As we all learned in the first grade when we planted sunflower seeds in Dixie cups, plants thrive when their optimal growing conditions are met : when they have enough sun, shade, nutrients, water and space to grow.
Imagine a grove of succulent ferns. Or a meadow of clover and wildflowers. These plants live in ideal growing environments. They unfurl from tiny seedling to fully upright plant on their own time, in their own way.
And then imagine a rooftop garden. The collection of pots you filled with orphaned plants picked up at the nursery. Without your help, these plants don’t stand a chance. You, the gardener, will determine whether they grow or they wither.
In the same way, we act as caretakers for what’s unfurling in us. Sometimes we unfurl like those ferns in the misty grove … unimpeded, needing very little assistance. But if we aren’t in a supportive growing environment, we need to be our own gardeners. It’s on us to nurture and encourage our own unfurling by making sure its optimal growing conditions are met.
Stages of growth
Just for fun, imagine yourself to be a fern. For those of you unfamiliar with this plant, a fern has a yearly cycle that starts with a collection of fiddleheads – tightly coiled up spirals – nestled together at its base. Around these fiddleheads are fronds from last year, some dried up and falling over, and some still vibrant and strong.
Slowly the fiddleheads uncoil until the whole plant is a collection of fully upright fronds. This takes a few months. It’s an amazing process.
So if YOU are the fern, how can you caretake your own unfurling? How can you nurture what needs nurturing, and step aside to allow nature to do its thing?
Growing tips for your unfurling:
- Notice which fronds are coiled up and green. These bits of you are cocooning right now; they’re not ready for the light of day. Send them love. Be sure they aren’t weighed down by wishes that they’d hurry up already. Allow them the time they need for rest, incubation, the cooking of ideas. This is a vital and fertile stage. Appreciate it as such, and give it the quiet it needs to gather strength.
- There are some unfurling fronds you’ll want to give some extra attention. These are the ones that have dead branches on top of them and are growing sideways as a result. They are in their own way. See how you can help. Remove stuff that holds them back : fear, “should’s”, old stories about yourself that aren’t true, limiting beliefs. Work to keep the pathway clear so these bits can wiggle themselves upright, even if it happens in fits and starts. Even if there are long pauses. They want to free themselves. They will.
- Celebrate the fronds that are growing well. Be a cheerleader for this healthy growth. And remind them it’s not a sprint; they aren’t on a deadline. Smile at their enthusiasm. Appreciate the ease you experience as a result of these unfurlings.
- Show your respect and reverence for the ones who are fully upright. Notice what’s inherent in the way they occupy space. Be aware of the vantage point of the upright fern; it’s the endpoint of a long journey. Ask them to share wisdom they learned along the way.
We all unfurl various aspects of ourselves again and again. We unfurl to allow ourselves the opportunity to live with integrity; it’s a chance for us to find alignment. It’s the exquisite dance of coming into ourselves, and we all know the choreography.
What’s unfurling in you? What do you know about the life cycle of your unfurling? How do you get out of your own way?
Please share in the comments. I’d love to hear about the dance of YOUR unfurling.
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