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We had a wonderful Eucalyptus nicholii tree in our front garden. It was over 20 metres high (60 feet), spread its boughs nearly as wide, gave us shade from the afternoon sun and provided habitat for many native birds.

The tree was much older than our house and was a prized plant in our yard. We smiled each time we came home and saw the tree standing proudly, waving its branches in welcome. We grew used to its shade when we were working outside and it cooled our living room in late afternoons during summer.

However, we became worried over the last couple of years as, during strong winds, some branches broke off and fell into our garden. We started to wonder if the tree was not as strong as it seemed. But we were used to its presence and apparent stability. We did not want to lose this matriarch that had stood so proudly for so long. Its image and energy were part of our life, like a habit developed over many years.

Just two weeks ago, we felt that the time had come to fell this great tree despite our grief and regret. We engaged an arborist who said that, yes, he felt that the tree was unstable and needed to be felled.

As the tree was removed slowly from the top down, we began to doubt our decision as the branches and top of the trunk seemed sound and healthy. However, when we reached 2 metres from the ground, we saw cracks through the trunk. These had remained hidden, probably for many years, but were rendering the tree very unstable. We could well have lost the front half of our house in the next wind storm.

Many of us have habits that are hidden like the cracks in the tree. Perhaps we “cheat with food occasionally” without realising that it is a habit and we are “cheating” several times each week. Or we habitually put ourselves down, think negatively about our abilities, or accept negative words from others without opposition. Perhaps we neglect healing practices like meditation, laughter or self-love. Perhaps we just have a habit of accepting that we have a “disease” and absorb views that this “disease” is incurable and, therefore, we can never be well.

It is time to assess our “tree” – the pathway of our life that can lead to healing or advancing illness. We need to look deeply into the “trunk”, the way we live our life, the choices we make and our habits. Perhaps we need to speak with those who love us and ask them to be honest about what they see; do they observe cracks in our healing tree?

Recovering from a chronic, “incurable” illness takes total dedication to activities and choices that will enhance healing, and willingness to remove those parts of our life’s “trunk” that has hidden cracks.

We did not want to lose our wonderful Eucalypt but, now it is gone, our house and lives are safer we have the opportunity to rebuild our front garden and create something new and beautiful.

Removing hidden “cracks” from our lives gives us the opportunity to create new habits and choices that enhance our lives and our relationships.

Sometimes we have to cut down a tree to give life a chance.

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