How Does Your Garden Grow?

Uncategorized Jul 05, 2020

Do you have a green thumb?

I’m one of those people who’s very hit-and-miss when it comes to taking care of plants. My favourite type of gardening is “plant it and leave it” – spring bulbs, perennials, ground cover, ornamental grasses…you get the idea.

But this year, on a whim, I decided to try my hand at growing cherry tomatoes and bell peppers in containers in my back yard. And, to my pleasant surprise, it’s working! No sign of peppers yet (although I’m told it’s a bit early, anyway), but I have a number of tiny baby tomatoes on the way, and I’m beyond excited:

As I watch these little tomatoes slowly develop, I realize it’s like a metaphor for what we go through as human beings.

Our physical bodies renew themselves completely every 7 years; that’s how long it takes for every single cell in the body to be born, live out its life cycle, and die, to be replaced by a brand new version. You can literally become a whole new person within a few years’ time! And that’s great news for anyone who wants to take control of their health and make positive changes.

Planting yourself in the right soil – your physical environment – gives you a good start.

Water and fertilizer (what you eat and drink) and the right amount of sunshine (literally!) are critically important to growing a strong root system and producing good, healthy fruit (your energy and vitality).

And when the fruit is picked, it stimulates the plant to produce more – just as pushing your body through lifting heavy things and frequent, low-impact movement, stimulates muscle growth and flexibility.

But the metaphor also works on a mental/spiritual level. William S. Burroughs originally coined the phrase, “When you stop growing you start dying.” When we don’t give any thought to the direction we are heading in life; when we don’t have anything to look forward to; that’s when we stagnate. And the next step is decline. It’s like a slow death of the spirit.

In this analogy, the right soil could be surrounding yourself with friends and loved ones who will lift you up, support and encourage you as you pursue your goals and dreams. It’s hard to grow when those to whom you are closest are ridiculing you for your ideas or trying to keep you playing small out of well-intentioned but misguided fear and concern.

Water, fertilizer and sunshine can be likened to the things with which we fill our mind and soul – good learnings about our craft, positive messages of personal development from our favourite mentors, the guidance of coaches, and whatever spiritual practice we may adhere to – meditation, prayer, journaling, etc.

The picking and eating of the fruit happens when we unleash our gifts and talents into our community, in order to fulfill our mission. Each time we are able to touch another person’s life in a positive way, we are feeding the world with the fruit of our labour. 

But if we’re doing it right, it almost doesn’t feel like work; just like the tomato plant, the fruit is a natural by-product of who we are. We don’t have to expend tremendous energy to make it appear. And if we ARE having to expend a lot of extra energy, the fruit won’t be as sweet or as nourishing, just as in a plant that strains to find enough water and sunlight.

One final thought:

Gardening takes both patience and consistency. So does life.

If you’re wanting to make changes in your life, that’s great! It means you’re growing, not dying!

But don’t be in too much of a hurry to make the fruit appear. Just take small steps, every day, and I guarantee you will get there. If you try to rush it, to “force” the process, then just like a forced flowering plant, you’ll have a big splash of colour followed by a long season without blooms.

It’s also vitally important not to give up when you don’t get immediate results. We now know that true habit change takes longer than previously thought to really get cemented into our system – up to 70 days, or even longer. If a plant doesn’t get a consistent supply of water, sunlight and nutrients, it withers and dies. So, too, will your goals and dreams, if you don’t continue to work on them, even when progress seems painfully slow.

For several weeks, I saw nothing but leaves and the odd tiny yellow blossom on my tomato plant. And then, all of a sudden, one day there were babies! The tomatoes were growing all along, but I just couldn’t see it. If I’d given up and stopped watering the plant, I wouldn’t now be anticipating a lovely crop of fruit for my summer salads.

In what ways do you want to GROW in your life? Do you see a job or career change in your future? Are you looking to get control of your financial situation? Has COVID-19 been the catalyst towards getting in better physical health? Whatever the project you have in mind, share it with us in the comments below – I’d love to hear about your goals and dreams!

Peace and love.


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