It’s OK to grow slow

Kathy Krugerchange, fear, yinyang17 Comments

bigstock_Yin_Yang_Tree_1240661

Spring – the season for growth. Green shoots and blossoming flowers and fresh perfume in the air. It sort of smells like a positive affirmation (I imagine). In reality, a lot of sun (yang) and water (yin) are required along with a positive attitude in order to flourish.

I start this, my first post of Spring, and the page is blank, just as it always is.

Growth (like love) may be all around us, but the words still take a while to bud and bloom (in my mind at least).

We planted herbs and spring flowers only a week ago, and already the coriander and the rocket are in a race to be the fastest grower.  (I’ll back the speedy rocket, he, he). I swear you can watch them grow.

I swear you can watch them grow

I swear you can watch them grow

It’s like that in Spring – new life sprouts and shoots, bursts and blossoms and you have to stop to really appreciate the fresh change because it happens so quickly that winter is soon forgotten and summer is already flowering before you know it.

But what if you are still digging deep in the soil, spreading roots, trying to work out what direction you want to grow in?

You are rushed along, through September, October, November until the season is over and it’s already almost Christmas and a New Year beckons and you have to ponder how much (or little) you have grown – whether it was fast enough, strong enough, enough.

There’s so much hope in Spring, but with it comes high expectations.

Our lives are seasonal, in some ways, and yet they are habitual, historical – grounded in beliefs and habits from childhood and grinded by day-to-day routines and pressures.

It’s a reason and a season for change, but habits aren’t easy to break.

Spring has sprung and we want to start anew – there’s that scent of freshness in the air, yet somehow it doesn’t seem as easy as simply sprouting new shoots.

Focus on the green shoots, but don’t forget the roots

One of my favourite adaptations of the yin yang symbol is it formed into a tree of life, one half of the symbol (yin) represented by the roots in the ground, the other half (yang) by the branches reaching skyward.

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Image source

Growth happens in both directions, and as much as it is easy to focus on the new growth we see above the surface we need solid grounding (depth within ourselves, our values and purpose) to withstand difficult times.

Do we want to grow tall and strong like bamboo, focus on forming a few beautiful flowers (protecting them with thorns) like a rose bush, or put all our energies into bearing a harvest of fruit or vegetables?

So much in society is focused on above-ground growing – achieving, producing, being seen to be strong and powerful (yang). Yet true strength, beauty and bounty start below the surface.

Comparison is the thief of the joy and also growth

When we always compare how fast we are growing, how much we are achieving, how ‘beautiful’ we are, not only do we rob ourselves of joy but we stunt our own growth.

The most ‘beautiful’ gardens are appreciated for the variety of the trees, shrubs and flowers that grow in them – contrasts of colours and foliage, size and shapes.

Beautiful garden

Beautiful garden

Image source

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Image source

I’m no real gardener, but it seems to me that the plants in a ‘beautiful’ garden complement each other rather than compete to grow – the tall trees providing shelter for the smallest shade-loving plants below.

Grow slow, grow resilient

When everything (or everyone) seems bursting with growth, new ideas and green shoots it is easy to compare your own growth and fall back into bad habits, or procrastinate over new good ones.

When we stop growing, we die – is the well-known truism for living a full life.

Procrastination will kill growth, but there doesn’t seem much point racing to the end!

Sometimes, just as kids have and just as in Spring, there will be growth spurts. At other times, growth will be slower.

Regardless of the speed, we grow more resilient when we grow from within. This is the growth that counts most.

How are you growing this Spring?

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Kathy KrugerIt’s OK to grow slow

17 Comments on “It’s OK to grow slow”

  1. coloursofsunset

    I loved this post Kathy. It really made me think about me, us, our situation. I always want everything to happen right away and without effort. I want all the glory without all the work. It *is* ok to grow slow, and it’s ok to take baby steps. It’s ok to get help from others. And it really is what’s underneath that counts. Thank you. x Aroha (#teamIBOT)

  2. Eva

    This is such a lovely post to read and so very true. I have never thought of life like this and it truly makes sense. I’m definitely one that needs to start ‘growing slow’ because my life of late has been the opposite. Thanks for this.

  3. Lizzy Allan

    What a beautiful post. I love all the images too, especially the ying yang tree. I love how you write that our lives are seasonal and yet habitual at the same time … so true.
    And all this related to blogging too … recently I’ve been thinking about how much slower my blog is growing than I had hoped for initially, but as I read this it makes me think that it’s okay to grow slow, just as long as I don’t stop :) thank you!

  4. Have a laugh on me

    I really want to enjoy spring, the best season here on the GC I reckon. Last year was a blur for me but now the kids are older I want to slow down, slowly emerge and enjoy the sights and sound of spring. See you tonight I hope :)

  5. Annaleis from Teapots and Tractors

    Lovely sentiments – trying to get the kids to realise that growing up is not always all the fun you think it will be.

  6. homelifesimplified

    Love this post Kathy. You know what i thought when i saw that tree image – i thought the roots part was actually a winter tree and that it was a split of the seasons – one half in bloom and one half dormant without its leaves. like your explanation though. food for thought xxx deb

  7. always josefa (@always_josefa)

    Growing is important, regardless of the speed and I really resonate with and believe in growing from within, if you don’t grow from within I have always wondered how sustainable or real the growth is. Lately I have been looking within, to grow and it seems to be the way it is meant to be, the way that works with the Universe and not so much against it. Thank you so much for coming out and catching up last night, had a wonderful time meeting you x

  8. Emily Morgan

    Great thoughts – I must say that I don’t take the time to enjoy spring as I should – you are so right about the end of the year rushing towards you with christmas at the end. I should really try to relish the season for once!

  9. Grace

    What an inspiring post, Kathy! I’m forever rushing thinking that I need to get to that next stage in life. I’m trying to slow down. And it’s true. The longer you take in growing, the more time you have to properly reasses your values and goals.

  10. Pingback: Slow is not boring | Yinyangmother

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