Clearing: lessons from a perennial garden
Early spring is my favorite time of year, because it's when the plants in my perennial garden reappear. All one must do as the gardener of a perennial flowerbed is clear it out and remove the dead leaves and stalks that are strangling and covering up the new growth beneath.
This past winter I struggled with myself as I considered the strain and uncertainty of this stage of my life: a coach embarking on the path of entrepreneur. I felt unsure, vulnerable and lacking confidence.
But now we’re in spring and in my garden new and young plants are growing. As I uncover them, carefully pulling away the dead, brown ones, there they are, already pushing out of the ground. They grow resolute and sure, despite the early spring and the chance of frost, as if they have a purpose, a goal, a design, just like I do.
There's not a year that goes by that these flowers stay underground and don't bloom. Why would they hide away and decide not to take a chance on the sun and the rain doing their part to help them reach their day of glory? There's trust in the natural order of things, and the roles that each supporting element plays. Just like the birds who call to their mates. As all of nature does.
Why can't I trust? Uncertainty stems from a lack of trust. I look at all that I haven't done yet. Unlike the plants, I focus on all the growing I still have to do. It appears as a mountain ahead of me, larger than I can handle.
When you embark on a new stage of life, you start out as a new shoot, a fresh and tender thing, not as a full-grown plant. You are small, easily trampled on by careless feet, vulnerable to frost. But if you trust in the way of the world, the sun and wind and rain and the richness of the soil with its nutrients and earth worms, you eventually became that beautiful flower or bush or tree. That is how things happen. That's how they've been happening for millions of years.
One of my coaching clients told me what he likes about plants is that they give by just being. I love that statement: “They give by being.” What a simple way to live. Isn't that really what all of nature does? It gives life, beauty, oxygen, by being what it is. Nature does not try to be anything, it just is. And by being what it is, it gives everything that it has. It can do nothing else.
Use this image to put your mind at ease when you feel out of your depth or unsure of your ability to be what you already are: a new student of life, still learning, still growing. Don't worry about what’s to come. Be who you are today, honestly, truthfully, whole-heartedly. Then help to move the debris and dead growth from previous years out of the way so that your growth is uninhibited.
Life is challenging enough. So why make it harder for yourself than it already is?