BY ERIN CARPENTER 

 

Have you ever finished something–something that took all the energy you had, and once it was over, everyone asked you this one scary question?

What’s next? 

It seems we can only savor a milestone for seconds before our anxious thoughts re-direct to the future. Lately, I’ve felt that anything I’m doing isn’t successful enough. Yes, I’m doing these many things, but what if they never grow big enough? Should I start a better business, just in case? Should I apply for an exciting new job? I’m overstimulated, exhausted, and never have enough time, yet I’m always seeking the next thing. The thing, which will undoubtedly make me fulfilled and happy and successful. But instead, I wind up lost and burned out. What a surprise.

One early morning I snuck onto my front porch with my coffee and journal and God. Next to several bulleted lists of life plans was a blank page. In the quiet, I felt words wash over me.

Grow the seeds you already have before you plant any new ones. 

Each of our lives are full of many, sprouting seeds. Each is a gift that needs tending and time. Who are we to say that “success” means chasing a career or doing the most? What if success is remembering a birthday and writing the card? What if success is making that beautiful dish you saw on Instagram for your family? What if success is showing up to the work you have and doing it well, instead of wondering what else is out there?

Sometimes I say it out loud as a reminder. “Grow the seeds you already have,” I say as I clean the toilets of our Airbnb until they shine; as I re-fold towels until they are perfect. “Grow the seeds you already have,” I say, as I send out emails for a community event at our laundromat, and as I call my mom.

For me, it’s a reminder to dig deeper into the life I already have. Each seed has the potential to grow into a beautiful, fruit-bearing plant. But I’m impatient, and I want to plant more. But if I do, the seeds I already have will wither away. And instead of more produce, I’ll have none.

These small things makes life alive.  Let’s take joy in watering them, sitting in the dirt with them, until they are beautiful and blooming and producing good fruit.

What are the seeds you already have in your life?

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