As life goes on over time, we change; everyone does. Sometimes we drift off course, caught up in a tide of circumstances that turn our world into something different than we anticipated. It happens, often, and the women I know are experiencing it with greater frequency in their 60s and 70s.
The effects of aging, career change, retirement, financial insecurity, empty nesting, illness, and a shift in attitude and expectations can alter one’s perspective, leaving us off kilter, until one morning, we wake up to a world that looks unfamiliar, surrounded by those who don’t seem to be who they were, and neither are we.
We realize we’ve been going along unaware of how our life was shifting while we were busy serving and supporting all those around us. There just wasn’t enough time or energy to focus on our own needs and fulfillment.
As external conditions change – and we become free from working full time, caring for a family, or playing whatever role we were cast – we find ourselves rather lost. We may also find ourselves somewhat alone.
Our long-term relationships are less engaging, foundered by the rough seas of other obligations. We may not even share the emotions we once did and find ourselves left in the empty shell of what used to be a happy life together.
We may be tempted to leave, set out to find ourselves and establish a whole new life. But dismantling a shared life is not as simple as it was decades ago when we were young, just starting out, with less responsibility and no hard-earned assets to protect.
At this stage in our mature lives, starting over may be far less attractive, or simply not an option for very real reasons. It’s not always feasible to pack up and move on.
So, what’s a woman to do? One answer is to bloom where you’re planted, like a dandelion sprouting up between two slabs of concrete, growing happily in the warm sun, despite its circumstance.
We’re far more complex than misplaced flowers, of course, but it’s possible for us to find happiness and contentment where we are. Here are a few steps to help you get started.
Inner peace may be a cliche, but it’s an important one. Whether this means meditation, yoga, prayer, or a solitary walk in the woods, however you find peace, letting go of frustrations and angst will clear a space for other emotions to inhabit your mind and heart. Dedicate time and practice to being calm and serene.
Talk to your friends, get into therapy, write in a journal, engage in whatever form of communication works best for you. You need to express your feelings. Keeping them bottled up will impede growth and transformation.
Regular physical exercise defuses cortisol, the stress hormone, and working out lifts the spirit. I chose hiking and found it brought me the release and sense of freedom I craved.
Spend time sorting out where you are and what’s at the source of your discontent. If it’s something you can discuss and perhaps rectify with honesty, then set the stage for that to happen.
If those efforts fail, look to yourself and determine what you can do, for you to be satisfied and fulfilled. Do what you can to improve your situation so you can be happy where you are.
I took up writing. I wrote as a way to sort through my circumstance. Amazingly, it grew into a passion and then into a professional endeavor.
Find what is right for you, be it art, music, volunteering, gardening, travel – whatever gives you pleasure and is possible within your circumstance. Start off small if you need to and see where it goes from there. Be open and say yes to opportunities whenever possible.
Treat yourself as you would someone you love. Be kind and gentle. Pamper yourself and treat yourself to whatever brings you joy. This might feel awkward at first, but it is essential. Allow yourself time and space to realize your potential, follow your passion where it leads and be open.
Watch for opportunities that will further your journey. Set goals and encourage yourself as you would a friend. Step out beyond your comfort zone and ask for help from those who support you. And always celebrate your success.
Examine your situation regularly, be honest with yourself and dig deep into what it is you truly desire, then set a course toward it.
Most of all, be true to yourself. You deserve happiness, and you don’t always have to make wholesale changes to find what makes you happy. Devoting time and energy to creating a fulfilled life can deliver huge rewards. Take your first step today.
Do you find yourself at a crossroads, wondering what to do with your life beyond 60? Have you considered blooming where you’re planted? What steps do you think you can take to give yourself a happy mature life? Please share your thoughts with our community!
As I was walking with my dogs down a forest-lined road, this plant caught my attention from a few yards off the road. It was standing straight and tall as it soaked in the sun rays on it’s mossy “log home.” There were no others of its kind near, and that didn’t seem to bother it one bit.
To me, this plant depicts the expression “bloom where you are planted.” It’s thriving in its given environment, taking advantage of opportunities like the sun and nutrients available from the moss and log, and it looks strong and happy.
