This past weekend Ryan and I built a garden after months of contemplating where to put it, what to grow and if it was even worth it. Through the process of creating this garden, I had several insights about my behavioral idiosyncrasies and how personally challenging this next chapter of life is going to be.
I was a bit burned on the garden venture from our first attempt to grow veggies in pots on our deck a few years ago, which failed miserably. After letting time pass, we were ready for round two of “Operation: live off the land” and headed to Menards, Home Depot and Lowes to purchase all we needed for this experiment. The shopping part of experiments, are always the most fun aren’t they? As US based retailers, these companies know how to get us excited about new projects, with cute tools, sumptuous seed packets and nostalgic gardening gloves. If only everything was as easy as shopping.
With a lot of fun garden accessories, seeds and a tilled lawn, Ryan built our little garden and I planted some tomato plants. I was going to plant all the other seeds we have and then I started reading gardening advice and blogs and I became paralyzed. There are literally millions of suggestions on how to create a tomato and zucchini, first you must start with organic fertilizer in the seed hole, water every other day, provide direct sunlight and sing to the plants nightly (I kid, but this is not out of the realm of reality). My dad made cultivating a garden look so easy, heck we didn’t even have internet until I left home—I have no idea how he did it.
This realization led me to remember a quote I recently found, “don’t compare your beginning to someone’s middle” by Jon Acuff. Comparing yourself to someone’s end results of their journey and feeling like you are falling short is like comparing an infant to her 5 year old sister who can walk, talk and go to school and getting frustrated with the infant for being so behind. None of us would ever consider this a fair comparison, it sounds plain silly. Yet, we compare ourselves all the time to other people’s achievement journeys without understanding everything that went into building what they did.
In addition to garden gazing, I’ve also been looking at a lot of life coaching sites, finding them to be captivating, wondering how all this magic happened when it feels so far away from my reality. Gazing at their credentials, their accolades and “likes” on Facebook with astonishment in how they created this power house of a business and brand. The challenging part in this juxtaposition game of mine, compared to previous times I’ve played—is that I don’t even know where the rule book is.
In all my other endeavors thus far, there has been a script or at least syllabus to follow. Check boxes 1-100 and put time and effort in and you will get X result. The educational system and a corporate career have served me well in learning how to follow orders and meet deadlines. I like when there is a formula to follow, but this is definitely not one of those situations and neither is tending a garden.
A mix of intuition, risk taking, failure, success, vulnerability etc. pave the way of this new path and garden I’m creating. More trust in myself and the universe is needed than I have ever mustered the courage to ask for. It’s one thing to read a book about taking courageous action to follow your dreams, getting all motivated and writing down some plans; it’s an entirely different thing to leave your safe place, curiously walking into a jungle you are entirely ill equipped for.
If we had 100% certainty that every garden we planted would bear beautiful fruit, would we be more or less willing to partake in the process? With experimentation taken out of the equation, would it be as much fun? Would it feel as thrilling to see that first tomato sprout? Honestly, I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that one of the main purposes in this life time is to learn how to be comfortable with uncertainty, freeing ourselves from continual tabulations of cause and effect, trusting the universe. Without this trust, there is no growth or change, leading to a lack of creation.