When I was a very little girl, my father planted a garden in our back yard. Of everything that was planted, I only remember two things. The zucchini, as they will do, took over the world. They grew to immense proportions – some so large that my tiny mother, all of 4’9″, could barely hold them. And the strawberries. And therein lies a tale.
My father wanted strawberries desperately. He watered. He pulled weeds. He hoed the soil. He talked strawberries. He dreamed strawberries. No strawberries. Year two, he added fertilizer to his routine. No strawberries. Year three, he gave up. He did nothing. And the strawberries grew in great abundance.
Acting and Waiting
Why is this important? This morning I was thinking about all the time I – and probably many of us – spend acting, acting, acting. Some days I feel that if I haven’t been a whirlwind of activity I have been lazy and unproductive. I work myself into a frenzy without a moment of reflection. And then, like my father, I am disappointed that I’m not seeing results. I must have done it wrong. There must be something wrong with me. Everybody else has a bumper crop; my fields lie fallow. It is then that I remember those strawberries. Sometimes, the most important thing to do is nothing. Have faith. Expect good outcomes. Give it a little time.
When I pause, reflect, and rejoice in the good things around me, I see my life and my business differently. I sometimes make a list of all the good things that have happened. I sometimes take a moment to recall pleasant surprises.
I trust that good things will continue to appear. I don’t stop working and experimenting and moving forward. But I do it in a calmer manner, knowing that even baby steps get me closer to my goals. Knowing that letting projects and connections ripen is part of the work. I recall a line from John Milton:
They also serve who only stand and wait.
That not only restores a sense of balance but also reminds me of all the great work accomplished by those who knew how to wait. How mindfulness and reflection are integral parts of forward motion. And maybe ignoring the strawberries is too.