One day, I was going through organizing my stuff from my high school years and stuff from my college years and stuff from right now. I have collected a lot of stuff over the years. In fact, we all do. Stuff. Stuff. Stuff. We acquire more accomplishments, more resume builders, more material items, more people, more experiences, more furniture, more exes, more, more more. Stuff. Stuff. Stuff.
As I was going through my stuff, I came across a poem on a card that someone gave me in high school. Albeit, it was written by Hallmark, it was given with meaning. And made me stop sorting through my stuff, my gains, my everything I’ve collected to remember what it is I have to give. Not stuff. A seed.
“A Story About You
Who in their life
hasn’t planted a peach pit
just hoping that somehow
a seedling would grow?
And then they move on
to some other adventure
and if it comes up-
well, they don’t even know.
That’s one way
of picturing your style of living.
You’ve planted ideas
and dreams unaware.
You’ve noticed somebody
whose heart needs attention
and planted a positive feeling in there.
It’s part of your nature.
You may not remember
the kind and encouraging
things that you’ve done…
are growing like crazy,
and people are blooming.
(I know it- I’m one.)”
This was given to me for my birthday in highschool from an old friend. Its message is simple yet grand. It’s not about the stuff. It’s about the seeds. It is not about what we gain but what we give.
When you help someone else you plant a seed. When you treat them for who you know they can be rather than simply for who they are, you plant a seed. When you speak as though a dream is attainable for someone, you plant a seed. When you share just a little bit of kindness and compassion, you plant a seed. When you give your time, you plant a seed.
When you nurture a person’s growth, you become like sunlight to that seed. Eventually the seed becomes a plant, and it faces where it gains that sunlight. You might not always see yourself as sunlight. But here’s something– everyone needs kindness. There is no one who could not gain from it.
You don’t have to have a lot of stuff in your house, stuff on your resume, stuff around you or stuff to even sit on. If you can spare a seed, you have far more than most. You have both humility and the gift of foresight.
I also once watched a Joel Osteen video that discussed this. Now, you do not have to be particularly religious to enjoy motivational speaking. Someone once taught me that you can learn from everyone. A wise girl once told me that she went to different tennis instructors to learn different techniques.
When you speak positivity, you plant a seed.
And to your obstacles, when you talk to them directly and say, “I will not face defeat. I will not be afraid of you,” you reach into the soil of your thoughts and take out the seed of fear. For there are many different types of seeds you can be planting. In fact, you plant all day. All day long you are planting seeds whether in the advice you give, the grudges you hold, the people you either motivate or criticize– you send them a message of who you are and who they are. You influence the narrative that they tell themselves about that journey. And in telling someone who they are and who they are not, you plant a seed. All day, every interaction is a chance to plant a seed. When you go out to eat, you plant a seed with what things you say to the waiter. When you go to work, you plant a seed with what things you say to your coworkers or how you address the issues around you. Your seed planting has power. The words you speak into circumstances create and can harvest a whole garden.
Many cognitive behavioral therapists in fact who work with patients with depression focus on the pattern of thought. The soil of the mind. Where and how we bury the seeds. Who plants them? Who do we listen to? And most of all, how do we plant our own seeds? How do we establish personal power in the face of what happens in our lives?
You don’t always know what seeds you are planting. But rather than focus on impressing others or on the outcomes, focus on being an inspiration for others to plant their own seeds. That way you don’t worry so much if your seeds get taken for granted or not given enough sunlight. If you have taught someone how to plant their own seeds, you know where your duty ends…and can focus on where the next one will begin.
Maybe your words will make someone’s day. And maybe just maybe someone will remember the words that you may one day forget. Just like I did until I opened that card and remembered I made an impact. Among all the stuff, that one seed mattered most upon going through and sorting the memorabilia of my life. Remember that. Plant a seed.