9 Lessons For a Better Year

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The earth is a most magnificent teacher, not just of how to best interact with her but also of how to make our own lives bloom. In the spirit of the new year, of this magnificent opportunity to cultivate the life you desire, I offer you these 9 life lessons from nature.

Lesson 1: YOU are not a weed. (You may just be a wildflower planted in a rose garden.)

Call it whatever you wish but our source makes no accidents. Too many truly extraordinary human beings are walking around on this planet feeling like they don’t fit, like they are broken, or that they don’t belong. I don’t care if it was your parents, teachers, peers, spouse, church, or the images portrayed in the media that led you to believe that you are a weed but it is a lie… and you have to stop believing it.

You are perfectly imperfect, just like the rest of us. You may very well be unlike the others but that doesn’t mean you suck, it means you’re a Wild One. That means you’re one of us… and your life is a gift.

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.  – Rachel Carson

Lesson 2: You find what you seek. Seek intentionally.

I know it seems simple but seriously, it matters. If you want a beautiful life, look for beautiful things and wallow in them. If you want love, look for opportunities to be loving (in a healthy way). If you want abundance, surround yourself with things (images, quotes, books, people, etc.) that teach and remind you how to feel abundant. If you talk to yourself all day about how there isn’t enough time, energy, money, help, or whatever else you need, then you will absolutely find proof of that everywhere you are. There are too many ways for us to cultivate a different way of showing up in the world for anyone to keep living with the same old crappy life.

Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders. – Henry David Thoreau

Lesson 3: Your dreams are your plans. Live them.

We all want our lives to make sense. We want to feel like we’re making a difference. Still, I see people searching and searching for what they are supposed to be doing. What are you good at? Do that. What makes your heart sing? Do that. What was the thing you did that cultivated the most dramatic results for you and the people you were serving? Do that again. The answers are not “out there” somewhere. Your answers are within you. Look within. Ask questions and when your soul whispers… for the love of all things glittery, do what it says!

(And if you don’t know what that means, call me.)

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. -  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lesson 4: This is a lifetime, your lifetime. Calm down and be the real you.

All of these resolutions, goals, dreams, and such are just different words for, “I want to be me.” If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re saying you want to return to your true body size. If you want a new job, you’re saying that you want work that’s true for you. If you want to stop doing something destructive to your body, you’re saying that you want to live in alignment with your integrity, no more coping mechanisms. You’re saying you want to be you, the real you, after a spell of months or years of living like someone else.

This is about returning to your true self. It’s a journey, just like the road you took away from you that got you here. Be patient. Let go of the hysteria. Drop the desperation. Just breathe, decide what needs to be done, and take action–small, consistent, steps back to the truth of who you are–as frequently as you can bear it.

The more steps you take, the faster you’ll get home.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. - Lao Tzuis

Lesson 5: Take only the actions that are true for you.

Saying yes is a sacred act. Your resources–time, energy, money, attention, etc.–are all you have at your disposal. Think about how you’re using them. If there isn’t enough of you to go around, it’s time to reconsider. Think about why you say yes.

I ask not for a larger garden, but for finer seeds. – Russell Herman Conwell

Lesson 6: Live within your means.

You have this much space, this much energy, this much passion, and this much money… Are you wasting your life stretching and searching, when you could be cultivating true joy right here in your real world? We all want to live well, there’s nothing wrong with that. But, so many are missing out on true love at home while they are out trying to conquer the next level at work. So many are sacrificing their health to accomplish tasks that won’t actually bring them a better life. To thrive in the year ahead, consider if the actions you’ve been taking are going to cultivate the results you truly desire.

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change. - Buddha

Lesson 7: When life feels dark, remember the lotus flower.

During a particularly difficult time earlier this year, a friend said to me, “Lotus flower. Google it.” I did and you would be well served to do the same. When life is hard, meditate on this earthy lesson.

Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it. - Author Unknown

Lesson 8: Keep the promises you make to yourself… no matter what.

Once you decide what you want to be different, commit to reasonable daily action that will result in that transformation and then do it. No. Matter. What.

The new year is a tender time. Be still for a moment and enjoy the possibility.

Lesson 9: Make space for YOU in 2012.

If you’re like me, this door between one year and the next is a time full of reflection and anticipation. We make resolutions. We set goals. We dream. We intend to cultivate change in the gardens of our lives.

Then, we propel ourselves into the new year, into our big plans, and it works… at first. Then 12 months flies by (or crawls, depending on the year) and we’re back here again, reflecting on what was lost and gained, what came into our lives and what we released. We can’t help but notice how much changed in the past year, and how much didn’t change.

That’s right … we can’t help but notice what didn’t change–the book we didn’t write, music we didn’t make, weight we didn’t lose, trips we didn’t take, moves we didn’t make, debt we didn’t eliminate, relationships we didn’t nurture, habits we didn’t break (or adopt), leaps we didn’t take, and on and on and on.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Your home is your garden, and if you want to grow something new in your life, you’ve got to do more than walk around with the seed in your pocket. It’s time to clear space in the garden of your life, to make room for that seed to grow and bloom.

It’s time to make space for your life to bloom.

This year, let’s do it differently. You and me. Let’s create the space necessary for your resolutions or goals or dreams or change to become your reality.

If you need help doing this, then click here to learn more about the Sick of Being Stuck Classroom.

250 comments

Joe R.
Joe R.4 years ago

Thanks Christy.

Elizabeth O.
.4 years ago

Inspiring article.

Carole K.
Carole K.4 years ago

This article is overflowing with hope & optimism and devoid of judgement or criticism. I am the better for reading it today. I am convinced that often we are all our own worst enemies in that we condemn ourselves nearly every day of our all too short lives. I have few regrets in my own life & I feel I have made very good choices in the opportunities that were presented. Excellent advice for starting a new year or new life. Or, take it one day @ a time (that's all we get, anyway, right?);go out and plant your tomorrow, yet today! You have the seeds there in your pocket! This life/ garden analogy is awe inspiring & truly beautiful bc it is a basic simple truth. Live & appreciate what you can do today...............................

Carole K.
Carole K.4 years ago

This article is overflowing with hope & optimism and devoid of judgement or criticism. I am the better for reading it today. I am convinced that often we are all our own worst enemies in that we condemn ourselves nearly every day of our all too short lives. I have few regrets in my own life & I feel I have made very good choices in the opportunities that were presented. Excellent advice for starting a new year or new life. Or, take it one day @ a time (that's all we get, anyway, right?);go out and plant your tomorrow, yet today! You have the seeds there in your pocket! This life/ garden analogy is awe inspiring & truly beautiful bc it is a basic simple truth. Live & appreciate what you can do today...............................

Margaret F.
Margaret M. F.4 years ago

Thank-you for the article. A lot depends on one's own viewpoint. We are all a product of our environment. Yes one has to let go of the past to move forward, however, our past does have a sizable impact on us no matter what. Would it be possible to put all 9 lessons on one page to allow for easier reading? It would be appreciated.

Martha D.
Martha D.4 years ago

Thank you so much!! This is one of the best and most inspirational articles I've read in a long time!

Alison No messages
Alison A.4 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Aurelie Bonnet

Thank you for those great lessons !

Valerie A.
Valerie A.4 years ago

Thanks

Thomas W.
Thomas W.4 years ago

Thanks