Wendy's Blog

Ya Gotta Start Somewhere, Right?

by Wendy Keller, author, speaker, woman who likes plants

If you grew up as an American kid, chances are high that at some point in elementary school, your teacher gave you a cup with your name on it, a dried bean and some dirt and told you to plant a bean.

You poked it into the dirt, probably drowned the poor little thing with water, watched it for a few minutes to see if it was growing yet, and then lost interest.  But one day you came to class and suddenly, a bunch of little green shoots were coming out of the cups!  How exciting!  This act of nature had no relevance to anything that someone might someday eat, but it was pretty cool nonetheless.  I have no idea why little kids do this experiment, but I was thinking about it this morning and realized it is a metaphor for how we create happiness in our lives after bad things have happened.

You start out with your body – the cup – and your parents write your name on it.  The joy you might have felt as a kid kinda withers and dries up as you get older, but the seed of life is still in you.  Life kicks a lot of dirt into your cup and pretty much that’s it.

But choosing to be happy means planting the seeds of happiness in your own life.  Watering it with your good wishes for yourself and setting yourself on a sunny windowsill – that is, putting yourself somewhere where you can soak up whatever good things come your way.  (Those are the two crucial steps that a lot of grown-ups forget!)

Then what? Then you want instant results.  You “unplant” the seed to see if it’s sprouted 10 minutes later.  You’re as impatient as a third grader! You tried, but you appear to have failed to grow a happier life. Nothing seems to have changed. But just let yourself sit there in the sun a little while longer putting yourself in the right position for happiness (which may mean leaving a dark place voluntarily) and sprinkle yourself with some more good wishes for yourself.

One day when you’re thinking of something else entirely, surprise, surprise!  The little sprout will have proven it’s got some life in it yet! You’re on your way!  Take good care of yourself this time, incorporate the lessons you’ve learned, do your best to always put yourself in a place where you’ll get optimal “sunlight”, and water your brain with good thoughts and good wishes.  Your hard work will bear fruit all in good time!


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