I am looking forward to beginning a conversation with a group of women today about planting seeds of hope in their minds, bodies, and lives.
Women have been planting seeds of hope throughout all of history. Literally, they have looked around themselves and planted seeds in the ground of their lives: Victory gardens, small farm gardens, truck gardens, patches along alley ways, or window boxes over busy streets.
Maybe in the generations of women that preceded us, these women were not as focused on the finished product. I wonder if they might have actually imagined the satisfaction of the process. Perhaps they didn’t focus on the end result as much as with the daily commitment of gardening.
So, I began to wonder, what if I brought that wisdom of those women into the intentional planting of seeds that I want to grow in my life today, in this very moment. Seeds of peace in chaos, joy in uncertainty, and self-care in a time of carelessness.
First, you must choose what you want to plant. I don’t know about you, but I get excited by this part of the “garden plan.” I think about all that is possible. There are so many seeds to choose from. It is easy to get distracted from those things that will nourish my life. I somehow get seduced by all that is possible instead of choosing with intention those things that I need in my life right now.
And then you must tend the seeds you have planted. Tending requires patience and trust. For me, this is the hardest. I like seeing “results.” And seeds don’t work that way. They have a mysterious life that begins before you see even the beginning of the plant. You have to do all the right things — sunlight, water, warmth — without control of what is going on that you cannot see.
And finally, when you see the little shoots sprout through the dirt and grow into maturity, you must give daily attention to protect them from the weeds of dissatisfaction, judgment, anxiety, disappointment, and comparison. Weeds grow quickly. Without the daily attention, they can take over a garden. They must be pulled. And the plants must grow before the harvest of what you have imagined.
So, what does that mean?
For me, it means that I give myself time to walk, time to write, time to be with the unknowns in my life without distraction. In a practical sense, that means limiting my time on my phone and on my computer. It means allowing myself to feel uncomfortable with not seeing the end result of my efforts. It means trusting the process of life.
That is really hard for me. I find that as I focus on the intentional seeds that I choose to grow in my life, it does not become easier. In some ways, it becomes more challenging because I have to actually follow through and ground those choices in my daily life—planting and tending and protecting these choices with gratitude as I wait for their harvest.
I hope you can join me on that journey.
About Elizabeth M. Johnson, LCSW, LMFT
Therapist and Clinical Director
Beth has been practicing individual, relationship and family therapies in the Indianapolis and Greenwood communities for more than 30 years. She completed her studies through Indiana University, including 13 years of supervision specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Beth also is an artist and writer and has a passion for creating art and offering creative opportunities for women.