I'm not a gardener by ANY stretch of the imagination. Maybe that's why I have so much trouble understanding seasons.
Here's what I'm learning:
You have to choose what to cultivate--heck, even what to plant!--based on the season you're in.
This process requires two things of us:
Before you can be fully present in your season, you first have to know what season you're in. Here are two important aspects of awareness:
- Call it like it is. When you are going for awareness, now is not the time to sugar coat. Just the other day, I found myself saying, "Oh, you know I just have a full-time teaching job, graduate school workload, a home being renovated, fitness to maintain, a marriage to pour into, AND a wonderful online community to cultivate. Maybe I can spend 10 hours a week doing something new." I'm sorry, WHAT? Then, a wise friend said, "Maybe it's okay for this season to be a maintaining season rather than a building one? Give yourself grace, it's only for a short time." My friend was wise enough to know that our seasons are not always going to bend to our wishes.
- Give yourself one small point of growth. Many times once I recognize where I am, I'm speedy-gonzalez-quick to jump to where I WISH I was at this point. That is not the point of recognizing your season, but I am also a firm believer that there is some way to grow in any and every season. So, start small. Like, really small. If you are a new mom in a stage of no sleep and no time, figure out something that takes 5 minutes a day (like praying out loud for 5 minutes a day!). If you are a teacher attempting to go after a big dream, maybe try something that takes 15 minutes a day (like writing a piece of a blog post instead of the whole thing). If you want to add to your marriage in this busy season, start with 20 minutes (like setting your phone down for a 20 minute dinner at the table).
Plant watering just seems like a logistical NIGHTMARE to me. I'm not quite as bad as Nick on New Girl, but I mean, how much do you water? How often? What if it's extra humid that day? What if you accidentally sneeze on the plant? Does that need to be subtracted from moisture consumption?
IT'S A MYSTERY, YOU GUYS.
However, I know one thing about watering.
If you're never actually THERE to water, those babies will never grow.
I'm talking about showing up. Rule #1 of being present everyone forgets to name as Rule #1 because it is so seemingly obvious. Not so obvious is the fact that many of us are choosing not to show up in our current season because we are pining for the next one or lamenting the passing of the last.
That season's gone, girlfriend. AND, the next one won't be nearly as great if you neglect to show up now.
AND, furthermore, if you haven't practiced showing up in the past, what makes you think you're going to show up when that next season--the one you've been waiting for--shows up?
So, tell me. What season are you in? What do you like about it, and what makes it hard?
P.S. Everything I know about "growing slow" I learned from Lara Casey. Also, everything I know about anything plant-related, I learned from Lara Casey! Her book Cultivate is filled with metaphors and practical connections between the growth of life and her process of cultivating a garden. It's inspiring, filled with the Spirit, and almost makes me want to go out and buy some herbs for my windowsill. GROW SLOW, RIGHT?
P.P.S. It's my dream to attend a Making Things Happen Intensive. Does anyone want to make small goals to get there with me next year? (I thought of that because it's happening right now, and was started by Lara Casey. It's relevant, promise.)