Cultivate the Courage to Grow

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you truly are.”
—e.e. cummings

It does take courage to grow. A tendril pushing through the soil knows nothing of what awaits it—rain, snow, sun, the trampling of feet, a mower, or a gardener ready to nurture its blossoming. Before emerging as a plant, it was a seed that had to break open before its unique potential could reach the world.

We human beings also cannot anticipate or control what happens when we risk change. Will our intent to build a relationship, promote an idea, start an enterprise or put our innermost thoughts down on paper meet with acceptance? Rejection? Help? Encouragement? Indifference?

With courage, we reach out anyway because something within us wants to grow. We may not even know what that is until we witness it ourselves.

In my life growing has meant leaving behind a lucrative corporate career out of desire to be healthier—physically, emotionally and spiritually. As I opened up to the sunshine of a new life of freedom, a commitment to help others discover who they truly are and what they want to express in the world emerged. Tending Your Inner Garden® was born.

So have I discovered this purpose? In many ways, yes. I’ve learned the power of listening, really listening, to others as a way of bringing to life their gifts and desires. In my work as a spiritual director and companion, the power of being a calm and caring presence for others becomes more apparent each day. As a former do-aholic, I’ve learned to be a force for change by the way I simply am in the world.

Yet this invitation to grow never subsides. We’re called to continual conversion—letting go of the past and opening up to the present and future. We’re challenged to harvest what we’ve learned and give it back to the soil to enrich it for life’s next season. That’s happening in my life right now as I ask, “Whom am I being called to serve?”

Perhaps unknown to me, a seed within has broken open and something new is about to grow. Like the bald eagles that have tended three eggs and captured the attention of a nation through a video cam (, my job is now to patiently wait and watch.

What’s happening in your life as you enter spring? Is something new wanting to grow in your life? We’d love to hear from you!

5 Responses to “Cultivate the Courage to Grow”

  1. Sherry Houpt says:

    Thank you for the quote from one of my favorite poets, e.e. cummings, and for the insightful article. I am an artist and art teacher, practicing creativity for over fifty years. Much of my adult life, I have tended to the growth of others. My daughter and step-daughter, my husband, my students, and my parents have always been a priority. My mom passed away one year ago. My girls live in another state. This year marks a 25 year anniversary as an art teacher. Entering spring, I find myself wanting to paint and explore new themes in my art. My challenge is to make the time to be in my studio, even as the responsibility of a full time job and social/personal connections remain constant. I’d love to be a full time studio artist. Until that time, thanks for the reminder to be patient.

    • Diane Glass says:

      Hi, Sherry. Thanks for your response. It sounds like spring is calling you to more personal expressiveness and time for yourself. Best wishes in nurturing that new growth in your life! Diane

  2. Ramona Lynam says:

    The courage to grow? Or let go? Two years ago I planted a Hyssop. It was beautiful the first year. I didn’t even know it would survive an Iowa winter, but it did. It grew and became even more gorgeous last year. I loved it!
    By fall it was so big I decided to dig and divide it – sharing parts with other gardeners and keeping a clump for myself.
    This spring it looked like my hyssop was dead. Then I discovered one green shoot. I’ve been nurturing it in hopes it will survive and thrive.
    I’ve also been trying to relate the experience with my own life. Have I given too much of myself away? Or have I been too selfish in the past and need to learn it is okay to give – that I will still have enough left for me? What is the lesson here?
    (p.s. I may try to send you a picture of my Hyssop on Facebook.)

    • admin says:

      It’s great to hear from you, Ramona! And you’re asking two excellent questions: Have I given too much or have I given too little? No matter what the answer, the hyssop is a great reminder that life works best when we give and receive in equal measure.

  3. Pam Riley says:

    Hi, Diane/Deb,
    The Courage to Grow! How enticing! And exactly where I am in this summer of my 62nd year. With changes in my work life, I find that I have free rein as to how and/or how much I want to be working in the years ahead. I will still be employed (hopefully until I’m 65 or so), but dabbling with the freedom to create my own time card is frightening right now. How much leeway will they really give me and allow me to make a wage? How much wage am I willing to give up for time? And in my business, it’s so easy to get sucked back into the busyness that naturally begins to increase through the fall and winter. Even with such an opportunity, I’m facing a lot of changes that I’m not sure how to maneuver.
    As summer is my slack season in the industry in which I work, I’m trying to gear down, listen to myself and keep a balance in my life that seems always so hard to manage. I’m finding that too much quiet is frightening–so I’m using it every day. Learning how to choose to spend my days versus how I’m obligated to spend my days during our busier time.
    So I’m hoping I can find the wherewithal in myself to really deal with the questions that arise and not just cave in and go back to the way things always have been.
    Lots of good ideas in your blog and newsletters!

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