As we welcome in the increasing light at this time of year, and upon embarking on the lunar new year — on this February new moon, I invite you to consider: What seeds are you planting? — in your life, in your life’s work, in your relationships, in your surroundings?
With this edition of Soul Notes, we take a sojourn to the lessons of nature. Many cultures historically have lived in step with the natural seasons, and have survived by way of carefully planting, nurturing and cultivating the sustenance provided by mother earth. Let’s take a closer look at how this applies to our day to day world right now:
The seed (and seat!) of Creation
It all sprouts from a seed that’s planted: In nature’s acts of creation, as in ours. Everything stems from that! (There’s no coincidence here, that flowers have stems.)
To germinate, all seeds need oxygen, moisture, and a certain temperature. Until these conditions are met, the seed remains stagnant, dormant, lifeless. With the right conditions, the plant inside a seed starts to grow. As it gets bigger, it pushes open and through the seed coat. (Envision a chick hatching from an egg.) Leaves start to appear and push out from the soil.
Seeding puts into motion a series of events, consequences and possibilities. You are in charge of what you seed in your own life – through your own mind, body and soul.
So, the question to consider is this: Metaphorically, what are you seeding these days? Correspondingly, how much care are and will you be taking with what you are planting?
Reaping What You Sow: The importance of Nourishing, Nurturing and Cultivating
Mind, Body and Soul
It matters what we “feed” our plants. And, of course, it matters what we feed ourselves, our mind, body and soul.
This week I’m completing a 40-day practice of chanting each morning the 38-stanza poem or prayer known as Jap Ji. Jap (“repeat”) Ji (“soul”) dates back to the 1500s, and has been nicknamed the Song of the Soul. Reciting the Jap Ji (or Japji) is believed to awaken one’s soul to its destiny.
As a seed grows in soil, sprouting from the inside through and out its original coating, so too does our consciousness and our soul. One of the many lessons to be gleaned from Japji is this: With each challenge in life, our evolving up and through it, and out the other side, brings with it a new level of challenge AND possibility. With each challenge comes the opportunity to grow our trust, faith, and ability to learn from a new level of wisdom and understanding. As we expand, it is the “pressing against” the new coating, the new shell, which fosters yet again even further growth.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anaïs Nin
For the seedling, the energy required to “bust through” the original coating is much greater than at later stages. The initial growth spurts are fast and furious! Ever wonder why puppies are perpetually nodding off in their dinner bowls? As with seedlings, it takes a LOT of energy for puppies to grow so much and so fast! The energy expelled and the corresponding growth is so concentrated. So, too, as it is with our personal development and spiritual growth.
Among spiritual circles, you may be hearing the good news that across the globe we’re experiencing a rise in consciousness. Despite (or because of?) the ever-intensifying use of technology, instances of widespread violence, ongoing struggles and strife, and an overall prevalence of crises worldwide, there is at the same time an emerging collective devoted to the return to simpler times, and to a more centered, grounded way of living.
Is it any coincidence that among the vast morass of options for “fast meals,” “rapid weight loss,” and “crash diets,” we’re also seeing an increasing number of crate-to-plate restaurants popping up around town? Folks are looking to eat locally grown food again, and steering clear of processed substances, shipped in from faraway food factories.
And, for many, we’re taking time to make our own meals, or at least to settle in and enjoy our meals at a more leisurely pace, whether at home or while dining out. I’ve always admired the Italian way of embracing la dolce vita (the sweet life) that includes among other things, the slow deliberate enjoyment of a meal. In Italy, it is generally considered a disservice at a restaurant for the wait staff to rush you. Once seated for dinner, for example, you are granted the table for the duration of the evening. You’re not likely to find Italians looking up from their plates, impatiently pleading for someone to “bring the check.”
It is the care and attentiveness which brings an almost lyrical movement to living our lives. It cultivates the soil so to speak for our dreams and desires to take root, and for our creations to come into fruition. Matching the pace of nature, rather than overriding it, is SO rich. Nature has so much to teach us!
Without planting and nurturing our own ideas, dreams and desires, we run the risk of them laying dormant. They neither come into fruition nor flourish. In short, nothing gets created. The world then misses out on each of our own uniquely beautiful contributions to the world’s landscape.
So, I leave you with this:
Plant those seeds
Provide them due care
Sow and sow
Grow and grow
Embrace the challenges:
Okay, your turn:
What are you seeding in your life this year? What is calling within you to foster, nurture, grow?
I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!