I believe that each and every one of us can bloom where we are planted. Whatever our personal goals and dreams are, there’s a way to bloom and achieve them.
Blooming where we are planted sometimes includes surviving difficult times. It might be necessary to make choices on how to modify our environment in order to succeed.
Time, patience, determination, and other variables might need to be adjusted so we can bloom to our full potential, and of course bring joy to life.
But, what if…
“Bloom where you are planted” is great if you’re happy with your life. But this idea can be a struggle if you’re unhappy with where you’re at in life.
Are there “weeds” choking you, or limited resources preventing you from blooming to your full potential?
Maybe you’re in a job that keeps you stuck. Or maybe your social life is feeling more toxic than fun or interesting.
It might feel like you’re being choked by weeds rather than blooming like a wildflower.
3 Tips for How to Bloom Where You Are Planted
Choices. It all comes down to choices.
If you don’t like where you are, YOU get to decide if you want to uproot and move – and that can be figuratively or physically.
In any given situation, you can always:
- Change it
- Accept it
- Or resist it
The following are combinations of changing and accepting a situation. Resisting a situation is unpleasant, so I’m choosing to skip that choice.
These ideas are good food for thought whether you are or are not happy with where you are planted. Never stop growing!
1 – Perspective, Perspective, Perspective
Your environment gives you opportunities to grow, although sometimes those opportunities are not obvious.
For example, at this point in your life you might have expected to have a successful, fulfilling career, 2.5 children with a white picket fence, and a handful of other goals.
When things don’t happen like you planned, a different perspective can be helpful.
Step back and take a look at the big picture.
Everything you go through is a step in your journey. Your personal perspective of your circumstances plays an important role in your mindset, and therefore your ability to see the possibilities.
When you step back and look at the big picture from a more objective view, it gives you the opportunity to see how, possibly surprisingly, your desires and challenges have all moved you forward in your journey.
Each twist and turn in your journey can gift you with an experience that strengthens you. Setbacks and challenges can make your environment more rich in “nutrients” for you to grow strong.
Entertain the idea that a setback or challenge is the perfect opportunity to bloom where you are planted in the most unexpected way.
2 – Get Creative
In this photo I snapped, the ferns creatively found a way to bloom in the crack of this very old, concrete structure. The weather was extraordinarily hot and there was no soil to support its existence. Yet, it was thriving in the cracks.
Are you in a crack? If it’s just a crack in a solid foundation, get creative with how you can adjust within the crack and bloom anyway.
Getting creative can mean a whole range of things, and changing your mindset is a great first step.
- Believe in yourself
- Have an attitude of gratitude
- Be optimistic
- Overcome your fears
- Focus on solutions (not the problems)
- Empower yourself
If you are the type of person who leans toward the negative side, you’ll likely get more of the negative. The opposite is true with leaning toward the positive side of any given circumstance.
Look at that crack as an incubator for your dreams. Learn some lessons that will get you onto that solid foundation. It may require patience, but it can be an important part of your journey toward your dreams.
Get creative and think about what you CAN do to improve yourself and make the best of your situation. You can choose to look at it as a fatal crack, or you can look at it as a unique opportunity.
It’s tough when you can’t see your way out of that crack, but trust that you’ll get there. Keep going! Never give up, and grow despite the circumstances.
3 – Do Some Weeding
Surround yourself with positive people. The people you hang out with influence your thoughts, actions, habits, choices and even what you dream of for your own life.
There are real benefits of spending time with people who are confident and are authentically interested in both their own and your personal growth.
Think about the people you spend time with.
- Are they someone you’d choose as a mentor?
- Do you have similar aspirations?
- Do you respect their character?
- Are they actively trying to better themselves?
- When together, are you doing fun, positive, healthy things that make you feel awesome?
Negative people are like weeds – their negative attitude grows fast and fiercely, and it can choke your work at growing a positive mindset.
Might it help you bloom if you spend less time with someone in particular? Some people you can’t eliminate from your life, but you can recognize how they negatively influence you, and try to keep a healthy distance, if possible.
Bloom Like a Wildflower!
