Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Protect Your New Growth

As I was taking my walk along the ridge near my home this past week, I was stopped in my tracks by something I find irresistible... and compelling.

It was a small fir tree that is just at the edge of the gravel path I walk on.

At this time of year, the fir trees, and many other ever green trees and sporting their gorgeous new growth! The new growth is a different, brighter color than the old growth, and in some cases the needles are super soft - unlike the prickly hard needles of the older growth.

I just have to stop and touch these tender green shoots of new growth. Something about doing that just sends my spirit soaring!

For one thing, it is a gentle sweet reminder of the constant renewal of life and the growth process. All of life is constantly growing and developing.

Secondly, it is a great, tangible example of how tender and fragile 'new growth' is. These shoots are so soft and pliable. They have not yet matured into more 'solid' material yet.

Isn't that how we are when we are learning something new, or cultivating a new habit? Aren't those new areas of ourselves a bit fragile and flexible?

When you are just learning how to do something, you aren't very sure of yourself. You might be easily swayed by the opinions or advice of other people. Once you are an expert at something, and have mastered it, you can more easily weigh the input of other people to see if it is valid or not.

I remember when I was first in recovery from my eating disorder. I was desperate for help, and pretty much believed anything my counselor told me. I had to. I needed to. It was important for my survival. When people around me challenged those beliefs and ideas, it was painful. I became defensive. I couldn't tolerate anyone challenging the ideas that I felt were hopefully going to change my world for the better. I had to protect my tender new growth and let it grow stronger before I held it up to the scrutiny of others.

Now, when people challenge my belief system or ideas, I can reflect on what they are saying, make a determination if there is any value/redirection for me there, and either accept and incorporate their feedback, or let it go as their experience and truth without it influencing my perspective.

Protect your tender shoots of new belief or growth. Give them time to strengthen and come into their fullness before you show them to the world.

Just as you would not sign up to perform a piano concert in front of hundreds of people without taking lessons or practicing, don't roll out new aspects of yourself to those around you until you will not be knocked off balance by the opinions and advice of other people.

Protect your new growth!!