A Good Shake
the packet of seeds
asking, are you still alive?
~ Kiyoko Tokutomi
I planted my spring vegetable seeds the other week and anxiously waited for them to show signs of life. Alas! None of them have sprouted, so I optimistically planted more and am impatiently waiting for signs of life. But this haiku isn’t just about the viability of my pea seeds. It reminds me that in order to grow, I need to be shaken out of my desire to keep things the same.
When things are going well, I want everything to remain as it is. But remaining the same doesn’t bring about growth; it leads to homeostasis, and eventually stagnation. With no new input or stimulus, my body and mind go into efficiency mode where I stop using and doing new things. I see this in some older individuals whose world gradually becomes smaller and smaller as they do less and engage less. It’s so much easier than making the effort to create change.
In order to grow, I need to be challenged in new ways. This forces me to use different muscles or shift the way I think through a problem. A gentle shake is all I need to keep this forward momentum and so I practice putting myself in situations that challenge me just a little. Then when the universe thinks I need a greater force to change direction and to clarify my priorities, I can handle the sense of instability and uncertainty. Even with tornado force winds shaking my foundations, I try to see the opportunities and fresh perspectives blown my way. “Yes,” I answer, planting my feet firmly, “not only am I alive, but I will grow beyond what’s holding me back.”