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How Does your Garden Grow?


Il faut cultiver son jardin; Cultivate the Garden within.  – Voltaire, Candide

Spring is here heralding the appearance of the darling buds of May. The Cherry blossom trees are in full bloom with the perfume of the petals spilling out into the surrounding yards and streets and while the beauty of the flowers is fleeting, the fragrance seems to linger on.

Somehow this season symbolizes growth to me. There is the freshness of growing grass around us, little baby rabbits and chipmunks abound in the fields and hills around us. The trees are in leaf, with all of them bursting forth into delicate pale green foliage at the same time in response to some hidden conductors cue.

Everywhere I walk, there is the enticing smell of freshly watered soil, the refreshing moistness of freshly mowed grass, newly planted saplings and flower beds and even the weeds are topped with delightful sunny yellow and bright blue flowers. Every garden I see holds the promise of growth and beauty.

And I start to ponder on  the subject of growth – my own. Have I stopped growing in the madness of a busy life, leading my life like a rat on Pavlov’s wheel, eternally repeating the same stagnant patterns?   Am I creature of habit, mired in the mundane humdrum daily existence of cloned days all much like each other? Or am I growing, learning, experiencing new adventures, stretching past new boundaries like the unfurling branches of a tree reaching for the sun?

Reflecting on the meaning of the quotation, it yields a rich plethora of metaphors for growth.

Are we seeking to find  and follow our true purpose and passion in life? Are we giving ourselves time away from our daily responsibilities to reflect, learn and grow? Are we weeding the wasteful, self destructive behaviours that could destroy our personal gardens? We must tidy it and tend  it carefully in order to yield the best results.

As young ones we are in a state of what seems like perpetual growth.

Physically, measuring how much taller we have grown by standing against the same wall with pencil marks to indicate the inches we have gained with each passing year.

Emotionally, as we learn to laugh at ourselves and our shortcomings, in loyalty to our friends and tolerance of our ever present sibling, in experiencing the safety of belonging within a family or with a group of like-minded children.

Intellectually as we progress from conjugating verbs to speaking a new language and discovering the joy of communicating with strangers, in our discovery of the waelth of knowledge contained in books and these days, on the internet.

All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience – Henry Miller

As adults, caught up in our tangled lives of responsibilities and bills to pay, familes to take care of, children to bring up, careers to maintain – we begin to neglect ourselves and slowly start to wither. Our decisions are taken based on the wisdom of others who have our best interests at heart, and we fail to recognize the signs of decay until it is too late.

We begin to stifle our potential and subscribe to the dangerous notion that there will always be time to re-discover ourselves when our responsibilities are taken care of. However that time is here and now.  A garden that is not tended does not bear fruit. And as the garden grows, so does the gardener!

Conformity is the jailer of Freedom and the enemy of Growth. -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Yes, we cannot ignore our responsibilities, but blindly conforming to society’s expectations of how we should lead our lives like stepford clones of each other, by succumbing to peer pressures and family pressures to conform- could seriously hamper and stunt our growth.

We need to step away from other people’s expectations and start meeting our own for a change. We need to break through teh boundaries the world has set upon us, in order to discover our true purposeful lives and grow even beyond our own expectations. To grow into our greatness, what we were designed to be.

And to finally listen to that powerful whisper in the deep of the night that says, ” Grow!”

So, as Spring moves to a close, what have you planted, are you in fertile soil, and how does your garden grow?!!


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Categories : Productivity


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