The Seedling of Patience

Patience–wish I had it. At least more than I do now.  Impatience is my strong suit. The last time I was discussing a problem I wanted to resolve, my coach rootnsproutsuggested just letting it ripen for a while. For a Myers-Briggs “J” –the one who checks things off a list, who is always working toward a goal, who makes decisions and even if they are wrong, who cares, it’s better than not doing anything–well, letting a problem stew didn’t seem like a good solution.

My coach, wise woman that she is, said–“think of the solution as a seedling. It’s just broken out of the ground and is searching for some light. If you come along and pull it out to get a closer look, then stick it in the ground, then do that every day, the seedling won’t survive.”

I could see that poor seedling getting pulled up every day, examined, and stuck back in the earth. I could see my impatience doing just that.  And how quickly fatal that would be. Some things do better when left to grow roots and shoots.

The story reminded me of another gardening metaphor on patience. Sweet corn zea_mays_-_kocc88hlere28093s_medizinal-pflanzen-283takes about 75 days to go from seed to picking an ear. Yelling at it to hurry up has no effect on the length of time. It doesn’t make the corn sweeter, either.

Some problems, some answers just need time to ripen. Even if we want answers and solutions right now. Knowing when to turn things over, as another wise woman I know says, “to the operating system of the universe,” is good wisdom.

-Quinn McDonald is a gardener at heart. She is learning to be a gardener of the heart.

22 thoughts on “The Seedling of Patience

  1. The seedling metaphor spoke deeply to my soul…letting each poem develop…writing, sitting with it, writing more with prompts from the poem…sitting with it…that always brings me the closest to a poem that is good. Letting the seed grow and give me more of a view of it without pulling out and re-working….taking those new shoots and writing about them…adding thoughts, gathering more “soil” for the poem to grow in,
    And, this same process always brings better textile work to life in my studio. To put up on the wall a piece…walk by, feel the energy created, letting it develop a voice and then to listen to that voice before just rushing to tear apart a piece…the seedling will now be the image that I go to when I am questioning anything I am creating. Much appreciation, as always, for your words and pictures.

  2. I hope when you teach clear professional writing, you mention the insertion of the word UP into everything…, sew up, cook up, etc. you get the drift. 🙂

  3. It’s a sad, sad thing that there is very little room and time for germinating thoughts these days. Especially in the academic world but elsewhere too. We ought to be “innovating” all the time, churning up ideas and solutions without a pause. That really feeds the monkey mind: feelings of hurry, impatience, inadequacy, failure, and making mistakes (both real and imagined ones). Usually, not just sometimes, good ideas take a long to time to ripen. We have all these ingenious machines to help us now. How come we seem to have less time?

  4. I was told by someone once that I did that “pulling up the seedling” thing and this was another reminder to trust trust trust and let go!

  5. Have you read Richard Carlson’s book: “Stop Thinking Start Living”? I’am also fairly impatient and like most(?) people tend to THINK about things too much – the root of many problems, which “grow with attention” as Carlson explains. Reading your story about impatience his view of wisdom came up. His says, and I quote: “Your wisdom comes from quieting down, …….and listening to your inner knowing”. He explains the role of negative thoughts; ….”dismiss all negative thoughts (and impatience?) surrounding the issue and quieten down. The answer will be there”. Letting the seed germinate and the plant grow…? I love your blog! Esther

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