Posted March 6th 2016
How Does Your Garden Grow? Tending Life's Garden - Spring
where all love's litanies repeat,
when grounds settle
and the time is right
we brew hope
like a small fluid contract...
Diane Ackerman, Letter of Retainer
This morning I could hear Spring outside my window. The Dawn Chorus had begun and birds were singing their hearts out declaring their territory and their desire to attract the best 'chicks', excuse the pun!
At home there are buds on trees and already the wondrous display of hope over a sometimes bleak winter has begun. Each plant takes its turn on the stage of the best show in town: Spring. Each week there is something new in the garden as it emerges from hibernation with new growth and jewel coloured blossoms.
In Chinese medicine the element that is related to spring is wood. Wood has the ability to grow upwards and downwards at the same time. As humans we do that too when we look after mind, body and spirit. If we take care to ground ourselves and stay aligned in our core values and what is most important to us then our roots go deep. If we stretch up to who we truly want to be as human beings, professionally and personally then we are more likely to flourish. That alignment can help us stay clear about where we are now. It helps us tune into and resonate with the 'note' that is truly our own. It will help us decide what to plant and seed for this year. It also feeds a sense of equanimity and confidence to be patient while we wait for those tender new shoots to appear.
The flavour of Spring
- Assessing new beginnings with enthusiasm and motivation
- Staying grounded in the power and wisdom you came to know in Winter
- Being flexible and supple
- Making a plan and clarifying some steps to begin with
- Creating relationships and partnerships
Early spring plants need to be greenhoused until they are strong enough survive outdoors. Young trees need to be staked. In French this stake is often referred as a 'tutor'. This brings to mind a kind of 'tree mentor' accompanying the young tree until it is established and settled. In organisations protecting the time and space for creativity and innovation is important even when there is so much business-as-usual going on. New buds of potentiality need nurturing.
I love working with the 5 Seasons because as a metaphor they teach us a lot about the importance of balance. For example, many organisations caught up in Spring energy focus so strongly on more and more newness, growth and expansion their people are stretched past the limit of their resources and can burn-out. It can be easy to get caught up in seeing only what isn't done yet or where another problem lies. What has been accomplished is acknowledged but through pressure of time can be done in a routine or cursory way. They may need to balance some Late Summer (the 5th season in Eastern traditions) ractices which include savouring, recognising abundance and appreciating the fruits harvested from Spring planting in a way that is sufficient for it to have meaning for people. This balancing is often tricky but is an important element in what we ask of ourselves and others.
Thoreau, On Walden Pond
Some qualities of spring
- Vision & clarity
- Birth & Renewal
Here are some SPRING questions that can be good for us or our clients:
- What do you want to refresh or renew this year?
- Where might you need to take a stand, hold your ground?
- What needs to come out of hibernation?
- What aspects of your life would grow by being more consciously benevolent?
- Where do you need to be brave and take a chance?
Take ten minutes one day this week to walk in a garden or park near you and really notice new growth around you in nature. What can you see with a Beginner's Eye?
Make a list of three micro-actions that you can take that will give you an instant boost to your step, or make you smile
What is one quality in yourself that has been a help to you over the last few months?