At times, you may feel like your dreams and goals are beyond your reach. In that moment, it can be really, REALLY hard to think about surviving, much less thriving.
Trust that you are on a path that is taking you to your dreams. No matter what your circumstances, take action to continue growing so you can be happy and strong.
Need help? If blooming where you are planted is something you need help with, please reach out to me for support. I’d love to help you find the clarity, confidence, and courage to bloom into the best version of you.
Challenges are part of life. It’s what you choose to do with the challenges that moves you forward.
There are a lot of problems to overcome in today’s world, and the desire to thrive or bloom where you are planted can be hard to remember when you’re feeling overburdened. However, each of us has the chance to improve our current situation, even in small ways.
Table of Contents
Bulbs produce the beauty that we know when we look at a tulip, daffodil or crocus. It’s interesting to note that bulbs actually struggle and suffer if they don’t suffer enough cold. The meaning of bloom where you are planted can tie back to that necessary cold.
We often get more joy out of the good in life if we’ve been through some tough times. The cold it takes to get bulbs to bloom can be
- a job loss
- a failed relationship
To grow where you are planted, try to take those tough times and use them as a learning experience. Rough experiences can also serve as a launching pad. If you’ve been through a bad breakup, it’s time to look at your relationship expectations and reconsider what’s important to you. Losing a job can be a time to take a class and get some more training. A serious illness may be a time to change your eating and activity habits.
The Seed Experience
Seeds are potential energy surrounded by a carapace. The meaning of bloom where you are planted can relate to what it takes to bust through that carapace. Seeds
- get buried
- get wet
- get a little sun
- rupture the carapace
- grow toward the light
Growth from a seed will take some serious discomfort. Your growth, over time, will require you to completely break up as you reach toward your light.
Going through your personal rupturing through that carapace will alter you at a base level. Going through really tough stuff changes your view of yourself and your view of the world around you, but it’s the best way to get beautiful flowers. Be ready to shed that carapace as you grow.
As a growing flower, you may find that there are folks who expect you to return to the seed. Don’t limit your growth options if they can’t see past the shell of who you were; you’ve earned all the blooms you’re going to create.
Thriving as an Off-Shoot
There are many plants, such as the iris, that grow from rhizomes that spread, root to root, and create new flowers. To bloom where you are planted, one of the kindest things you can do is to share your mojo with the space around you.
For example, you may have skills to share with folks who are also suffering. If you’re extremely thrifty because you’ve been through a lot of financial stress, the rhizome you’re sharing is the ability to cook with beans or create gourmet baked potatoes. You may be able to teach folks to sew, take newbies shopping for second-hand products, or help people downsize into a space they can afford.
If you’ve been through a bad relationship break-up, you can grow where you are planted by supporting others who are fighting their way back to some self-esteem. For those who’ve learned to stand on their own two feet and keep their chin up, demonstrating that confidence is possible is a wonderful way to both grow and share with folks who need it.
Learn to Transplant
Once you’ve busted through your carapace and are growing strong, take a look around. You may actually be shading out the ground around you. If you notice that someone else is struggling for light, be ready to either
- move, or
- help them transplant
For example, if you have helped someone leave behind a tough relationship, be ready to also help them break away from their dependence on you. Anyone who’s gotten away from an abusive relationship has likely lost a great deal of what confidence they had, unless they were raised without it. They will need to learn, but do what you can to help them find their own balance.
Each of us can be a great gardener. Every person has their own growth pattern and will create a unique bloom. Monitor your own growth and care for yourself as you work to help those around you. Want to read articles more like this Click here. Your garden is worth sharing!
The simplest definition of the word flourish, is to thrive. We all want to thrive right? But how do we do that when we’re faced with trials, challenges and circumstances that seem like they are out of our control? I think a better definition of flourish is…
To grow or develop in a healthy way, especially as the result of a favorable environment.
Now you might be thinking, but I don’t have a “favorable environment”. My family is dysfunctional; my marriage is in shambles; my boyfriend cheated on me; I’m lonely and don’t have any real friends I can count on; my job is stressful; my coworkers are toxic; I can’t find a job; my finances are a mess; my community is divided; the news is depressing….
But whatever your environment is, I have good news for you.
