The Tao of Sloth and Manatee

Forest thinking is about getting degrees, or having careers, or maintaining friendships. Tree thinking is about going to a class, or to a meeting, or calling a friend.

A Tree person might call you and talk about themselves for half an hour and then hang up without inquiring as to your well-being. A Forest person might then be thinking, “that person sucks,” and consider the overall friendship to be kind of stinky. Or not a friendship at all.

Forest is having a job, Tree is showing up on time to your shift.

Forest does the dishes before going swimming so there aren’t yucky dishes, Tree is I really wanna go swimming, now.

Like that. Both these kinds of thinking are very valuable, and they have to collaborate.

When these two kinds of thinking don’t collaborate, things go to a place called (and this is a technical term) poo-poo land.

Poo-poo land is when relationships blow up, people get angry or upset or frustrated, or ghost each other. It’s when people just can’t understand or things don’t seem to make sense.

Forests and trees really really need each other though.

How Sloth and Manatee are Forest and Tree

Sloth and Manatee balance each other in a very Forest and Tree way, like this:

Sloth has lost sight of the surroundings, and gotten all worked up about the missing piece. Manatee is just a bit farther away, and can see that the solution is right there, just out of Sloth’s sight. Sloth is wrapped up in Tree-land, and Manatee is going to help fix it by being a Forest.

Here Sloth gets very very involved in teeny tiny details:

Manatee helps Sloth think things through on the Tree level, but then is patient while Sloth decides to read the hairs a story. That’s because Manatee knows that Sloth has a huge heart, and wants everything and everybody to be okay. Manatee also knows this is a very overwhelming way to be, worrying about details and then being stressed about how it all does or doesn’t fit together.

When Sloth starts to spin out, Manatee comes in with the Forest thinking, and reminds Sloth that it is special to be a good Sloth and that Sloth is special for trying to be kind.

Sloth is a bit burned out from that tiring Tree thinking. Manatee backs out to the bigger Forest picture. Without Manatee, Sloth might go off into endless tangents and probably become Permanently Tired.

Sloth, the Tree is often the one who notices details, gets into new things and tries stuff, and gets Manatee involved:

In short, Sloth and Manatee, Tree and Forest, need each other. They are patient with each other.

We have to be patient with our own Forest and Tree thinking, and with other people too. So many conflicts happen when Forest and Trees are not in sync, or talking to each other, or when people only want to talk on one level and never visit the other one. That can be because of attention span, or life circumstances, or personality, or the type of brain you have, or many other reasons.

That can lead to a friendship falling apart because somebody doesn’t return phone calls, or a car falling apart because the oil doesn’t get changed. The details and the big picture create each other.

Maybe this is helpful to you, or would help you have a conversation with somebody. Especially somebody who has a different kind of brain than you. There are a lot of types of brains. And a lot of hugs to be had.

Was this helpful in some way? Please share it, it’s for sharing

May you have a wonderful Forest and Tree relationship, may you reach your goals in life one day at a time, won’t you be my neighbor?