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Today’s guest blog post was written by Meridee Watts. I’ve had the pleasure of calling Meridee friend for over a decade. We attended the Elijah House School of Prayer Ministry together and I have great respect for her wisdom in nurturing gardens of the heart and yard.
4 Lessons We Learn from Seeds about Taking Care of our Heart Gardens
Tending a garden in your yard isn’t all that different from tending to the garden of your heart. Both require careful attention and patience to fully bloom into a vibrant display that brings joy to any who come near.
Seeds especially have a lot to teach us about the fascinating and sometimes scary process we must go through if we ever want to realize the full potential that’s been placed inside of us.
Lesson 1: Vulnerability Happens when You are Safe
Seeds are like little tanks. They are hardy and capable of withstanding digestive systems, freezing temperatures, and any number of other inclement conditions before they germinate. However, as soon as a seed germinates it becomes vulnerable. What if there isn’t sufficient water, or if there is too much water? What if the sun burns it? What if there is a late frost that freezes it? What excites me is that different seeds germinate under different conditions, based on their needs, to give them the best chance at survival.
A seed isn’t wrong for not germinating under conditions that would suit another type of seed. And you are not defective just because you don’t feel safe opening up to someone.
If you don’t feel safe, vulnerability is not required of you. In fact, vulnerability should never be a requirement. Appropriate vulnerability is earned over time. It is absolutely a part of a healthy relationship, but it should never be coerced.
On the reverse, vulnerability shouldn’t overstep the intimacy level of a relationship. That stranger you just met in line at the supermarket doesn’t need to hear about the trauma you’ve survived, your fight with your best friend, or your how your parent’s divorce is affecting you.
If you need to talk and don’t have friends or family that you trust enough to be vulnerable, go see a counselor, inner healing practitioner, or pastor. That is what they are there for.
Lesson 2: You’re Best at Being You
My favorite flower is a daisy. I love that they are unapologetically simple and brighten up anywhere from the grandest herbaceous border to the farthest out of the way field. I love that no matter where they are located they never forget that they are daisies and they never feel ashamed to bloom beside a “grander” flower.
You see, plants are completely true to who they are. Unlike us, they don’t really have any other option but to live out their DNA. Even from a tiny seed they have almost everything they need to become their mature self. With water, sun, and nutrients from the soil they will flourish. We too have almost everything we need to become our best mature selves from the very beginning but too often we see those around us and long to be just like “them”.
What we miss is that if you spend your time trying to be someone else, chasing someone else’s dream, you will be tired, unhappy, and overcritical. There is peace in knowing and operating in your inherent strengths. There is peace in being unapologetically you.
Lesson 3: Growth Requires Change
To grow and become the plant that it is destined to be a seed must quit being a seed. A seed, when given the proper conditions, will die to itself, becoming vulnerable and embracing the future. Without the change from seed to plant a seed is just a dream of what could be.
A seed is potential and promises but without letting go of that identity of seed, without risk, it can never fulfill that potential within it. At some point a seed has to stop identifying as a seed and start being a plant. There are many identities we take in life that suited us for a season, but at some point will hold us back if we don’t let them go and step into the next stage of our development.
Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.”
– Christine Caine
So many moments in life are seed moments. Moments when our choices and the choices of those around us can set a dream to life or keep it in hibernation. Moments that can provide a safe environment to take a risk or completely smother a dream.
In nature, it is inevitable that some seeds just won’t germinate or will but will die soon after. Know that in life, because of choices you make or circumstances outside your control, many of your hopes and dreams will never come to fruition. This is just life.
Some of these will be funny later like your five-year-old dream of being Willy Wonka; while others you won’t be sure you can ever recover from. But know that you are stronger than you give yourself credit. Get help, heal up, and push on. These losses are often the catalyst that pushes us to maturity.
Lesson 4: “Just Bloom where You’re Planted” is Horse Manure
I cannot begin to tell you how many times over the course of my life I have been told, “Just bloom where you’re planted” (or some variation thereof). I can tell you that as an independent thinker I called horse manure (and I don’t mean the fertilizer) on it from an early age and have only become stronger in that conviction over the years.
You see, people are a lot like plants: we have different preferred growing conditions based on our personalities, love languages, enneagram, and even our cultural lens.
Some plants thrive in the dessert, were the sun is blistering and water is scarce. Some thrive with their roots in the bottom of a pond. Some prefer the deep shade of a forest floor.
If I were to take a water lily and stick it in the middle of a dessert it would shrivel and die in an afternoon. If I take my sun loving tomatoes and plant them in the shadiest part of my garden It doesn’t matter how many times I tell them to “just bloom where they are planted” they are not going to do well.
The tomatoes are not “bad” or “defective” because they are unable to thrive in the shade. They are simply planted in the wrong place and cannot be expected to bare an abundance of healthy fruit until they are moved.
Are you planted in the right place?
This is more than just where you live or work. This is the people you surround yourself with, the judgments you’ve made about yourself, and even whether you drink enough water throughout the day.
- Find a person or group of people that challenge and encourage you. For some lucky people this will be their family but many are going to have to look elsewhere to teachers, pastors, counselors, or therapists or even to small groups for likeminded individuals which you can find online.
- Stop being mean to yourself. I’m not talking about honesty here, I’m talking about the constant barrage of comparisons, failures, and criticisms that you have for yourself.There is a time to take an honest look in the mirror and admit that you made a mistake but then you fix it if you can and learn from it if you can’t. How you talk to and about your body specifically is a huge deal.
- Are you taking care of yourself? Your mind and body can’t be expected to thrive if you won’t even stay hydrated. Yes. It is that important!
Being a Good Heart Gardener
If you struggle with vulnerability take a self-evaluation. Ask questions like: When was the last time I felt safe? What does safety look like to me? Do I feel unable to be vulnerable because I feel ashamed? Who are people who broke my trust? How do I forgive them? How do I forgive myself?
Be true to yourself. You have talents and vision and dreams that have been growing and developing inside of you and it’s soon coming time for the seed to die and the plant to grow!
Whatever relationships and influence you have in other’s lives, be the place where seeds are safe to be planted! Be ready and expectant of big audacious dreams to come from unassuming places and do your best to provide the water, sun, and nutrients for those little seedlings
Meridee Watts lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and son. She has her bachelors in crisis counseling and her certificate in Horticultural Therapy through which she brings her love of gardening together with her passion for healing people’s hearts. She is also an instructor with The Inner Healing School teaching the foundations, skills and ethics needed to be a competent and compassionate inner healing minister.