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On the journey of self discovery there are some key elements we learn on the way, but we don’t always read about them in books. We all have our own journey and our own landscape to develop. We have our own personal taste to account for. Not everyone’s garden looks the same. We each have our own ideas on what looks right together and how we want it to flow. It is not our business to judge other’s journeys. Enjoy the landscape you create and let others have room to develop their own. You will have plenty of opportunities to give people seeds, it is up to them if they want to use them. A few things seem to be the same for all personal growth. After many attempts in breaking old patterns and developing new ones, here is what I have learned:

1. Personal Growth is a Process

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When we are ready to change, we tend to jump in with both feet and expect drastic results in a short period of time. This is NOT how it works. Personal growth is much like the process of planting a seed. First, you have to obtain the seed, then you have to find good soil to plant it in, then it takes a combination of care techniques to get it to grow properly. Some plants and/or trees need direct sun, and others need indirect sun. Every plant needs water, but some require less than others. We are as unique as the varieties of plants and trees that grow in the Earth. The process takes time. Just like any other type of life form, when we are sick, it takes us time to heal. We have to allow ourselves the time to form healthier habits and break old patterns. Some of the patterns have been embedded for generations. That requires a lot of undoing and changing of patterns. Give yourself time, be patient, and understand the process is different for everybody. Different methods will work for different people. The best way to know which way will help is to sample many different ways of learning. The ones that feel right will work for as long as they are supposed to, then it will be time to try something else. Some, like water for a plant, will remain essential, others will be able to fade away and change.

Doing too much at once is never a good idea. We tend to burn out and the seed can’t be brought to life. It takes awhile for unhealthy patterns to take hold, and it takes awhile to grow into healthier patterns, routines and habits. The process may seem slow, but think about the amount of time it takes to grow a garden from scratch or how long it takes for a tree to stand tall. Allow yourself the time to break one unhealthy pattern at a time while strengthening  the positive attributes you already have within you. Stay present in the process, it is the greatest gift of the journey.

2. Everything We Read, See, and Hear is a Seed

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We are given tons of seeds throughout the day. We choose which ones to keep and which ones to toss out. The longer we hold onto them, the more eager we are to collect more that will grow with the ones we already have. When we are given seeds of hate agendas, we can choose to plant them or throw them out. The most important thing to know, it’s our choice! We don’t have to plant every seed that is given to us, the stronger we become on this journey, the less we will plant. We will discover over time that we are in control of how things affect our lives. Be watchful about what seeds you are holding onto. When we put too much energy into them, they will begin to grow.

3. Everything We Say, Write, Think, and Do is Planting the Seed

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This is an important lesson, and one not to be taken lightly. We are the only ones who have control over which seeds are planted and which ones grow. We can choose loving ones or fearful ones at any moment. No actions come without benefits and consequences. We need to take responsibility for the seeds we plant. That includes the ones that were given to us by abusers, racists, narcissists, and overall miserable people. We can choose to believe and feed the hate and lies or we can rise above. Some people thrive on feeding us seeds of hate. Industries make fortunes on it, some want us to hate ourselves and others want us to hate others. Our reaction is we get the choice to plant it or throw it away. When we can see the person with compassion and forgiveness, we are throwing hateful seeds away and planting loving ones. When we are reacting in fear and hate we are holding onto it; we are planting that seed. The stories we tell our friends and family, is planting our seeds and giving seeds to them. What seeds do you want to give to your loved ones?

4. The Energy We Put Into Upkeep Determines the Health of Our Garden

IMG_2897Self-talk is the key! It all starts with the messages we are feeding ourselves. It will determine if we are going to grow seeds from love or fear. Our internal hate messages can grow some ugly gardens, filled with weeds, strangling plants, and poisons. If we are hurtful on the inside we are giving the people around us the seeds from our personal gardens. We are blaming, shaming, and overall spreading pain. We all have combinations of species both healthy for the life in our garden and/or destructive. Which one has the majority in your mind? The more we can treat ourselves with love, the more seeds of love we have to give out. We all know what spreading hate looks like, but do we truly understand how much power we give it by engaging in it?

Healthy seeds become flowers, food, healing remedies, shade, and oxygen. We can feed the world with our choices. We can also hurt more than we can even imagine. When we learn to have love and compassion for those around us and learn to forgive, not for the other person but for our own garden’s growth, miracles are born and flourish with the seeds of hope.

5. We Can Pull Weeds, Trim Trees, and Get Rid of Dead Weight at ANY Time

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No one has a perfect garden, if we were perfect, our journey here would be done. That is how we learn. We need to give ourselves a break. The most wonderful part of it all is that we can change the look of our landscape at any time. It is all about the work we are willing to put in. If we chop down an unhealthy tree without digging up the roots, it can still poison the foundation for new seeds to grow. Undoing the old patterns takes time to unearth. Understand, you are not perfect and everything that happens to us offers us great lessons. Sometimes it’s about how we will use it to help others. Other times we are exposed to things we need to see in order to break unhealthy patterns. We get what we need, trust the process. Your pain does not have to be in vain. It can give the world beautiful gifts of hope.

You may need to re-visit unhealthy roots that you thought you got rid of. They may reappear, so that you can dig deeper. In the end, it will be a gift, but it can feel more painful than you ever thought you could handle. Once it has all passed, look back; you survived! You are strong! Just keep pulling those weeds, tearing up the roots, and re-building a healthier space.

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If you are interested in planting more seeds of hope and love, follow From A Loving Place on Facebook and join me on my journey here. Find voices that ring true for you. Life can be an amazing adventure when we feel through the pain into awareness. Trust the process and be kind to yourself. Now, go create the garden of your dreams!

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

**Every photo except the orchid picture was taken on 3/18/2016 at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida by Rachael Wolff. The orchid picture was taken a few weeks back.

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