Taking a 40 Hour Sabbatical is simple.
For as long as I can remember, I've loved trees. And I've always felt the most alive in their presence. So I decided to devote 40 hours to studying my forever friends.
In those 40 hours I learned more about the tallest trees in the world (surprise, they're all in Northern California), young trees and dead trees, and how trees of all species, and in all corners of the world, help purify the atmosphere and slow global warming.
My key takeaways from this week of learning about trees were:
- We could all use a little “slowing down:" It takes some trees hundreds - and in the case of the bristlecone pine, thousands - of years to grow. Trees remind us of the importance of not rushing our lives. Instead of constantly seeking instant gratification, we benefit our minds, bodies, and souls by slowing down, letting go, and being present in the moment.
- Inhale toxicity. Exhale life: Think global warming is a hoax? Chances are you just don't understand the science of it. Remember learning about the greenhouse effect in grade school? That's something trees are all too familiar with. Increasing amounts of CO2, a manmade toxin, are trapped in the earth's atmosphere every day, raising the temperature of the earth. Trees absorb CO2, and release it back into the atmosphere as oxygen, which we all know is essential for life. In this way, we should all strive to be more like the trees, taking in negativity and instead of releasing it in the form of anger, release positivity and understanding. If more people followed the trees' example, the world would be a much healthier place.
- Stress can make us stronger: Trees withstand an amazing amount of stress over the years: high winds, lightning strikes, hurricanes, termites, flooding...trees are no strangers to adversity. And in fact, the more a tree withstands external stressors, the stronger it's root system becomes. So don't let stress break you down, if you let it, it will make you stronger.
- It takes time to grow: No one's born perfect. No one starts a job knowing exactly what to do. No relationships are great right off the bat. Everything takes time. Especially growing. The more we understand and embrace this fact of life, the happier we'll be.
- Compassion benefits everyone: Perhaps the most remarkable power trees possess is one we don't see at all. When sickly, young, or severely damaged, trees can receive generous amounts of carbon from healthy neighboring trees, whether they are the same species or not. While trees may not be sentient beings, God created them to be compassionate - a trait everyone could use a little more of.
After my sabbatical, I brought back my findings to my team in the form of a presentation. And I urged my coworkers to take action. I challenged each one of them to think about their impact on the world's forests by considering their paper consumption.
You too can cut down on your paper consumption with these steps:
Switch to Seventh Generation toilet paper
Start using that reusable coffee mug
Use a paper recycling bin
Eat less meat
Spend time in the forest
Because after all, in the wise words of the Lorax, "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
I'm a first generation vegan, NorCal native, anime binger, list-maker and water enthusiast.
"Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful; yourself."Alan Alda