You can create a favorable environment and bloom where you’ve been planted.
Nothing you have done in the past, no setback you’ve experienced can keep you from flourishing. With God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
In Luke 7:36-50, we read the account of the sinful woman. Based on the way she is described, we can assume that because of her sin, she is emotionally wounded and broken. She seeks out Jesus and He sees beyond the sinful woman she is and sees the woman she can be. He forgives her sins and tells her that her faith has saved her and she can now move forward in peace.
She sought out Jesus. Don’t rush past that. She was in a very unfavorable place in her life. And according to the Bible, she had caused this by her own sin. But she changed her circumstances by drawing close to Him. She created a new life for herself where she could thrive.
In Luke 8, the Parable of the Sower, Jesus is traveling with the disciples and a group of women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. (Luke 8:1-3) We don’t know all the details of these women’s stories, but based on what we do know, I believe that the unfavorable environments they found themselves in were not 100% the result of their sin.
I’m sure you have situations in your life right now that you can’t trace back to some specific sin, but you find yourself stuck non the less. But isn’t it encouraging that after all these women have been through, they are now traveling with Christ?! Their interactions with Him cured them and now their ongoing relationship with Him has placed them in a favorable environment where they can thrive.
No matter what you’re going through, you can learn create a favorable environment in your life. You can control your thoughts, how you spend your time and who you spend it with.
I know, I know….maybe the problem is in your home or sits in the desk next to yours at work, this won’t be easy. But you can still decide how much you are going to let them effect you.
Learning to bloom where you’re planted means you:
Embrace where you are in your life right now, by choosing to be content and trust God’s plan for your future
Focus your energy on being deeply rooted by deepening your relationship with God and seeking Him daily
Identify where you want to grow next by developing a life long desire to learn and try new things
Prepare to bloom, by actively seeking opportunities that will help you flourish into the woman you are becoming
When you live your life this way, you create a favorable environment for yourself because you aren’t focused on other people or even on external situations that are trying to keep you down. Instead, you are focused on the special path that God has laid out just for you. People can be acting crazy around you, but you’ll have peace and hold onto your joy because you know God has better for you. You’ll look at those unfavorable environments in a different light. Seeking to understand how they are meant to help you flourish, rather than how they hold you back.
Finally sisters, I encourage you to keep your focus on the good stuff. (Philippians 4:8) Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back, because you were made to flourish. You were made to thrive.
You may not be able to see it now, like a seed planted deep underground, but if you remain planted in good soil, your joy cannot be taken away. Your roots will grow deep in Him and nothing will stop you from blooming over and over again.
Where do you want to grow next? How do you think your current situation is being used to position you to bloom?
Jamila is the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Read her testimony of how God turned her misery into ministry.
“Bloom where you’re planted.”
Nice leadership catchphrase. The message behind the colloquialism is to encourage people, who are often unhappy in their present place, to excel where they are rather than daydreaming of where they would like to be. A simple and encouraging principle, but how exactly is that done?
I want to propose three ways to bloom where you’re planted.
First, dig deep. To bloom where you’re planted you need to intentionally and deeply invest yourself in your church and community. Whether planted in an area undergoing an urban revitalization, laboring in the suburban sprawl, or even ministering in a rural area you need to dig deep into your community and the lives of your people.
As an under-shepherd learn to care for your flock beyond your church setting. Work to create moments in your calendar to be with your church family in a different context. An environment away from the pulpit will also allow the congregation to see their pastor more as a person and not only their preacher. Church size, personality, and context will direct how to go about creating informal events.
To dig deep into your community make it your goal, as much as possible, to know leaders in your community on a first name basis. Volunteer at events that your community sponsors. Parades, craft fairs, farmers markets—whatever it is that emerges from your community as of their identity. To dig deep, go where your people are by investing yourself where you live.
Second, go wide. To “go wide” means to develop a broad spectrum of personal interests. I have observed that pastors who took an early departure from ministry because of burnout, marital collapse, or some other addiction both isolated themselves and had few interests outside of the church and their position. I have also observed that the healthiest and happiest pastors are not only secure in their identity in Jesus, but they also have developed a wide range of interests outside of what they have been called by God to do. To bloom where you’re planted you need to have a wide variety of interests outside of your role as pastor.
