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What a Tiny Tree Frog Taught Me About Coping With Adversity

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I was driving the other night and seemingly out of nowhere, a tree frog jumped on my windshield as I was going about 30 mph heading towards my home. I thought to myself, this poor frog was probably jumping to get across the street in search of something to eat or go for a swim, mate, hang with a froggy friend, or do whatever frogs do, and then maybe return home, only to be unexpectedly whisked away. I’m not really sure if frogs even have a home, but that’s what went through my mind.

Well, this frog was in for the ride of its life, ending up a mile away from where it began — probably a long way for a frog! I don’t know much about the behavior of frogs, but I’m quite certain it is not going to return to where it came from and that it will find a way to adapt to its new surroundings. I have plenty of trees that will make a wonderful home.

This made me think about ants and other small insects. If I see one walking and I put my foot down, it turns left or right or goes in the opposite direction to get away from my foot. It totally changes direction because it is forced to. It doesn’t resist or fight and try to eat through my shoes or anything like that. It might climb over, but usually, they just change their course, seemingly not bothered by all.

Just like the frog that now has to make a new home in new surroundings, almost every animal can get transplanted to a new place and adjust in a healthy way to new things. Not all of them, of course, but most creatures in nature are incredibly adaptive. The least among them are probably human beings. We are masters at resisting change!

There are certainly people in the world that can travel around at a moment’s notice (wherever the wind takes them, as the saying goes), take things as they come, and live gracefully with whatever the day presents, but most of us are so rigid in our routine and our schedule that we do not know how to go with the flow. This sets us up for potentially intense stress when adversity comes knocking, or even just a change in plans that throw our day off course. A few minutes late because of traffic, for example, can feel like the end of the world for some people. I know many of us struggle with such things.

Nature can teach us so much about letting go and allowing life to simply flow the way it’s going to flow no matter how much we try and steer the ship. If we can begin practicing how to do this more often, it can really put our mind and body at ease where we may actually begin to feel better and see things from a better perspective, and maybe even heal from some of the suffering and pain many of us live with.

Having lived with chronic pain from dystonia for 20 years, as well as anxiety and depression at different times in those 20 years, I have found immense relief when I can let go of my white knuckle grip on life. It can be a bit tricky at times because my health does require scheduling and routine, but too much of each can be to my detriment.

This is what my green, sticky, four-legged little jumping friend inspired me to write about, and once again, I am reminded how nature can be one of our greatest teachers in life if we learn to pay close attention.

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Getty image by Linas Toleikis.

Originally published: October 27, 2020
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