HOW TO GROW YOURSELF UP
By Karan Dennis
Have you ever been knocked down in life? Beset by seemingly insurmountable problems, obstacles and perhaps even betrayal or heartbreak? Well, I believe it happens to us all, because it is through these trying and arduous experiences, that give us the chance to grow and become more than we once were.
I was inspired recently by my six year-old son’s science experiment; you know the one in which a seed is placed in a clear container with moist tissue, so that the child may observe the seed’s growth? As someone who can get philosophical about navel fluff, I watched this seed grow with my son, but with a much deeper perspective from when I completed the experiment, all those years ago. It stings a little when you have to confirm to your children “Yes, of course seeds had been invented when I was a child”…but I digress.
Imagine you are the seed. This is who you are, and you believe you are complete and, for the most part, all that you can be. My point to you is this: the seed cannot imagine itself becoming a daffodil, orchid or oak tree, because it’s just a seed, and all that it is in its entirety. It has little comprehension of what it can be, of its potential, should it ever be plunged into the right conditions which would promote its growth. Look what happens to the seed next.
The seed is buried, in the dark and rained on. How many of us can identify with this analogy? How many of us have had days, weeks, months and years like this? Now the seed, if it was a sentient being like you and I, could reasonably believe this was the end – or at least something very bad and undesirable. However, the seed needs this undesirable set of circumstances and environment, to give it exactly what it needs, exactly when it needs it.
What’s interesting about observing the buried seed’s growth, is that nature dictates the seed must first grow down, to establish roots. So the seed has been buried, in the dark and rained on, and now must go even further down before it’s full potential can be realised. Without this period of further descent, without the seed taking the time necessary to establish a new, strong, grounding and foundational support, it would limit how high it could eventually grow, once the ground surface is broken. Nature – and the law of physics – dictate that the higher you want to go, the deeper and more solid your foundations must be.
As sentient beings, we are conscious of our life challenges, and we are often tempted to resist – or save ourselves – from having to go further down, because it’s invariably uncomfortable and upsetting. However, if we surrender and give ourselves to whatever may appear dark and hopeless in the first instance, we will be allowing ourselves to grow into far more than we ever thought possible. Just as the seed could not comprehend what it had the potential to be, neither do we half the time.
I am not suggesting we give up when life chucks us a curve ball, good lord no – have we met?! What I am suggesting is that when you feel like your life is going to Hell in a hand basket, is to search for the lessons and opportunities for growth. Understand and accept what is happening to you, and why. Acknowledge that this is a time for stripping away everything that no longer serves you, and embrace the period of growth and renewal. Ask yourself what can you learn from this (awful) experience? What can you gain from this? All too often we can focus on what’s been lost, without fully appreciating the fact that whatever is taken away, is always replaced by something of equal or greater value to you. I will leave you with this last thought…
All the buried seeds
crack open in the dark
the instant they surrender
to a process they can’t see
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