I just realized that I frame my life as a garden.
I’m all about the metaphors. The right metaphor can blow your mind and fire off epiphanies like firecrackers, and the wrong one will leave you more confused than ever.
Metaphors are how I teach people. I have so much fun figuring out exactly how to frame the explanation so that it makes sense…If the new fits nicely with what you already understand, then understanding is greatly simplified.
But when I explain things to myself, I always use metaphors around growing and gardens.
So what can that tell me about myself?
I believe you should grow where you’re planted
I believe in natural processes, and that you cannot circumvent them.
I find beauty in this organic process, even if I do feel impatience.
I believe that you have to give back, and nurture the soil that grew you, if you hope to gain anything from it.
I realized after my post yesterday, that it was easy to interpret my idea as quid pro quo deal, simply a laissez faire form of barter. And I thought about how to explain it, and once again, there’s the garden metaphor.
When a person goes about putting in a garden, particularly if they’re a new gardener, they often ask for advice. Experienced gardeners love to give advice, and give it freely, as a token of what brings them so much joy. Often, a new gardener is overwhelmed, because the first year is really a lot of work, and good friends might just invite themselves over to help her till the soil, lay the rows, plant the seeds and perhaps, if they’re very good friends, they’ll even weed.
The bulk of the work still falls on the gardener. She has to learn from the advice, know where to use help, know how to ask. And when harvest comes around, her first thought is to give back to those who helped her. NOT because it was quid pro quo, but for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to
- Look at this, I did it! And you helped. Have some garden-fresh tomatoes!
- What an embarrassment of riches. Who deserves this? Well, for starters all the people who helped me!
- You know, I never properly expressed how appreciative I was of your help, and I hope that you like zucchini cake.
- Hey, you know how you said you had a problem keeping mallow out of your garden? Well I found a cover crop of annual rye around the perimeter of the garden really holds the weeds at bay (solving problems for them out of your own experience lets you return water to the well)
There are lots of ways to nurture the soil you grow in. Every reason to do it, no reason not to. Actually, when you think about it, simply buying people’s time and expertise is a bit of a shortcut, like putting down chemical fertilizer. It’s not that I’m advocating dispensing with money, but I think that when I put more emphasis on nurturing the soil that grows me, I benefit through deeper relationships, more gratitude and I emphasize the abundance in my life.
It’s more food for thought, anyway. Want a carrot?