This year my young daughter planted flower seeds in her garden bed and each day we went looking for the sprouts. We diligently stared and scoured, and analyzed every green bit in the dirt, “is it a weed, is it a flower, are there more than yesterday?” Each little poke of a green germination was celebrated and admired. We then carefully watered and tended and encouraged the sprouts to form into seedlings and eventually full plants. We cleared the weeds and made sure the soil stayed rich, moist, and balanced. Once the plants formed, we had another celebration: when they flowered!! And oh how they bloomed. Truth be told, I nearly cried when her first sunflower opened.
But what does this have to do with mental health? Today I personally had a moment of strength. The moment of strength was small, teeny, tiny and barely there. It would have been easy to miss, but thankfully I caught it and I stopped my busy mind long enough to stand still and appreciate this little moment, this feeling of strength and contentment and resolve. And because I stopped and admired it, that spark of strength and hope grew a little inside of me. And it was then that I saw the moment for what it was: as a tiny flower budding in the dirt.
Too often we see the mental health goals in front of us as huge, resolute, absolute standards. Strength is not an absolute thing that looks the same every time we engage it. Neither is self-love, serenity, peace, hope, organization, sobriety, or happiness. Any change in attitude, perspective, feelings or reactions will start small like the seedling. We must carefully search for the thing we want to grow in ourselves and when we notice it, we need to celebrate it for what it is – the beginning of something beautiful. We then have to water it, tend it, keep the soil supportive of it. If we do, if we cultivate the thing we want in our world, it will grow. Strength, resolve, hope, love, serenity, boundaries, organization, happiness, peace…..all of these things will start very small as you seek to grow them in your life. But if you become a cultivator of joy, then you will discover a full garden of your wildest dreams.
Summary: All goals are dynamic and start small and grow – and only what you feed and celebrate and cultivate will thrive.
1. What do I want to plant/grow/have in my life?
2. When have I seen evidence of the spouts of this element happen around me and how have I helped it grow in my life garden?