Learning patience from seeds

Patience is not one of my strengths. I tend to want results, and I want them NOW. When I don’t see the growth I think should happen on the timetable I think it should happen on, I either push harder or become discouraged and give up. Neither approach generally turns out to be particularly helpful.

Unfortunately, life does not work on my timetable. Growth happens at its own rate, in its own time, in its own way. My job is just to be present and open and faithful to my practices (like yoga) that nurture growth.

“When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet. You simply water them and clear away the weeds; you know that the seeds will grow in time. Similarly, just do your daily practice and cultivate a kind heart. Abandon impatience and instead be content creating the causes for goodness; the results will come when they’re ready.” ~Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron

I generally don’t have the patience to plant seeds. My entire herb and vegetable garden this year is planted from small plants from the nursery to speed up the process of getting to the desired end (yummy things to eat). Given how late in the season I got around to getting my garden started, I really didn’t have much choice if I wanted a harvest before the end of season. However, I have grown things from seed before, and I know that the process of sprouting and plant growth happens in its own time.

This is a helpful metaphor for me to remind myself of when I’m feeling impatient at the seemingly slow progress I am making in some area of my life. The growth seems slow only when compared to my “should” about the growth rate, once again showing that my impatience comes from my shoulds.

Maybe next year I will try to start my garden from seed just to remind myself that growth happens in its own timeframe, not mine. In the meantime, I need to keep reminding myself that I am a seed, and my time on the mat is my way of watering and feeding that seed to nurture its growth.

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