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Be a Palm Tree: A Metaphor for Surviving Unexpected Wind Storms

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

With uncertain times come uncertain behaviors. Here's a quarantine Instagram-post-turned-blog-piece for the sake of posterity, shareability, and adaptability.

Wtf am I doing posing here with a 6-foot-tall palm frond in front of the garage? Well thank you for asking. I picked up this bad boy from the windy streets of Beverly Hills just moments in between its mighty fall from a mighty tree and it fulfilling an ill-fated destiny as roadkill. I took it home because I thought about making art with some of its leaves before composting the rest. Today it became a living metaphor in my living room. I was on the phone with my mother talking about quarantine and change and how the people who seem to suffer most here are the ones who are gritting their teeth wishing, hoping, praying, and even protesting for normalcy. I believe the ones among us who choose to surrender are the ones who will walk away from this isolation phase with some semblance of peace; having felt into the grief, the confusion, the fear, the loneliness, and allowing it to alchemize them rather than insisting there's nothing left worth learning. Surrender is a key word here. And so I offered my mother the only analogy I could grasp as I stared at this gigantic piece of foliage suddenly sharing real estate with me. "You've seen very tall palm trees, yes?" I asked her. "The ones that look 20 stories tall with a trunk about the width of a cereal bowl? Those palm trees get pummeled with wind. And one day when I was still new to California, I stared out my window at a tall, skinny palm tree getting tussled by the Santa Ana winds. I couldn't help but wait for it to snap. It looked too fragile, certainly, to withstand that kind of pressure and constant helpless movement. But palm trees don't snap. They remain tall and steady even when it seems impossible and do you know why?" I asked her. She didn't.

"Because they bend in the wind. They are not rigid, they are not stiff, they are not insistent on remaining still. They do not argue with the wind or call it a liar. They do not negotiate with the wind or say it's a hoax. They don't question the wind and demand to know its reasons. They do not close their eyes and wish away the wind. They simply move with it. They surrender. They remain flexible and, therefore, they remain standing. And when the wind calms and they've shed the few fronds that no longer fit, they're fresher and clearer than ever."

My point? Be a palm tree 🌴



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