A Flower. An avocado. A rigid belief system. A loving relationship. A musical composition. Disease. A flourishing business. Space travel. A life.
Whatever you see manifested in the world and in your life began as a seed, which through time and reinforcement from internal and external sources germinated into reality—for better or for worse.
I was thinking about this concept of the seed as I was surveying my life and what was happening in it. I decided to view all that was before me in physical form—my relationships, my physical health, my home, my successes at work, my failures, my finances, all as products of seeds that I decided, consciously or unconsciously, to water throughout my life. And then I started to think about which seeds I was watering based on the picture I saw before me that no longer needed feeding.
I remember reading somewhere many years ago that what makes someone successful has less to do with intelligence and much more to do with curiosity and risk-taking. We all have ideas that pop in our heads on occasion that spark excitement and grab our interest. The successful person, instead of discounting them, pursues and germinates the seeds of these passing thoughts. The successful person takes what arises within seriously, becomes curious about it, steps into the unknown (which means stepping into vulnerability), and then takes that leap of faith.
Let me digress for a minute to talk about this word “success.” It makes me cringe a little because I hear the word “ego” ringing loud in my head, and when the ego sounds off and tries to take over, things usually end up one of two ways: either we become successful but find ourselves unhappy because our success was based on someone else’s idea of success, or we freeze and can’t get anything done because we don’t trust our own ideas.
Ideas that excite and evoke passion and a sense of vitality come from our hearts, from the energy of the gifts within that are waiting to be opened and expressed.
Ideas that have a “should” attached to them or feel carved out by someone else, that make us feel detached or indifferent, come from our egos or a place of fear. Think about a job you really disliked or a relationship that no longer felt right. What did you feel?
My definition of success is doing that which makes you feel alive and curious and in love. It is the hobbies and activities you are engaging in, the relationships you are involved in, the job you are working at, the food you are eating, the place you are living. If these all feel like expressions of who you are at your best, at your core, then success is unfolding in your life.
Now back to the seeds. I have come to realize two important things about seed planting and watering. For one, we need to make sure the seeds we are watering are our own. How awful would it be to come to the end of the road, highly successful and very rich, but realize the success you created was for someone else?
Alternately, if you can’t get yourself going or are feeling bored with your life, it might be time to think about not only which seeds you are watering that aren’t yours, but more importantly, which seeds within you are waiting to be recognized and sprouted. Start checking in with the belief systems you have about yourself. Maybe they aren’t so accurate. Check in with what you are passionate about doing on any level—not just professionally. Are you doing these things?
Secondly, if everything starts as a seed and if we take the lotus flower, for example, then we know that seeds take time to sprout. The lotus flower is a beautiful flower indeed. However, the start of this flower’s life is quite different. When the lotus first begins to sprout it is under water, making its home in lakes and ponds where the water remains fairly still on the surface. But underneath the surface, the lotus is surrounded by mud and muck, by fish, by insects, and dirty, rough conditions. Despite these conditions, the lotus flower maintains strength and pushes aside each of these obstacles as it makes its way to the clearer surface.
At this time, the lotus is still just a stem with only a few leaves and a small flower pod. But in time the stem continues to grow and the pod slowly surfaces above the water into the clean air finally freeing itself from the harsh life conditions below. It is then that the lotus slowly opens each beautiful petal to the sun, basking in the worldly beauty surrounding it.
Whatever we venture out to achieve has this process as its essence—especially if it’s something we feel called to do and are passionate about. Obstacles are part of the process and part of a bigger picture. Obstacles are the lessons we need to learn about our development that bring us not only to our desired goal but which also forge something deeper within that can’t be defined.
Tend to your seeds, tend to your process, plant new ones, release old ones. Become the flower you truly are!
Author: Danielle Benvenuto
Image: Courtesy of Author, Share image: Flickr/skyseeker
Editor: Travis May