I love this time of year in Boulder. Everything is so vibrant and in bloom. The world seems so full of color, strength, abundance, and possibility. These days I find myself looking to nature—and observing how perfectly everything works—and wondering if I can use that as an example for myself, as a metaphor for my own body.
Several weeks ago, I moved a large plant I’ve had for 15-years outside to add new soil. The tallest tree limb didn’t quite clear the patio door and accidentally got chopped off. I felt so sad. After adding new soil, I stuck the broken tree top into the pot, hoping it might take root with the bark that remained. For a few days, the tree top drooped and some leaves yellowed and I considered pulling it out. Yet now, only 4 weeks later, the leaves from that broken tree top are sturdy, strong, and green and seem to have taken root in the soil. Additionally, and much to my delight, I noticed that the broken trunk now has a tiny bud coming out where a new tree top will emerge!
Things break, then they heal. I didn’t do anything except provide my plant with the right conditions (water and sunlight). It just knows what to do. Is this the same for our bodies? Lately I am asking myself that question: what if we consistently give our bodies the right conditions and then just get out of their way? The healing capacity for everything is already there—it’s something we need to connect with, not something we have to “do”.
I thought about this metaphor again, when I began noticing that our garden wasn’t producing fruits and vegetables as abundantly as it had last year. First we joked that we must have had “beginners luck” last year. Then, as I cleared out a few plants that had gone to seed, I noticed how wet the soil was. I immediately remembered that we had set up our drip system right after adding our new soil/compost and planting our seeds/seedlings, but we had never dialed it back in all of these months. We immediately cut back on the amount of water our garden was getting and practically overnight our tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers started to produce more buds (which are now healthy vegetables).
This observation made me think about our bodies again. More isn’t necessarily better. It doesn’t even matter what kind of “more” we are talking about because it’s all about balance. It’s about providing the right conditions to allow something to thrive. I believe that it takes a certain presence and intuition to discover what those conditions are, both in nature and within each of us.
Nature has so much power to grow, to thrive, and to survive. I look at the mint in my backyard, growing out of the tiniest crack in some cement. It’s made its home 3-feet from my garden beds in only a dusting of dirt, yet it is 2 feet tall. What makes its growth even more amazing is that we have never even planed mint in our garden, yet it found its way there! And then there’s our raspberry bushes that have gotten so huge that they are growing upward through the slats in our deck to find more light. There is no hesitation, no fear, no “what if I won’t make it?” This is just what nature does, and it seems to do it in the most uncomplicated of ways.
As someone who has always tried to “do”, to accomplish, and to figure things out, I am trying to allow myself to simply follow the lead of these things thriving all around me. To see the ease and the effortlessness surrounding me in nature, and invite that as a mirror for what is possible within.