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
Welcome to Part 2 of the Sharing Tree Inspiration!
If you have not read Part 1 or would like to refresh your memory, click here.
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?
In Part 1, I explored 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 first catabolic (destructive) Core Energy levels, level 1 and level 2.
For Part 2, I will explore the same questions from the perspective of the Giving Tree as she responds to the boy's request for money in the different mindsets of the first two anabolic (constructive) Core Energy levels - level 3 and level 4.
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 III Mindset
Let's look at the tree's response from a level 3 mindset .
I was angry with you for abandoning me, but I forgive you. I understand that you need to make your way in the world. I could give you my apples to sell, but I need them to reproduce. I'll make a deal with you. When my apple seeds produce enough trees to meet my needs, l'll give you the left over apples.
I introduced core energy level 3 in my Journey from Judging to Embracing Part 1 blog.
The core thought at level 3 is responsibility, which might show up like this:
I realize my frustration and anger are coming from my perspective. If I look at the situation differently, I will feel better.
The core emotion is forgiveness, which might show up like this:
People aren't intentionally wasting my time by bringing me their problems. They just aren't capable of solving the problems on there own. I forgive them for being incompetent.
The result of level 3 core thought and core emotion is cooperation, which might show up like this:
I don't particularly like the people I work with, but I make my best effort to get along so we can do the job right.
Do you see level 3 core characteristics in the tree's response? If so, where?
How does level 3 energy show up for you?
What does loving mean to a person in the level 3 energy mindset?
Loving myself, meeting my needs, comes first.
I want other people to feel loved too, but not at my expense.
What does a person in the level 3 energy mindset believe about giving and receiving?
I see value in both giving and receiving, but receiving enough to meet my needs is more important to me than giving to meet others' needs.
What does a person in the level 3 energy mindset think about the idea that a person can make someone else happy?
Only I can make myself feel happy or any other emotion because I know my feelings change depending on my interpretation.
I can't make anyone happy because their feelings change depending on their interpretation.
Level IV Mindset
Let's look at the tree's response from a level 4 mindset.
My apples are your apples. Take all you want.
The core thought at level 3 is concern, which might show up like this:
You seem sad. What's wrong?
The core emotion is compassion, which might show up like this:
It makes perfect sense that you're sad!.Your going through a very painful! experience!
The result of level 4 core thought and core emotion is service, which might show up like this:
How can I help you feel better?
Do you see level 4 core characteristics in the tree's response? If so, where?
How does level 4 energy show up for you?
How does a person in the level 4 energy mindset see love?
Love means giving without receiving without regard to the cost to me.
I want to be loved but that is not as important to me as loving others.
What does a person in the level 4 energy mindset believe about giving and receiving?
Giving is better than receiving.
I like to receive, but giving is more important to me.
What does a person in the level 4 energy mindset think about the idea that a person can make someone else happy?
A person can only make themselves happy. No one can do it for them.
I make myself happy by helping people. I feel happy when people appreciate what I do for them, but I don't take it personally if they don't.
I mentioned at the beginning that Core Energy levels 3 and 4 are the first anabolic energy levels. Now I'm asking you to look a little deeper.
What aspect of the level 3 mindset is anabolic?
What comes to mind for me is the freedom that comes when I realize that I am in control of my feelings instead of other people or my circumstance.
I'll give you an example from my life.
When I was working in my corporate job, I was miserable because I was burned out on the work and burned out on the corporate experience. I hated going to work. I felt powerless and angry. I felt trapped because I believed I could not be happy without the substantial reliable income the job provided, and I felt angry about being trapped.
When I decided to quit my job and pursue my dream of becoming a life coach, my perspective and my feelings about going to work changed completely. There was light at the end of the tunnel - a light I created for myself. My stress about going to work and doing the job reduced immediately and decreased steadily as I approached my last day on the job.
So what happened? Why did my feelings change? The job wasn't different. My financial situation wasn't different.
My feelings changed because my perspective changed, and my perspective changed because I changed my interpretation of my circumstance.
I realized that I felt trapped because I wasn't open to other possibilities of employment or other possibilities of career and income.
I shifted from the Core Energy level 1 mindset of "I am a powerless victim of circumstance." to the level 3 mindset of "I can change my feelings by choosing a different perspective. I can make myself happy."
Working with my life coach helped me make this energy shift.
This is what coaches do - empower you to shift from catabolic energy mindsets to anabolic energy mindsets.
After you shift to level 3, the sky is the limit for accomplishment and transformation as you shift into higher anabolic energy levels.
I leave these questions for you as food for thought:
What aspect of the level 4 mindset is anabolic?
What is an example of the level 4 energy mindset in your life?
Not there yet? That's OK. Think of a benefit of shifting from your current mindset to a higher energy level.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts!
Want to read Part Three? 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.