There are so many lessons to be learned from nature yet some of us zoom through life and take many things for granted. I am in awe of things that grow up from the ground. Sadly, I do not have a green thumb. I love plants and would be thrilled if they didn’t cower in fear when I pass by. I am doing better, though…at least the local nursery has taken down the “warning!” posters with my face on them.
I have discovered something about myself and that is, apparently I lack the patience necessary to be a successful gardener. I have been working on that because the growth and flourishment of flowers, trees and plants is a metaphor for life. I’m learning that many of my frustrations and questions about my own life can be better understood by taking note of how things grow in nature. They don’t care about other plants’ time schedules; they don’t take shortcuts nor do they worry about what other plants think of them. Their goal seems to be to put forth the beauty and wonder for which they were created.
Most of us have heard these things, yet in our “busyness” we need to be reminded. So as a refresher course in finding peace and calmness, consider these three natural “teachers.”
Bamboo: Talk about patience! After being planted, bamboo may not grow or even show itself for years and then one day, it will shoot up at an astronomical rate of speed. I have been told that certain species of bamboo can grow three feet in twenty-four hours! I have a silly mental picture of a bamboo farmer peering down at the ground wondering where the plant is and having it shoot up and hit him on the nose. Of course that wouldn’t really happen. Bamboo is incredibly flexible because it has a strong root system which allows it to sway and bend without breaking. I can draw a parallel to my life when I have worked hard to build something…perhaps a relationship or a business, and I’ve become frustrated when things didn’t move as quickly as I wanted. I have had to depend on the groundwork…the support system I have nurtured and remain flexible and confident as I wait for the results.
Bonsai: If you ever watched the movie The Karate Kid, you’ll remember how the Bonsai master told his student to see, in his mind’s eye, how the tree should look. If he couldn’t visualize it, there needed to be some clutter removed from his thoughts. In a sense, he needed to prune the tree in his mind before he ever started touching it. He certainly didn’t want to start chopping and trimming without a vision. That is how we need to move forward in our plans for life. We often cannot see where we need to go or what we ought to do through all of the doubts, fears, regrets and other negative thoughts that take up residence in our heads. Sometimes we need to prune away the useless branches in order to shape and define our goals and clear the path to reach them.
Lotus Flowers: It is strange to think that such beautiful blossoms could thrive and grow in dirt and mud. They are beautiful reminders that at times, we all find ourselves feeling as if we are sinking into murky mire. During those times, it helps to remember that we will eventually rise from the muck and once again grow and thrive in the sunlight. Sometimes, the mud is necessary for us to center our thoughts, put things into proper perspective and find balance.
This year, I am promising myself to slow down and smell the roses, so to speak. I don’t want to go through life and leave it never having paid attention and embraced the lessons that nature offers us. I hope you will take a walk in a garden, forest or meadow as well and see what you learn!
I would love to talk with you about how I might work with you.