Finding your Apple Tree
Life Purpose in Times of Crisis
Spiritual Living with Colleen-Joy
In 1995 my youngest daughter Megan was born with a life-threatening condition – her first surgery was at 14 hours old. Her doctors kept her paralysed for three days because the pain alone would have killed her.
Megan endured more than a dozen surgeries before the age of two. Our family business was also collapsing, debt collectors threatened our lives, our home was about to be repossessed and family friends brought us groceries. I cried myself to sleep often.
I coached myself for inner guidance and strength nearly daily to cope. One day I asked the question many of us ask when we’re on our knees in pain. “What must I do?”
The inspired intuitive answer that came was: “You’re asking the wrong question. Instead of asking what to do, rather ask, who am I?”
Not understanding how this was supposed to help me to keep our home or care for our gravely sick baby daughter and her sister, the inner guidance continued.
“If you were an Apple Tree and you didn’t know that you were an Apple Tree, how would you know what to do?”
We don’t always know the moments that change our lives, but this changed everything. I shifted from a ‘Doing Quest’, always focused on what I needed to do, to a ‘Being Quest’, focused on freeing my true being.
Through intuitive self-coaching and meditation, I slowly found and freed my Apple Tree True Self. I learned that:
- INTUITION is the language of our Apple Tree. It speaks to us from within if we know how to listen.
- WHOLENESS is our true state of being. By claiming our wholeness, we heal our inner obstacles.
- PURPOSE is not something we are here to do, but who we already are. We need only find and free our true self.
Within months my crippling shyness became peaceful confidence, I became a stronger mom for my daughters and, following inner guidance, built an abundant international coaching business.
It’s two decades later – my children are beautiful adults and I owe my life of blessings to finding and freeing my Apple Tree. I still coach myself daily for intuitive guidance and have taught tens of thousands to do the same.
The Apple Tree teachings are a gift of love. May you find and free your Apple Tree to be all you were born to be.
Here is an APPLE TREE FABLE on Finding Life Purpose in times of crisis.
There was once a young tree born into the orchard of life. As the little tree stretched his limbs, he was so excited to be alive. He looked up and saw that all around him were many big trees.
As soon as he was old enough, he cried out to the orchard with great happiness.
“Please tell me. What is my life purpose? What is it that I’m supposed to do?”
The older trees looked down tenderly. “Well, to fulfil your purpose, you must make bark that looks like this… and leaves that look like this. And if you do this well, one day, you will stand proud with oranges that look just like this.”
The little tree was thrilled. He finally knew what his life was for.
So as the days turned to weeks, he tried his best to make bark like that and leaves like those. But no matter how hard he tried, he failed. The orange trees never voiced their disappointment, but he sensed it – and it stung.
The little tree grew slowly. One day he was tall enough to see further. At the edge of the orchard stood trees that looked very different, so he called out to them. “You over there! I see you are also different. Perhaps you can tell me, what is my life purpose? Please tell me, what must I do?”
These trees were not very friendly. “Your purpose is to grow thorns like these,” they said. “If you do not grow thorns, you will surely die. This world is full of creatures that will destroy you. Your purpose is to protect yourself.”
They would say no more. So, the young tree sat and thought about this for a long time. ‘Maybe I’ve grown too relaxed. This is a dangerous world – I see now.’
He tried his best to create thorns, but he failed again. And so he grew thorns of an even more dangerous kind – he grew thorns of spiked words and sharp unkindness. He chased away the birds, and the insects that were once were his friends.
The orchard was full of life, but he felt dead inside and alone. The days dissolved into weeks and the seasons changed.
One night in the dark aloneness, he woke to hear the thunderous cries of a death-light.
A fire had come.
It ate everything in its path, leaving only black ash in its wake. Everything that could run did, but the trees, even the thorn trees, were defenceless against this red predator. The fire approached with speed. Just when he thought it would take him, the winds turned and the fire retreated. Alone in the frightening dark, he waited for the sun.
In the morning, the little tree saw a shocking new orchard. Instead of trees, there were piles of ash – lines of smoke rose from the earth, hissing and spitting. The little tree was the only one to survive.
He cried out to the sky and the burnt orchard, “WHHHYYY?” The reply – an eerie silence.
The days dissolved into weeks and he felt himself retreating inside himself. He soon began to do something new with no one to speak to – he talked to himself. Soon, he realised that a peaceful inner voice would emerge if he kept quiet. This voice sounded just like his but was somehow wiser.
As the days blossomed into weeks, he nurtured this new relationship within himself. One day it occurred to him. ‘Why don’t I just ask the voice inside of me, the same question I once asked the orange and the thorn trees?’
And so he asked, “Please tell me, for you seem wiser than I. What is my life purpose? What is it that I am supposed to do?”
His heart felt pain because the question was very deep. He waited.
The quiet voice inside of him whispered: “You are asking the wrong question.”
“What do you mean the wrong question? I want to know what I must do. I want to know my purpose,” he replied.
“You are asking the wrong question. Instead of asking what it is that you must do, you should rather ask: ‘Who am I?”
A moment of silence passed and the voice explained. “If you do not know who you are, how will you know what to do?”
“If I do not know who I am, how will I know what to do?” He repeated to himself. As the understanding hit home, he felt sad and he said: “But… but I don’t know who I am.”
And the still voice replied, “You are who you have always been. Nothing has the power to change who you are. Only you have the power to forget. Even you can’t change who you are; you can only forget or hide.”