A great example of a leader who developed broad interests that served him well during stress-filled periods is Winston Churchill. At the age of forty, following a demotion from his post as the First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill was discouraged and full of anxiety. During this season of his life, at the suggestion of his sister-in-law, he took up painting. Preferring oil paints as his medium, over his lifetime Churchill produced over 550 canvases. Churchill wrote in his book Painting as a Pastime, “Painting came to my rescue in a most trying time.” Churchill was a man of wide interests. His wide interests enabled him to bloom where he was planted.
Lastly, to bloom where you’re planted you need to hang tight by learning to endure difficulty, hardship, and stressful circumstances.
One of the reasons pastors eye new pastures looking for greener grass is because we are trying to escape the stress and frustration of where we are. Going from one place to another will not remove your stress. If you find yourself regularly daydreaming about different pastures you are probably in a very stressful situation.
Moving will only redirect your stress. You will have some of the same stresses and frustrations in the new location as you do in the current one. They will just come with new names.
Stress is a natural part of life. Too much stress will crush you. Not enough will weaken your resolve.
Many pastors are living in between a stage of burnout and blowout, neither of which is healthy for them, their families, or their churches. To hang tight and endure pastors need to learn to manage their stress. Cling to the Lord as his child who also happens to be one his under-shepherds. Invite trusted people into your life to talk about what you are experiencing. Have someone who can be your pastor; a pastor’s pastor. Regularly get physical exercise, eat well, and get an appropriate amount of sleep. A lack of sleep, a poor diet, and not caring for your physical self will lessen your ability to endure. To bloom where you’re planted and endure the storms of life, you need to be well-rested and well-nourished.
Pastor, you are not immune to the idea that life could be better somewhere other than here. You may even tell yourself, “If only I could get to that size church, in that location, and with that size of staff then some things will happen.” Be encouraged, God has called you to where you are and has already equipped you with the resources you need to be obedient to today’s tasks. When he moves in your church, and in some cases that means he relocates you, he will then provide the resources you need.
I am not advocating never leaving one ministry setting for another. Please do not interpret this post in that fashion. What I am advocating for is settling in where you are, digging deep, going wide, and hanging tight so you may bloom where you are instead of longing for where you would like to be. Keep in mind that often the reason grass is greener on the other side of the fence is because there is a septic tank beneath it.
It’s spring, y’all. I can’t wipe the grin off my face every time I hear birds chirping, see trees budding, and take a big whiff of that fresh spring air.
There’s always something so welcome about this change of season in particular. Summer brings with it long days filled with sunshine; fall, the changing leaves and crisp air; and winter, the sweetness that surrounds the holiday season. And after we’ve all reached the ends of our rope with cold weather, short days, and cabin fever, spring comes in—breathing new life into the world, and doing the same to our souls.
It’s a fresh start. A new beginning. Even if you’re not big on change, this is a welcome one.
Do you ever feel that way about life? Like you’re stuck in winter, the groundhog saw his shadow, and you’re just positive that there is no end to this season in sight? There always seems to be something we’re reaching after; this ever-elusive next step in which we will be happy, fulfilled, and living to our full potential.
I cannot count the number of conversations I’ve had with God [albeit, some of them have taken place subconsciously] in which I tell Him I’ll be better if He changes my circumstances.
If You gave me a bigger house, I would practice hospitality.
If You make my friend less cranky, I’ll love her better.
If You had made me more talented, I would serve in my church.
If You provide me with the funds to go on a missions trip, I’ll tell people about You.
If You give me a new job, I’ll have a better attitude about going to work.
So, when our lives don’t change, we repeat the same cycles we’ve been stuck in for weeks, months, or even years. We bury ourselves under the covers, and continue to beg God for spring.
It’s hard to invest in old relationships, striving for real community among friends, spouses, and relatives.
It’s hard to sit at the same desk day after day, going to the same meetings, riding the elevator with the same people.
It’s hard to make spaghetti for the third time this week because you don’t have an ounce of energy and all you want to do is have a moment of silence and a hot bath.
