I became a keen gardener quite late in life – and now I love creating beautiful outside spaces to enjoy.
All gardeners will know that it makes sense to invest our energy and time into the environment and the soil in which plants grow, so that the root systems become healthier and more resilient. The plants can then withstand and tolerate much more adverse conditions. I’ve seen during this very hot summer how some of my plants have flourished, and others have just given up the ghost unless I get the hosepipe out every ten minutes!
Sometimes though, as inexperienced gardeners, we focus only on the fruits and the flowers – cutting corners through our impatience and misunderstanding.
“You stumble through your days
Got your head hung low
Your sky’s a shade of grey
Like a zombie in a maze
You’re asleep inside
But you can shake awake
‘Cause you’re just a dead man walking
Thinking that’s your only option
But you can flip the switch and brighten up your darkest day
Sun is up and the colour’s blinding
Take the world and redefine it
Leave behind your narrow mind
You’ll never be the same
Come alive, come alive
Go and light your light
Let it burn so bright
To the sky
And it’s open wide
Songs by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
These words, together with many other lyrics from “The Greatest Showman” by 20th Century Fox, seem to sum up for me how many people I meet live their lives.
More importantly, the chorus of “Come Alive!” is so resonant of the impact that the understanding I share with people has on their lives.
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them. “ Henry David Thoreau
Lately, I’ve been working with several people who admit to a fear of being visible. An anxiety about being ‘seen’. Not showing up and shining in the world. Keeping their song, their gifts, their talents inside them. Hiding, for fear of being judged not good enough.
And yet it also seems clear from anecdotes and research that, at the end of their lives, it’s never the things people have done that they regret. What they regret are nearly always the things they didn’t dare to do.
Here’s a metaphor that may offer a different and helpful way to think about it.
This metaphor was shared by Anita Moorjani, who has written widely about her near-death experience in her book “Dying to be Me”.