Alas, the beautiful flowering rose bushes that captured our hearts at the garden center last week have turned to crunchy critters within a week of bringing them home, courtesy of unseasonable 100-degree temps here in Arizona.
The roses are in new soil and a new environment, which is tough enough on its own. Add to that the intense heat this week, and, as you can see, the combination is seriously threatening their progress.
It’s up to me, the caretaker, to figure out the right balance of sun and water these plants need to get through this significant time of change. I sure don’t want to fail within the first week and, with tail between my legs, beg the garden center to take ‘em back. After all, it’s not just one plant, but all three that are struggling. Besides the unseasonable temperatures, I am the only other common denominator in their struggle at the moment. If I’m being honest, I know that in the right hands, a skilled horticulturalist or gardening enthusiast would know exactly how to keep these roses not only alive, but thriving, even with this current challenge.
While watering the roses this morning, my thoughts wandered as I pondered the relationship between their current struggle and my own. I’ve been consumed for several years now with pursuing new goals in new places, so I knew there might be a lesson somewhere in there not only for me, but quite possibly for us all. The more I pondered, the more I realized that it’s not easy to take on a new challenge in life when there are additional conditions—a.k.a. pressures—beyond the already brave goal of pursuing something new. Often, trying something new means we’re forcing ourselves into new environments, which might include a new location to work in—a new company, state, country, or even working at home for the first time ever. It might also include new people to work with (and new personalities to get used to) or may even involve working alone for the first time ever. These changes, whatever they are for each of us, are the new soil we are planted in every time we take on a brave new goal.
The changes can be even tougher when we impose upon ourselves an intense pressure to get it right the first time, which many, if not most of us, try to do. This is how we unnecessarily turn up the heat in an already heated situation. We tend to create self-inflicted pressure that at best can be a living hell and at worst can result in throwing in the towel too early.
Unlike rose bushes that are subject to conditions they can’t control, we as humans do have some control over the conditions under which we operate. We, as adults, are our own caretakers. When the weather outside is too hot, we can equip ourselves with protective gear that diminishes the impact of a harsh sun and allows us to stand up to the heat while we do what we have to do. Only we can equip ourselves properly.
If we don’t effectively equip ourselves, we increase our exposure to crippling heat that will burn our efforts to a crisp.
If we don’t prepare for the heat we’re sure to face, we’re left with no choice but to get out of the sun altogether, which is totally counter to what we want and need. We all want to be in the sun when we start something new. We need to be in the positive, life-giving sun in order to grow.
In order to grow fully in life, to blossom when the heat is on, and to avoid unnecessarily adding heat to what change itself already brings, we must protect ourselves while we acclimate to new environments in line with new goals and new situations. We need to acquire internal protective gear that ensures we are better able to handle the heat not if, but WHEN it comes. When we proactively take care of ourselves, not only can we survive in our new endeavors, we can thrive in them.
Taking care of ourselves involves seeking BALANCE at all times in our lives, not just when we need it the most.
To stay BALANCED, we must, at a minimum, feed ourselves as we feed the roses . . .
- We must eat good food that satisfies our nutritional needs.
- We must drink plenty of water that keeps us optimally hydrated.
And then we must, at a minimum, do what ALL HUMANS ought to do:
- We must make time for exercise to let our bodies’ endorphins do their magic . . . keeping us positive and energetic.
- We must make time—preferably, first thing in the morning—to sit alone in silence, the goal being to completely quiet our minds for a while and then reflect on all that is good in our lives.
- And, we must stay connected with other people who are also focused on growing, making a point to include those who are focused on the same or similar goals as ours. After all, we share the same soil with these kindred souls, and generally speaking, we all do better when we’re working together and supporting each other.
Awareness is key. When we feel the heat while pursuing something new, we need to consider whether it’s strictly external factors turning up the heat or whether we are the ones turning up the heat on ourselves. If the latter, we can proactively take steps to mitigate our tendency to create self-inflicted heat. We can stay BALANCED and include these other important goals when we pursue something new: We can eat well, stay hydrated, get exercise, quiet our minds and then increase our gratitude, and lastly, we can surround ourselves with like-minded people who become our support system. Then, even if we’ve had a rough start in pursuing something new under intense conditions, even if we’re already burnt and crunchy on the outside, because, hell, this one’s a tough one, even then something beautiful can still blossom from the situation and that something is YOU!
Feed your body and soul, and your aspirations will flourish!
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