But just as Paul encouraged the early Corinthian church, following God doesn’t always mean a change of circumstance. In fact, Paul says, “E ach person should remain with God in whatever situation he was called” (1 Corinthians 7:24).
Sometimes God is calling you to make a big change in your life; to move to a new city, quit your job, or end a toxic relationship. But other times the only door God opens is the one you’ve been walking through for years, and He’s asking You to trust that He’s keeping the others closed for a reason.
Sometimes you’re just being called to bloom where you’re planted.
And sometimes that’s harder than new doors, big changes, and fresh starts.
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Maybe that looks like choosing to stay in a job where you’re a light in a dark place, even if it may seem easier to quit and work in a different environment.
It could mean finding opportunities to serve and share God’s love in your local community and church rather than waiting for special circumstances to arise.
Or maybe it means choosing to work on a tough relationship—whether it be a friend, family member, or spouse—instead of shutting the person out or giving up on it.
So instead of begging God for better soil, more sunlight, or revolutionary fertilizer, let’s watch Him do amazing things by being faithful right where we are.
What about you? Have you seen God work in your life when you’ve stayed where He planted you?
If you’re interested in digging deeper in this topic, check out the following resources:
2 Corinthians 10:12b but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
An ancient legend tells of a king who walked into his garden one day to find almost everything withered and dying. After speaking to an oak near the gate, the king learned that he was troubled because he was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine overheard their conversation and added that she, too, was upset, for she could not bear delicious fruit like the pear tree. The pear tree heard his name and began to complain that he did not have the lovely odor of the spruce. And so it went throughout the entire garden.
Near the very edge of the garden grew a little daisy. As the king approached, he noticed her bright little face, full of life. “Well, little flower,” said the monarch, “I’m glad to find that there is at least one happy face in my garden.”
“Oh king,” she said, “I know I’m little, and not many people notice me, but one day I realized that you if planted me here, you must have had a good reason. So, your majesty, I’ve determined to be the best little flower I can be!”
Our King has planted a beautiful garden. Not one of us is greater than the next. It is His perfection.
We must come to a place where we trust that God has a reason for creating us the way He has and has planted us in just the place he desired. Comparing ourselves with one another will only make us wither. When we become satisfied with His creation (that is us), that’s when we’ll find true happiness”.. and we will shine.
Let’s give God our all our disappointments and be determined to be the best that we can be for Him!
Related Christian Devotions:
A flower for you!
I heard a story about a man who was imprisoned during Napoleons reign. While sulking in his dungeon one day, he etched on the wall the words “Nobody Cares”.
Be Fruitful in Spite of Your Circumstances!
In Israel, it’s amazing how many trees are being planted all the time. In fact, the green line that you hear about so much in the news isn’t an actual drawn borderline, but it is a visible line you can only see from the air. It’s where Israelis stopped planting trees.
Have you seen the big picture?
There was a man who had four sons. He wanted them to learn to not judge things too quickly, so he sent them each on a quest to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away. He sent his first son in the winter, his second in the spring, his third in summer and his youngest in the fall. When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.
I just came across this story through a friend and thought it significantly appropriate for us today. Maybe it is for you too? An African king had a long time friend who always looked at everything positively, always saying “This is good!” even in the face of the most difficult situations. Hunting one day, he was preparing the king’s guns. When the king took his first shot, his thumb was blown off. Though the friend realized that it was his grave mistake for not properly setting the gun, and even in the face of this furious, bleeding king, he looked at him and said, “This is good!” The king was LIVID, and ordered that his friend be thrown in jail immediately.
Show me a sign!
A king was seated in a garden, and one of his counselors was speaking of the wonderful works of God. “Show me a sign,” said the king, “and I will believe.” “Here are four acorns,” said the counselor, “will you, Majesty, plant them in the ground, and then stoop down for a moment and look into this clear pool of water?” The king did so, “Now,” said the other, “look up.”.
With increased access to the lives of others—or rather, the lives of others as they appear on social media—it can be easy to feel like everyone else on your feed is going places in both the figurative and literal senses. It’s perfectly understandable if you experience periods of wondering if you’re mobile enough, social enough, ambitious enough, or wanderlust-y enough. Comparison traps and bouts of fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) can fill one with self-doubt and low self-esteem.
