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Not Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Learning to control yourself by letting go of control could very well prove to be the easiest way to solve an issue.

“And though it’s always been with me, I must tear down the walls and let it be…all I am, and all that I would ever want to be, in harmony.” ~ “The Wall”, Kansas

Several trees divide my property from my neighbor’s property. We are also divided by three fences. Three fences, because one was standing, a three and a half foot high cyclone, since the town’s placing of it, prior to our entrance to our current home. The second, a tall wooden picket fence, stands almost against the cyclone, and acts as a barrier between yards, since prior neighbors used to complain about having to view our dogs, which were always clean dogs, and which were always picked up after. The third was placed by new neighbors; the new neighbors opted to use plastic fasteners and attach portions of cyclone fence to our cyclone fence. In some areas, there are pieces of twine. Hence, three fences.

Three fences that came down with a crash, the day that our neighbor’s large arborvitae came crashing into our yard, during Hurricane Sandy. The only thing that saved it from crashing into the house was a porch swing and a dogwood tree that is growing out of our deck. Both were items that I begged my husband, for some reason, to save.

The porch swing took the brunt of the blow, a blow which was dealt out by the over ten foot tall cypress, or white cedar, as my nephew called it. I had begged my husband to please keep the swing, even though it had long been past the point of saving; no longer did it have a canopy, and the cushions were ripped. My feeble attempt at repairing both had not saved the swing, though the metal framing was in outstanding condition. The dogwood, which forks out at the base, was also a plea to “save nature”; I had begged my husband not to tear it down when he tore down the old deck. He complained about the red “seeds” that made such a mess in the yard, but I loved the shade that the tree gave, and I loved how the birds nested in it yearly, and so, the dogwood was saved. It took the rest of the swipe, which was quite a swipe at that, and remained unperturbed by the incident. I always said that things happen for a reason, and I believe I was meant to save those items for this very reason…

My neighbors have not been so kind. I have knocked on their door to advise them that their tree narrowly missed our roof by six inches. I explained that I had already taken pictures and had notified my insurance company. I was quite kind in my speech, and had even explained that if they had wanted, my husband and I would share the bill in having the balance of the trees removed, as they look woeful and neglected, not to mention dead. I had spoken with my insurance agent, who stated that since the tree fell on my property, even if it killed someone, that the onus would be on me to remove the offending plant, and that my neighbors, if neighborly, should offer to pay for some of the damage, since it was their tree. The only way, my adjuster explained, that I could have their insurance pay for the damage was if the tree were dead, and that they somehow neglected to remove it.

I knocked on my neighbor’s door, as previously mentioned, and I explained all of this to them. I even brought his wife into the yard with me, to allow her to survey the damage, to explain to her that it was nobody’s fault, and that we should work together. After all, another neighbor who was not even a part of this issue came over to assist in tree removal with the tree company, so I thought it was only fair that we should work together. My husband even knocked on their door, and the grandmother who lives in the home with the family feigned ignorance, stating that she did not speak English, and that she would tell the family, who has since been incognito or absent. My answer to that was that this is not a neighborly thing to do, especially since the neighbors are new to the neighborhood. This is a sure-fire way to make enemies fast, and I do not have many enemies.

Since the Nor’easter was forecast, my husband and I noted that the trees have bent severely since Sandy, and are in danger of contact with our yard, our pool, our house. Another neighbor, who has had issues with this same set of neighbors, advised us of the fact that, from his view, which is directly behind them, all of the trees aligning our properties are dead, and that the onus should be on the homeowner who owns the trees. He has graciously, and I mean graciously, offered to assist us in the tree removal, as the large, dead branches end up in his pool, in his yard, and he has two young children who run in the yard. I have one child, and two very goofy dogs, and my husband is always in the yard. Suffice it to say, there hath no fury like a woman whose family is injured by someone else’s outright negligence.

But I realized something, during this entire fiasco. I cannot control these people, any more than I can control the weather, which has been actually some sort of cruel joke. By my feeble attempts to control the situation, I make myself, as well as everybody around me, miserable.

A friend of mine helped me with this issue. He showed me a new side to this thought process, by helping me to see something quite bright, in the darkness of my soul. Can I control this situation? No. Am I willing to let go of controlling the situation? Well, let’s see, that’s a toughie…but sure, if it gets rid of my hypertension at the thought of those trees, sure. I’ll let go of it. When would I be willing to get rid of trying to control the situation? Well, I thought to myself, how about right now?

Let me tell you, the wave of relief that I felt when I released this situation to the Universe/God/Spirit/Oneness. I can’t control these people. As much as I would like to hand them the bill that I incurred for cutting down their dead tree that could have killed someone (have you ever felt a large branch from one of these babies? It’s like dead weight, for real.), I need to let it go, so that it can be whatever it needs to be. Whatever we resist persists. This is truth. Pay attention to your own situations in your life, and try this exercise:

* Would you let go of (whatever situation is disturbing you)?

If you answer yes, ask yourself:

*Could you let go of (whatever situation is disturbing you)?

If you answer yes, ask yourself:

*When (can you let go of the situation)?

This is called The Sedona Method, and has been taught by Hale Dwoskin for many years. If you are  unable to say yes to the situation, and you cannot let go of it, be honest with yourself. Don’t lie to yourself; that would defeat the purpose of the exercise. Ask yourself WHY you are unwilling to let go of the control. When you are able to finally let go of the situation, imagine the weight that will be taken off of your shoulders. I cannot even begin to tell you…it’s amazing, how silly it is to think we can control everything.

Even something as simple as a thuja, or arborvitae, falling on my deck. I can’t control my neighbors. I can’t control the trees. But I can control myself, and how I act. And in the future, by remembering this simple exercise, I can definitely control my temper.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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