How Does Your Garden Grow?
I’m not much of a gardener but I love flowers and plants, so I have recently been reading more on the subject. I hope to have a bit more of a “green thumb” vs. being the kiss of death I have a history of being so far. My reading and my rose bushes have given me a deeper appreciation of all the gardening metaphors I’ve read over the years and so in honor of spring, new beginnings, spring cleaning, etc…let’s talk about growing roses as a metaphor for our lives.
We want to provide the best possible environment for our roses to thrive. We may still have flowers if we don’t do this groundwork, but they’re not going to be the best, most beautiful blooms they’re capable of being. They will be more difficult to maintain and won’t bloom fully if we don’t do the foundational work of creating the right environment.
First, we all know we need get rid of weeds that can choke out what we want to grow. And it is the same with us. There are obvious bad habits or situations that we are putting up with that are choking out what we want to see grow in our lives. Our environment isn’t optimal for us to be our best. These are the obvious habits that are not helping us get where we want to go (stop procrastinating, read the book to get the certification you need instead of sitting in front of the TV, being proactive vs. reactive) and also the low hanging fruit that we can knock out by setting aside time to address them (make the phone call, clean up the desk, make the Dr's appointment, clean out the closet, get the car repaired).
Next there is maintaining the soil in such a way that it gives your roses the best possible chance. Getting the right PH balance, fertilizing the soil, etc. For us, this is the equivalent of the people we surround ourselves with, the way we care for ourselves through exercise, healthy eating and adequate sleep, and how we grow ourselves through what we read, watch, and listen to. Are you maintaining the best possible environment for yourself?
Then there are the roses that bloom for us but they’re not optimal. They are taking away nourishment and distracting from our very best, most beautiful blooms. This is the really tough part. I mean they’re still blooms. But do I want a bunch of mediocre roses or do I want my best, most beautiful roses to thrive? What if I cut away the wrong blooms? These are the very tough decisions in our lives. The situations, people or habits that are very tough to let go of. I mean they’re not all bad. It’s not like a weed that I know obviously must go. To be our very best though, to not settle for less than we are capable of, there are often things that are much tougher to cut away even though we know it is keeping us from being our very best. It’s the job that we trudge along in without even looking for more. It’s comfortable because it is the known and we don’t go for something else even though we know it’s what is truly best for us. It’s the relationship that we keep hanging onto despite knowing it isn’t creating an environment where we can thrive. These are the more difficult but required choices in our lives that we must make to create an environment where we can thrive. Unfortunately we often accept many mediocre blooms at this point because it’s not all bad after all, there ARE blooms…and it just seems easier.
And finally there is the weather where we are. Maybe the region we live in isn’t necessarily the best so it requires extra work on our part. Or maybe we should move to where we increase our odds of getting the best blooms? There could be more sunshine one year than another, a draught or constant rain, or an unexpected drop in temperatures and a spring freeze that kills many of our blooms. These are all things that are outside of our control and we do our best to manage & navigate them as they come up. And so it is in our lives, sometimes it’s all sun and our lives are flowing smoothly – it’s a great year. Others…not so much. All we can do is our part in all the other areas and then navigate what comes as it comes.
One last thought on our roses. You can’t go out and through sheer force of will, will your rose buds to bloom more quickly into full blooms. We must be patient and let it bloom in its own time. If I go out to my rose bushes right now, stare at them and say “grow faster”, they don’t bloom because I wish it so. It takes time and so it is with us and our own growth. We must be patient with the twist and turns of our lives, knowing that we will bloom beautifully in our own time.
May you and your roses thrive and bloom your very best!