We can’t always choose where we live, and we can’t control the exact circumstances of our lives, our health, our work or our family challenges. We can, however, choose our reaction to them. In gardening terms, we can choose to bloom where we are planted. Or, we can choose to resist and mentally or verbally protest our circumstances, which results in our unhappiness and a failure to thrive. Your reaction is your choice.
The Physical Garden
There are several layers of interpretation you can apply to ‘bloom where you are planted". First is the physical "garden" you find yourself planted in, such as geographic region, job, family circumstances, or school. I thought of this aphorism as the Search Committee from my church was negotiating with our newly announced pastoral candidate, who will be moving to Texas from Massachusetts. What a big change that will be for the pastor’s family, both geographically and culturally. But in choosing to bloom where they are planted, they will find great happiness here or wherever they go. Each one of us can find moments of peace, joy, and happiness wherever we are.
Gratitude moments help you bloom in your physical garden. I find myself reveling in the physical manifestations of springtime - the lush green of the trees, the flowers that resurrected in my garden, the number of green lizards that we find in our yard. Yesterday, a green lizard greeted me on my garden gate - I bowed in honor of her as she sat boldly on the gate, but had to shoo her away before I passed through. Yes, gratitude enables you to bloom where you are planted. Gratitude grounds you in the beauty and joy of the moment.
The Interior Garden
Another layer of interpretation is the interior garden we find ourselves planted in - the suffering or lack thereof that we experience. Many of us deal with chronic health issues or pain, while others grapple with inner demons of unhappiness, depression or low self-worth. A friend and I were remarking this week that as we grow older, we seem to weather the times of suffering better. We have more perspective that this period will "come to pass". We have a better understanding that we are not our bodies, or our thoughts or our feelings. Rather, our true self is above and beyond those temporal things; our true self is refined by these experiences but is not these experiences. That is not to say that I don’t despair or feel blue at times, but that the feeling passes more quickly than it did when I was younger.
I recommend coaching yourself to bloom in the interior garden in which you are planted. Remind yourself that you are not your thoughts, feelings or body. Remind yourself that your connection to Source is your true self. Acknowledge and honor your true self and pay more attention to it than the physical or interior garden. That is how to bloom where you are planted.
How do you bloom where you are planted?