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Zebra Stripes for ADHD

A monthly newsletter of stories tips and news for those concerned with ADHD, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, No. 18

Sarah Jane Keyser : ADHD Coach

Two Trees : Take Your Pick

Joey, the zebra with no stripes, stomped out of class. He nipped at
Koko, his best friend. 

"What are you doing, Joey? What's biting you?"

"Leave me alone, or I'll bite you."

He laid his ears back, kicked his heels at  Sammy, and ran off into the
woods. He collided with the big leg of old Mr. Rumbo, the elephant. 

"Hear, hear, Joey. What's the matter? Why so angry?"

Joey collected himself and looked up at the huge elephant towering over
him and said "Get out of my way. I'm leaving and I'm not coming

"Whoa!, those are strong words, Joey." Mr. Rumbo blew through his long
trunk. He gently cuddled Joey with his trunk and sat him down. "Have
you been eating from the Resentment Tree?"

"Huh?" Joey took a breath, his ears flicked forward in surprise,
"What's that?

"Well, now. Sit down and I'll tell you a story." 

Joey liked stories so he agreed to listen before running off. 

"Once upon a time," began Mr. Rumbo, "there were two monkeys, brothers,
looking for a new home. There were  lots of trees available, but they
wanted something special. They wandered deep into the forest. They
came, in time, to an open place.  In the middle were two magnificent
trees, one a bit darker and taller the other shorter and shinier. Both
were laden with fruit.

Together they exclaimed,  "Just what we want". 

Big brother said "I'll take the taller tree; you can have the smaller one". 
Little brother wasn't too happy but he didn't want to fight with big brother. 

At first they were very happy. Both trees were loaded with fruit, and
the more they ate the more fruit there was. They chattered to each
other and visited back and forth. After a time big brother became moody
and resentful. He didn't answer his brother when he called or responded
crossly. Sometimes he was angry and shouted at friends passing by. He
was resentful of this or that, critical of the weather their neighbors
and all.  

Little brother was agreeable to everyone, offered them fruit from the
abundance of his tree. He couldn't understand why his brother had
become so angry.  He invited big brother to his tree many times, but
each time big brother didn't answer at all or rudely refused .

Big brother was often angry and became very excited, screeching and
jumping about in his tree. He would climb higher and higher. Little
brother tried to warn him that even monkeys had to be careful. Trees
break; even a small monkey can break tree branches. But big brother
wasn't listening.

Until one day, big brother in his excitement climbed to the very top of
his tree. With a loud crack the branch broke and big brother fell to
the ground.

Friends and neighbors gathered around to mourn. "But why was he so
resentful and angry?"  They all asked.	

An old baboon, coat grey with age,  walked stiffly up to the group.
"Big brother has been living in that tree?" he asked. "That is the tree 
of Resentment. Its roots grow in the soil of opposition. Anyone eating
its fruit will live in anger." 

"And my tree? Are they not the same?" asked little brother. 

The old baboon looked long at the tree of little brother. "That tree is
the tree of Peace and Gratitude. its roots grow in the soil of

Mr. Rumbo was silent for a moment. 

"I don't get it" said Joey. 

"Why are you so resentful, Joey?" asked Mr. Rumbo.

"Because I have no stripes! It's not fair. All zebras have stripes. Why
not me?"

"Yes, you have no stripes. Can you change that fact?"

Joey looked disconsolate "No, I can't, that's why I'm so mad. Now I'm

"You don't have to like the fact that you have no stripes," said Mr.
Rumbo. "To find peace, you just have to accept it."

"So what am I suppose to do? Jump for joy?" retorted Joey.

"Accepting does not mean liking the fact, it just means: "That's the
way it is". 

Resentment grows from shoulds. I should have... ; it should be... Our society breeds great expectations which are not met. If you have ADD, you may feel resentful because life shouldn't be so hard. So why should I be grateful?

If only there were a real tree of gratitude; from which we could eat the fruit. It would make life so much easier

In real life you choose to grow and nurture your own gratitude tree. To start, plant the seed in the soil of acceptance. You will know it has grown when you reap its flowers of joy and wonder.


Zebra Tips :

Need some help choosing gratitude?

  • Talk to a tree
  • Make time to do nothing
  • Go out and play (play is an activity with no particular purpose)

For more about me, Sarah Jane Keyser, About Sarah Jane

Do you need a safe place to talk?   email me today for a free coaching session.

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