My gardening experiences this summer taught me three important life lessons that I wanted to share with you. I recently created a sunny space in my yard to allow for the growth of tomatoes, a long time favorite of mine. For 14 years, I lusted after gardens filled with sunshine, as mine was full of shade. I had neglected my goal of homegrown tomatoes due to my DREAD of all the effort involved. I was resolved that this was the year to take hold of my small dream and make it a reality. It took some hard work…digging, chopping, planning, planting, feeding and watering. The outcome is now dozens of juicy red tomatoes that bring me immense joy.
A GREAT lesson can be learned here. Don’t put off your dreams…no matter how small they may seem, no matter how dreaded the work. It is the simple things make us smile. Small steps can get you where you want to go.
After planting the tomatoes, I was impatient to see some fast signs of growth. I asked a friend why the plants were growing so slowly. She looked at my fledgling plants and wisely commented that the growth was taking place underground; all of the plant’s energy was going into the roots. She advised me to sit tight and be patient.
While a simple truth, the development of our human potential is quite similar. We look for the outward signs of growth and accomplishment, but may see nothing concrete. Meanwhile, our roots, our inner foundations are expanding and being established. So the second lesson…be patient with yourself.
My last tomato lesson is about breaking personal boundaries. After some time, two plants were still in their peat pots…rootbound…no room for the roots to expand anywhere. I compared the rootbound tomatoes to the others that were flourishing in the garden, and was shocked at the difference in size and strength of the plants. I wondered how often do we put up with a job, a relationship, a house that does not give us room to grow, when we actually need to transplant ourselves to more fertile soil?
So next time, when you have some bright red tomatoes in your salad, keep these simple life lessons in mind… Allow yourself to dream… Be patient with your growth… And know when it is time to transplant yourself to fertile soil.
Action tip: Identify three things that you are tolerating in your life right now. Allow yourself to change one – write it down and tell a friend who CAN hold you accountable.