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.
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.
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.
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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