Farming in Italy has been teaching me many lessons about growth, balance, and patience. I have shared lessons about weeding your space, appreciating what you have to offer, and giving yourself what you need to grow. Today may be the most challenging lesson: time, waiting, and patience.
As a newbie farmer, everything is exciting to me. When I see a plant start to flower I am beyond excited for the vegetable that will soon grow and I start to become impatient. When I am watering the plants I keep thinking how I cannot wait to begin eating what the plants will produce. And then there is a lot of waiting. Plants, like change, work on their own time rather than on ours. I am reminded constantly that sometimes things do not happen on the timeline that I want them to. I am here to remind you of the lesson in this: things take time.
Most people understand that they cannot just plant a seed and expect it to grow strong, healthy, and be fruitful. They understand that planting requires nourishment, care, tending to, maintenance, etc. Where most get lost is understanding that the same steps are required to foster growth and change in ourselves. We cannot expect huge growth without putting time and effort into helping the change grow strong.
This is well understood in areas like business, for example. It is known that you cannot simply open a store and expect it to be successful without creating a thorough business plan. So why do we expect so much with so little effort when it comes to ourselves? I believe the answer put simply is that it is hard and it takes more time than we would like for it to. So we pretend that making one small change is enough, or that simply planting one seed will make everything change without any further effort.
I hate to be the bearer of news you probably already know: meaningful change requires ongoing effort. What is realistic and not that difficult is to shift our way of thinking. Adding the reminder to be mindful and patient throughout the process of change will help. Understanding that your “plant” whatever it may be needs more than what is “easy.” It needs more than a fast fix.
Instead of expecting quick fixes for long term changes, I encourage you to take in the journey and embrace change in all of its stages rather than just in its final form. When you notice yourself becoming impatient, remind yourself that the energy you are spending could be of better use thinking of the progress you have made, the feelings you are having along your journey, and whatever is happening in the present moment.
My takeaway lesson from farming is that life is wonderful when you can put focus on the small parts of the journey rather than just the destination. There is plenty of time to enjoy the destination when that moment arrives. Until then, enjoy the seeds you have planted, cherish the maintenance because it is a necessary step, and take in every part in between.