Written By: Mark Smith
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"No gardener ever made a rose. When its needs are met a rosebush will make roses. Gardeners collaborate and provide conditions which favor this outcome. And as anyone who has ever pruned a rosebush knows, life flows through every rosebush in a slightly different way.” Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
What would your life look like if you fully realized all of your potential, if you blossomed into all that you were meant to be? Prize winning roses are a result of a gardener’s faithfully providing optimal conditions for the rosebush to do what it naturally does – produce beautiful roses. A rosebush needs sunlight, water, nutrition, treatment from harmful bugs and diseases as well as proper pruning to fully flourish. In the hands of a master gardener who loves her work and love the rosebush itself, the rosebush is free to thrive and explode with its full potential of gorgeous blossoms.
What special and unique blossoms are you destined to bring into the world? What climate do you have to build for yourself in order for you to maximize your potential to grow into the biggest and most beautiful you that you can become? What do you need the most to nourish your soul to give you the energy to conquer your world? What parts of your daily behaviors currently serve to plight and retard your growth and potential?
For me I need the following ingredients in the garden of my life in order for me to thrive…plenty of sleep, good food but not too much of it, deep challenging friendships, intimacy in my marriage, basketball three days a week, plenty of time to have fun, connection with my kids, reading related to my own recovery work, creative stimulation, support from my associates and a session of my own therapy every week. If I get all of the above then I am happy, well adjusted, energetic, healthy, a good friend, a good husband and father and good therapist. If I leave out several of these vital self-care regiments then I’m not only a poor therapist, I’m an unhappy and imbalanced human being.
What is missing in your garden? What is your soul crying out for? What is killing your zest for living and your potential to do great things? Are you settling for a job that doesn’t fit you anymore? Are you settling for an unhealthy relationship that no longer meets your needs? Do you indulge in addictive behaviors that make your life feel out of control and self destructive? Does a big part of you really want to quit smoking, quit drinking or cut off the emotional affair that has been simmering for months at work? In many ways life is simple. It is like the rose garden. If you take very good care of yourself you will produce beautiful things in your life that will bless you and all around you. If you neglect yourself, abuse yourself and numb out of various substances you will produce some really unattractive blossoms that will not be a blessing to anyone.
I watch American Idol each week with my kids. Many times the judges encourage the contestants to just be themselves, to let their unique gift come out. The contestants who have enough confidence to boldly be unique and different usually dazzle the judges. The ones who play it safe usually get called amateur karaoke singers by Simon Cowell. So it is with life for the rest of us. If we are energized by enough healthy self-care then we have the courage and the spark to dazzle everyone around us with our unique beauty and color.
Think about what changes you can make in your life to ultimately be happier, more effective and more able to reach your true potential in every area of your life. I encourage you to kindly and thoughtfully tend to the garden of your life. Everyone around you will then get to enjoy the beauty of your unique blossoms. See you next week.
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