Oct
31

Cultivating Hope

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I’m not a gardener. While I love having plants and flowers around me, once I’ve done an initial planting in the spring, I have no interest in tending to the garden while it grows. Weeding is always at the bottom of my to-do list.

But now, in late fall, I’m trying to get motivated to plant some bulbs to bloom next spring. I’d love to have daffodils in both the front and back gardens. The problem for someone as impatient as I am is that next spring seems awfully far away. I really have trouble believing that if I dig up the ground now and plant bulbs while the skies are grey and menacing, and the leaves are gone from the trees, there really will be flowers next spring. But the reality is that bulbs must have a long rest in the cold – they won’t flower without it. I guess it’s the same for long term planning. You really have to have faith that your efforts will create the results you want. And it doesn’t hurt to have some lucky weather along the way too.

So what do you need to create a long term plan that can keep you inspired and motivated?

Here are a few tips:

1. Think of someone you admire who persevered through a long winter of doubt and successfully reached their goals. Their story can keep you going through periods of uncertainty.

2. Keep your vision top of mind. Just as some gardeners create a visual plan of when and where flowers will come into bloom, you can create a mantra or a picture of what you want to achieve and post it where you will see it every day.

3. Spend time immersed in good soil — people who will nurture your dreams. Ignore people who don’t support you. To get encouragement about planting my bulbs, I look to a friend who is a patient and caring gardener, someone who knows from experience that a garden takes years of loving attention to reach maturity.

4. Most gardens need a pathway constructed through them. Every long term plan needs stepping stones that are clearly marked and identified and are directed toward the goal.

5. Create a way to monitor progress. Although I can’t see my bulbs under the leaves and snow, I can see the winter months pass on my calendar and know that spring is coming.

6. Stay hopeful. Hope is not a plan, but it’s what inspires a plan. Gardeners know they have to do steady work all through the season, but they also live in hope that next year’s garden will be more magnificent than ever.

Imagine your long term plan is quietly and steadfastly unfolding every moment of every day. Look and listen for the clues that reveal themselves when you persevere with your plan. It is a work of art.

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