When I was little spring was always marked by the preparation of a space in our backyard for a vegetable garden. Like clockwork the gardening gloves and trowels would make their way out of the garage dusty, but ready to do their job. And because I loved to dig in the dirt, I was always quick to volunteer my help. Gardening season was my opportunity to get really dirty without looks of dismay from my mom.
And so began our little gardening ritual…
My mom would create the holes in the newly tilled soil and I’d come behind her with the seeds…placing each one carefully in its new home. And since I was also in charge of the hose, they’d get a good soaking afterward. (Dirt+Water = Mud! YES!!)
Then came my least favorite part of the ritual, the part where we waited for the carrots, zucchini, green beans, strawberries and tomatoes to show themselves.
Every day after school I’d run to the garden and check for signs of growth. EVERY DAY…as if by magic the newly planted seed would defy time and Mother Nature and go from seed to fully grown plant just like that!
(Obviously waiting was not my strong suit.)
When there was no sign of life just yet, I’d be tempted to dig around the seeds to see if they had sprouted roots. (I never did, but I was tempted.) Somehow I knew that doing so would kill the seeds before they had a chance to grow. Somehow I knew that I just had to trust, trust that they were doing their thing and when they were ready they would show themselves.
I needed that little walk down memory lane; there’s a lesson there that I have yet to master. A lesson to wait!
Still planting, and still not waiting
I’ve been planting seeds (a.k.a my work in the world) and instead of trusting and letting them sprout when they’re ready, I’ve been pulling them out to see if they’re growing.
For example, most recently I launched The Insider’s Guide to Dealing With Fear e-course. After a six-month gestation period, I was excited to share it with the world. I shared it just knowing that it would reach the masses that it needed to reach. But guess what?
(Oh, did I mention that it’s only been less than a week since its launch? No? Impatience, party of one, your table is ready.)
The launch didn’t sprout in the first few days, much less grow and I was disappointed. How could something I put my heart and soul into not develop roots and take off like crazy?
Simple. Its lack of growth was a direct reflection of my not trusting in its merit and ability to grow. Not to mention my own impatience. Clearly I was expecting time defying magic to kick in this time!!
Rather than trust (and practice patience), I was pulling out the seed to see if it had taken root by watching my stats, likes on Facebook, retweets on Twitter. In essence I was making the entire launch about me, as if it was some sort of validation for what I do. SHIT!! SHIT!! SHIT!!
(I don’t ever want the work I do in the world to be about me! EVER!! Because it’s not!)
Not only was I beginning totally impatient, but I seemed to have invited Ego to join me in my “garden”! GREAT!!
Hello Ego! Care to have a cup of coffee with me? I’d offer you some strawberries from the garden, but I think I killed them.
Does any of this sound familiar?
How many times have you planted seeds only to pull them out to see if they were growing?
Tending the garden, instead of killing it
Here are a few things I’ll be focusing on going forward to make damned sure I’m not killing my “garden”. Please feel free to use them, add to them, tweak them and make them your own
Letting trust and belief tend to the “garden”. I know that’s often easier said then done. Since it takes practice, every time there’s a temptation to “pull the seeds out”, lets stop and ask the following:
“Do I believe in what I’m doing?”
“Do I trust in my own work/in myself?”
If the answer is “yes” then we just need to remember that it will all work as it’s supposed to. If the answer is “no”, there might be a need to do some digging…digging as to why belief and trust aren’t hanging out in our “garden”.
Connect with the cause. The cause is usually greater than we are! When we can remind ourselves of that, reconnecting to the reasons we’re doing what we do, we redirect our focus.
Ask someone to take the trowel away. When there’s the temptation to check the seed’s growth, because chances are there will be, share that temptation with someone else so they can pry the trowel from our sweaty fingers.
Learn. If we dig up the seed and kill it, the worst thing we can do is beat ourselves up with the very trowel we used for digging. Instead, lets use it as an opportunity to learn. Remembering that the Universe only puts in front of us what we have yet to learn and master.
Until next time, I know what I’ll be doing…not killing my “garden”.
As always I welcome your thoughts, insights, questions and comments!
Much love and light to you…