lethargy, which might show up like this:
I just don't have the energy to do anything.
Where do you see level 1 characteristics in the tree's response?
How does level 1 energy show up for you?
What does loving mean to a person in the level 1 energy mindset?
I cannot experience love because I am not lovable.
My love is worthless because I have nothing of value to offer.
What does a person in the level 1 energy mindset believe about giving and receiving?
Receiving is everything. I cannot afford to give because my needs are too great.
What does a person in the level 1 energy mindset think about the idea that a person can make someone else happy?
I need someone else to make me happy. I can't make anyone happy.
Level Two Mindset
Let's look at the tree's response from a level 2 mindset.
You've got a lot of nerve asking me for help when you left me alone for so long without so much as a thank you for all I've done for you. I suppose you want to get money by selling my apples! Not a chance! Get a job, and don't even think of taking my apples! If you try, I will smack you with my branches!
I introduced core energy level 2 in my I've Seen The World From Both Sides Now blog.
The core thought at level 2 is conflict, which might show up like this:
I'm right and you're wrong.
The core emotion is anger, which might show up like this:
People waste my time bringing me their problems when they should fix it themselves.
People try to take advantage of me.
Nobody appreciates what I do.
The result of level 2 core thought and core emotion is defiance, which might show up like this:
I'm not going to do it, and you can't make me!
Where do you see level 2 core characteristics in the tree's response?
How does level 2 energy show up for you?
What does loving mean to a person in the level 2 energy mindset?
When someone tells me they love me I don't believe them. Saying "I love you" is just an manipulation - a way to get me to let my guard down so they can take advantage of me.
What does a person in the level 2 energy mindset believe about giving and receiving?
I deserve to receive more than I do because I do all the work.
I give to people who meet my expectations.
What does a person in the level 2 energy mindset think about the idea that a person can make someone else happy?
People make me happy when they meet my expectations and show appreciation for my effort.
I'm not interested in making other people happy.
I will leave you here for now to ponder what you've read today.
In Part 2, I will talk about the Sharing Tree from the perspective of the first two anabolic (constructive) Core Energy levels.
As always, I welcome your thoughts!
Want to read Part Two? Click here.
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Joyce Collins is a life coach who specializes in helping women who were sexually abused as a child to transform themselves into confident women who love themselves and lead fulfilling lives.