He looked down at himself. This is on purpose? He wondered in disbelief. “What if I can’t remember who I am? How do I remember?” he asked.
“To remember who you are,” the soft inner voice replied, “you must learn to let your sap rise. Your sap, your life-blood, is inside you. It can show you your purpose. Your sap will only rise when you speak, think or say anything that belongs to your true self. Sad emptiness means you are not fulfilling your purpose because you are not you!
“Your purpose is who you ARE! When you are yourself, you do what you are born to do, and this brings great joy.”
For as long as he could remember, the little tree had only felt empty.
The inner voice said: “Love yourself free and who you are will be revealed.”
The more he thought about this, the more a new feeling awoke. He felt the sap immediately rise; he felt his life force more strongly in his body. “How have I forgotten this? How could I forget who I am?” said the young tree.
“You believed the orchard…” said the inner voice, “…you believed the orange trees and the thorn trees and you forgot YOU. Now young tree, follow the clues of your sap rising and love yourself free.”
And so the little tree looked down at his body and said with love: “This is me! This is who I was born to be! My leaves are like this and my bark is like that.”
His sap responded, moving into his branches and leaves; he felt stronger. And so the little tree began to love himself free. The sap helped him grow because it was finally flowing, feeding him with the strength to BE in the world.
He watched his branches stretching outwards and upwards, his leaves getting greener in the sunlight. He called the birds and insects back into his heart and life. Every day he began to see more of himself revealed to the world.
One morning he looked out and with great happiness, he shouted out: “I know who I am! I know who I am! Finally… I know… I am the maker of little pink blossoms!”
And the voice inside said with the feeling of a smile: “Ah… but wait, the fruits of your true self are yet to be revealed.”
So, he waited patiently.
One morning as the dawn light peeped over the orchard hills, he looked out, and his heart jumped. He took a deep sigh with joyful tears. He spoke softly but with great presence: “I am an Apple Tree.” For there on his branches were many apples.
He came to know that the still, wise voice inside had always been the voice of the Apple Tree. The sun rose and set and he grew into a beautiful Apple Tree.
Life and death dance together, so the orchard’s death makes way for new life. In time, the Apple Tree saw saplings all around him, new young trees. As soon as they were able (as young trees are prone to), they looked up at him and said: “Hello. We see you are older and wise. Please tell us, what is our purpose? What is it we are supposed to do?”
He smiled broadly and his heart was full because he knew what to say.
He answered: “Ah, young trees, the answer is simple – you are asking the wrong question!”
Apple Tree Anecdotes
“I was once asked the question: ‘If you were a tree, what tree would you be?’ My answer surprised me even more than the question did… I answered: ‘I would be a bonzai tree.’ On reflection, I realised that this whisper from my truth was warning me that my life held so much potential – but it was much smaller than it could be. At the time, I was a very successful CEO in the corporate world – but there was still something restless in me. It felt like I was dancing skin deep with life and I needed to be MORE.
“I always thought I needed to ‘go somewhere to find myself’… I didn’t believe that I could be MORE in the corporate world (surely it had to be something more ‘spiritual’).
“Through my Apple Tree Purpose training at ILS, I discovered that my purpose was to help people discover and step into their full potential. And my job was to hold a safe space for people until they were brave enough to fill it with all of who they are. I was able to bring this knowledge and this work to my position as CEO and help my management team bring the best of who they are to the influential positions they held.
“Knowing your purpose allows you to settle into a greater KNOWING.
The knowing that ‘I am enough’, I always was and always will be.
All I have to do is be all I was born to BE.”
Lynette Anderson, executive coach for women
The Apple Tree Fable was first read to me, in early 2012. The receiving of its wisdom was profoundly life-changing. I had always thought of myself as being ‘me’ – not always fitting into the recipes that I was expected to fit into but which seemed set and uncomfortable in the world around me. And then, as the Apple Tree wisdom flowed through me, I experienced a deeper knowing and enquiry about who ‘me’ is and was excited to ask the wisdom within me, “Who am I?”
As my exploration of this question revealed a clearer understanding of my uniqueness in the orchard of my life, I settled into the wisdom that all the other trees were unique too. And that they must remain unique, always.
I felt connected to the ‘me’ who is joyful, fulfilled and connected to other ‘trees’ who were different from me. I felt connected to ‘me’, who experiences fear, self-doubt and separation. Through the practice of insightful conversations with my wisdom-self, I gained fitness in staying true to who I am; to the whole of me. This is the only way; the one that best serves me and which supports my relationships with loved ones, friends and clients. Allowing uniqueness allows for less judgment of myself and others. This fable liberated me from the ‘shoulds’ of society and profoundly impacted my ability as a Professional InnerLifeSkills Coach; and the honing of my intuition and empathy.
I share this fable with all my clients. The benefits of this magnificent ‘Apple Tree’ metaphor have been immeasurable, for me and for all who have experienced and explored it.
Melanie Raizon, Partner at Trusted Coaching
Author, spiritual teacher known for the ‘Wisdom Well Way’
Colleen has taught over 35 000 people in 60 countries, delivering over 4 000 classes and talks. Two documentary television features have been made about her life story and she’s been a regular expert television and press guest for over 20 years.
Colleen-Joy is an author and spiritual teacher best known for her Wisdom Well Way meditation method, which you can enrol for at http://wisdomwellway.com/
Colleen is also the managing director of internationally accredited InnerLifeSkills Master Coach Certification programmes at http://innerlifeskillscourses.com/ Join her regular Zoom classes.