I used to be someone who pushed her way through life. I thought that the more I did, the better life would be. I have even been endorsed on LinkedIn as a ‘Force of Nature’ for the way I get things done in my professional life.
But I’ve learned that sometimes, no matter how much I try, I can’t make some things happen. Some things just happen organically in my life, whether I am involved or not. And some things, no matter how hard I try, are just never going to happen.
Almost a year ago I came across this poem by Naomi Long Madgett.
I wouldn’t coax the plant if I were you.
Such watchful nurturing may do it harm.
Let the soil rest from so much digging
And wait until it’s dry before you water it.
The leaf’s inclined to find its own direction;
Give it a chance to seek the sunlight for itself.
Much growth is stunted by too careful prodding,
Too eager tenderness.
The things we love we have to learn to leave alone.
Isn’t it beautiful? I printed it out and it hangs in my bedroom to remind me each morning that sometimes I need to trust a greater force than me and leave things alone.
At the time I found it, I was going through a series of crises in my personal life, the largest of which was a feeling of alienation from my daughters as a result of my separation from their father.
This poem spoke to me. It reminded me that just like the young plants in the garden in Spring that grow without anyone tending them carefully, the more I trust and believe in myself and the foundation I have built with my girls, things will come good in the end.
As it turns out, over the past year I’ve had many days where I have found myself in a situation where these words have calmed my mind and brought me comfort. The poem also reminds me to not be so quick to dive in headfirst to try to solve a problem.
I see how in the past I have been too quick to dig. Too quick to water (perhaps drowning a situation through my caring) and ruining what could have grown into something true and strong.
It’s Spring at my parents’ house currently and when I was there a couple of weeks ago I could actually see the plants in my mother’s garden growing in size each day, becoming stronger, greener, healthier. No one was digging around them or watering them; they were capable of looking after themselves since they had been planted in well-fertilised soil and given a good start in life.
As I’ve learned to let go and not force things with my daughters, I have watched them grow stronger as they deal with their parents’ separation. They are healthier and more accepting of the situation they have been thrown into. I’ve given them the best start in life that I could. And I am available for them when they need me. I have to trust now that they will recognise that as they grow older and follow their own directions.
The poem continues to speaks to me in regards to other situations too.
This week three different people, none of whom know each other, all came to me for advice about wildly different issues. In the end, the poem fit each of their situations perfectly and I shared it with each of them. I get the feeling there must be something going on in the Universe this week that this poem speaks to.
I love that I am less quick to offer judgement and advice these days and offer poetry instead…
I love this poem. I tend to jump in quickly too, particularly if there’s someone I care about who is struggling with something – I jump in to offer help and advice, and my intentions are good, but sometimes it’s better just to let the other person sort things out for themselves. Sometimes a person just needs time to think.
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