In this part of the world, it’s springtime—a time for planting seeds for the gardens we hope to harvest later in the year.
We all know that we bury those seeds in the earth so they can die and, through that death of the seed, bring forth new life in the form of whatever plant we have sown.
It’s a hopeful, encouraging image for those of us who may be facing the death of some part of our lives. Imagining that part of our lives as a seed that will bring forth new life gives us hope that there are better times ahead for us as well.
While that it is indeed hopeful, there’s also a warning in this metaphor that is often overlooked.
When we plant seeds or any kind, the form of the new life that is produced is determined by the seed we plant. Always.
Grass seed will always grow more grass. It will never produce orchids or tomatoes or marigolds or oak trees.
An acorn planted will always produce another oak tree and never a maple tree or a lily or a zucchini vine.
A tomato seed produces a tomato plant, not a rose or spinach or a hydrangea.
Variations in the type of soil, the nutrients it contains, the amount of water it gets, or the quality of the sunlight it receives can cause variations in the size or health of the plant produced from the seed, but it won’t change the type of plant created.
That seems obvious, but it’s something we seldom apply to our own lives.
When some part of our lives die, we may change the conditions surrounding us, but we plant ourselves as a seed in those new surroundings without ever changing ourselves and expect a new, radically transformed life to emerge. We are shocked and discouraged when we discover that we went through all of that suffering only to have re-created the same old life in new surroundings.
Have you seen that in yourself?
A marriage dies. We choose a new spouse who seems so wonderful and different only to discover a few years down the road that we’ve re-created the same marriage in only a slight variation.
A job ends, and we wind up re-creating all of the issues from the old job in the new one we’ve taken. The window dressing might look different, but it’s the same old life in new clothes.
The key to real change in these times of death and resurrection is making sure to change ourselves enough from the inside out that the seeds we plant are actually a new kind of seed.
Something of ourselves still dies. We still find ourselves resurrecting into a new life whenever spring comes to our world.
It’s an ongoing, never-ending cycle of each of our lives. We can’t change the fact that this process happens; what we can change is the kind of seed we choose to become, so that when we are planted, we grow a new life that we can treasure.
It’s much like the art of kintsugi. Something breaks (dies) and is repaired (resurrected), but the lines of gold in the kintsugi repair make the resurrected life of the object different from what it was before it was broken. It is resurrected to a new life that is truly different.
That’s the choice you have with whatever part of your own life that has died (or broken or fallen apart). You can let it be a seed unchanged from what it was and grow a new life that looks much like the old one, or you can let yourself be changed and transformed so that the seed that is planted grows the new life you long for.
What kind of new life do you want to grow?
What do you need to shift within yourself to become the kind of seed that will grow into that new life?
How can you best support that shift and the emergence of that new life in your daily life?
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