Weekly Practice 41


Every week we profile one of the “Reflect to Create! “ practices from my book, they are chosen at random from a jar on my desk.  My invitation is for you to try it out if it speaks to you in some way.



This week we are profiling Practice 70: A parable about a man who planted trees (from page 131 of my book). Practice 70 is one of the dance steps in The Opening’s Relating to the Whole.


Relating to the Whole invites us to relate and sense from the interconnected whole.  Working wholeheartedly means embracing the heart’s natural intelligence and innate human capacities for relationship, connection and compassion. I have chosen this parable for this week because I notice I keep asking myself “what is the learning from this pandemic?” both for me personally and for us collectively.


The parable ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’ was written by the Frenchman Jean Giono¹ after World War II for a short story competition.  It is shared here as an invitation for you to consider your own contribution and legacy.


This is a tale of a shepherd tending his sheep on a barren landscape somewhere in Europe between the two World Wars.  His day job was to tend his sheep.  His additional practice – which he gave himself – was to collect acorns during the day, to select the best 100 acorns he had collected by the fire at night and while walking his sheep the next morning to poke holes in the ground with his shepherds crook and plant the 100 acorns from the day before.  And then start all over again.  After decades the shepherd had successfully reforested the landscape.  The young trees held the soil which brought in other natural growth.  The streams filled with water, birds, flora and fauna returned and young people came to build new homes.


  • Reflect on this story
  • Ask yourself ‘What seeds are you planting as part of your legacy?”
  • Journal or draw what you discover


Please do share your stories so we can all learn together.


Join us on our “Reflect to Create!”Facebook page.



[1] Giono, J. (1954) Originally published in Vogue under the title “The Man Who Planted Trees and Grew Happiness”. London, Conde Naste Publications Ltd.




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