During the past two years, I’ve largely been staying at home being pregnant and then caring for our little one. I’ve cut back on travel (even little day trips) and put my professional ambitions on the back burner, including reducing the amount of career-related work I do on a daily basis. Most new mothers have to negotiate this exchange in one way or another, discover their new limits, and find a (kind-of) balance in the ever-shifting landscape of motherhood. I doubt it’s easy for anyone. I know I’m not the first one to share that the big, blooming joy of parenthood is a complex joy. While I’m now able to get out of the house more and I’m working on planning a weekend holiday (finally!), I can still sometimes feel that the entire world around me is moving and growing and buzzing while I’m standing still.
Of course, parenthood isn’t the only reason you may find yourself coming into contact with your limits. Perhaps your job keeps you pinned down and demands all of your energy. Maybe caring for a loved one means you always need to stay close by. Indeed for many, the struggle to make ends meet puts a limit on the amount of adventuring they have access to.
While upward mobility or expanding your horizons (however you want to define that) may always be something we’re working toward, sometimes the immediate goal is blooming where you’re planted.
Sure, “bloom where you are planted” is a cutesy phrase that would go beautifully on a pillow sold on Etsy, but it’s also something that really resonates with me. For me, it’s about finding ways to maximize your current station in life, refusing to let it be a “placeholder” life even if you’re not where you’d thought you would be at this point in your life. It involves cultivating a joy in the everyday and celebrating the positive—but it’s also about growing within the realm of the possible. Perhaps you can’t leave your job and teach yoga in a faraway place, but you can still achieve meaningful personal development. It doesn’t mean that you have to accept exactly where you are for all of eternity or letting go of bigger dreams—it’s just about being the best version of yourself today. Here’s how I plan to do it.
1. Add value every day. On days when I feel a bit isolated (okay, quite isolated), I half-jokingly ask my husband, “Am I still a real person?” As a tutor, I often work with graduate students who have published in their field or participated in incredible humanitarian projects. It really puts my small achievements into perspective, and I quickly feel that I haven’t done enough to help others. But the truth is, I am still a real person, and I do add value to the lives of others on a daily basis—and I’m sure you do, too! I suggest not letting yourself forget that. Mentally list all of the ways you added value to another person’s day. Once you begin to notice how you contribute to the world, you may be inspired to take things up a notch and do a little more when the opportunity presents itself.
2. Acknowledge value every day. This is a wonderful exercise to help you become more aware of the abundance in your life. Just as you add value to the lives of others, you are also on the receiving end of a lot of value—beautiful weather, a kind gesture, a lucky break, a healthy meal…
3. Commit to the present. Being consumed with longing to be somewhere else or do something different can stymie personal growth. Planning for and dreaming about the future can be productive activities, of course, but it’s worth making a commitment to be more fully present for what’s going around you now. There are mornings when I find myself wanting to get out of the house or dive into a busy day of desk work (after all, that was a huge part of my life for years), but instead, I’m needed elsewhere. I set my phone aside, play with my kiddo, and change diapers with a smile. Part of being present, for me at least, involves inviting joy into the moment—thinking, this ordinary moment can be special if I open myself to it.
4. Establish and work on goals within the realm of possibility. One of the ways to shake the sense that you’re stuck in a static spot is to plan and work toward goals that are small stepping stones on the way to something larger—or even just small goals that are ends themselves. Doing so will illustrate that you are not, in fact, frozen in amber or wilting away. Be sure to look back at where you began when you started working toward said goal and celebrate where you are now.
5. Find other ways to expand your world. Even though I’m not traveling the globe, I like to “expand my world” by reading about art from different parts of the world or reading about different time periods. You can do something similar—studying a different language, reading about someone in a different (or perhaps similar) situation, joining an online community of enthusiasts for something you love, listening to new music, watching documentaries or a new show…the possibilities are endless—and will probably make you feel more connected to the world outside of your neighborhood.
Now bloom, you flower, you!
How do you bloom where you are planted?
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