Cultivating seeds in the age of instant gratification.


There is much to learn from the simple idea of sowing and reaping, of planting and harvesting. For one, they don't come in the same season. We sow in one season. We harvest in another. Oftentimes, while waiting for the seeds to take root and grow, we become impatient. While sowing, cultivating and waiting, some will abandon the cart, to use a modern day e-commerce term, and others will get distracted and never return. What they lose isn't just the opportunity to reap a great harvest but also the patience that becomes a practice when you are a good steward of what has been entrusted to you.

I've been in business since I was 21 years old which is a long time ago now. Sometimes I look around and I think if I had known then that it would turn out this way, I would be happy with where it's all landed. There were many near wipe-outs and mistakes made along the way - all valuable although often crushing to my spirit. We learn so much more from our struggles than our successes though. It is in the sowing, the faithfulness towards my practice and my commitment to others (as well as theirs to me) through thick and thin that made it possible. It isn't brains or talent or luck although all contributed to where we are today. It's commitment and resiliency that brought us here.

On that same note, last Saturday, I spent my day at a mindfulness class - doctors orders and I'm not even kidding. It was transformative to be still for 6 straight hours and to learn how to become more curious about my thoughts, feelings and actions. There was also something incredible about slowing down my mind that created far more possibility. This is counterintuitive to the mindset that strives and drives to get results.

Despite the research and the neuroscience class I took in the spring, I questioned the value of it on the front side, had missed a few classes leading up to the all day session due to work commitments and in general, was reluctant to go even though I had paid for it. But I was reading Ray Dalio's book Principles and buried in the pages is that he takes time for mindful meditation. He didn't mention exactly how he quiets his mind but he is doing one of the practices. Bridgewater is a principled organization that is enormously successful. If it worked for Ray, it might work for me and so I walked through the door of uncertainty.

"Principles are ways of successfully dealing with reality to get what you want out of life."
Ray Dalio

One of the big ideas that came out of this experience is that our minds are powerful tools that need rest and are actually able to do infinitely more when we give ourselves this gift. No striving. Just being. Listening to the rhythms of our breath. Accepting that this is a gift to ourselves. Being still. It can change us - for the better which changes everything around us. Even in the Bible, God says in Genesis 2:2 "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so he rested from all his work." Rest can actually make us far more productive. That's an idea worth exploring and adopting.