November 25

Growing Sunflowers

November 25, 2009

Personal Growth

I like sunflowers. Ringed by those outrageously yellow petals, their impossibly large heads stand ten feet in the air and perform a pendular dance every day as they follow the sun’s course across the sky.

I’ve learned that if I want to grow sunflowers, I cannot plant corn, tomato, or radish seeds. I have to plant sunflower seeds — imagine that. This is the Law of the Harvest — you reap what you sow — and it applies equally in our personal lives. We tend to be mystified by the fluctuations in our feelings and relationships, but how we feel is usually a predictable result of the seeds we plant.

If we choose to tell the truth about ourselves, think about the needs of others, and focus on gratitude for what we enjoy, it is absolutely guaranteed that we will harvest a crop of love, personal happiness, and fulfilling relationships. If, however, we choose to be offended, angry, and “right,” we can only harvest a crop of misery. It’s a law. We can count on it.

Regrettably, when we’re unhappy with our crop, we tend to persist in planting even more of the same seeds — anger, controlling, and being right — hoping that magically they will yield a different fruit. In our defense, we do this because the wrong seeds are the only ones we’ve ever known. Many of us have never seen the seeds that lead to love and joy.

Fortunately, it doesn’t matter how long we’ve been planting anger — or lying, or acting like victims, or running. We can choose to stop. We can tear up the plants that have grown from those seeds: our addictions to approval, control, and pleasure, among others, along with the misery that accompanies these addictions. We can plow the field and plant something new.

With every thought and every act, we plant seeds. We plant them in our own minds and hearts, and we plant them in the lives of others. What will you plant? It’s a choice, and the harvest is predictable. Examine each seed carefully.

Just as the seeds of sunflowers and corn differ dramatically in their appearance, so do the seeds we plant in our lives. Anger looks nothing like loving. Blaming has no resemblance whatever to telling the truth about ourselves. Selfish demands have no similarity to thinking about the needs of others.

Think about the fruit that each seed will yield, and make a choice to plant the seeds that will fill your soul with joy. Make a conscious choice not to plant the seeds that explode into the weeds that can literally choke out the light of the sun for you. Plant the seeds you really want to grow.

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