I was a landscaper in my teens and early twenties, and I planted hundreds of trees during that time.
The homeowner would show me where they wanted their tree planted, and I would trace a circle in the grass outlining where I would dig.
Shovel in hand and a pick at the ready, I’d break ground.
Living in the Northeast, the glaciers left behind a plethora of rocks in the soil, and I would inevitably strike one (many) of them or a root.
Little by little, I’d chip away, switching tools and changing angles until the obstruction was removed and the tree placed in its new home.
I had little choice but to do whatever was needed to place the tree where the owner requested.
I had to dig.
25 plus years later, I like to imagine how those trees have grown.
Before prison, I had a deep desire to create.
Whether it was a screenplay, an invention, or a business of my own.
It was deep inside, buried under what I thought I needed to do to be happy.
Land the coveted job title, land the marque accounts, earn big bucks, and buy lots of things.
But those things never filled the void I felt from not pursuing my desire to create; if anything, they made the hole bigger.
Every so often, the pain would become enough that I’d get a little curious about exploring my desires,
“What did I truly want? What truly matters to me? What’s something I could do to make it happen?”
I’d start digging, and just like planting a tree, I’d strike an obstacle.
Fear, impostor syndrome, insecurities, and raging self-doubt.
But unlike planting a tree, I’d stop digging the moment I struck something and try to cover the hole like it never existed.
Digging hurt, so I stopped.
I never went past the superficial level and suffered as a result.
It took going to prison and losing everything for me to move past the superficial, to dig, and to dig as deep as I can, and when I think I’ve gotten to the…