A path to a better place in our minds doesn’t come to those who wait, but to those who practice. Practice what you ask? Practice the art of watering. Just imagine watering flowers. The empirical steps include: (1) verify if the soil is wet; (2) fetch water using a container of your choice; (3) water in the morning; and (4) make sure to concentrate the watering on the roots, and pour slowly. From conscious awareness, we would also add to this step-by-step process the knowing that you are participating in keeping your flowers alive. You are playing a small part, as the sun offers the sunlight that flowers require to thrive and grow. In fact, you could even sow the seeds, which hopefully will germinate and your flowers will grow. You would then be able to look at your lovely flowers and remember that the flowers were once seeds that you watered and nurtured with care even though you did not see the seeds once you put them into the soil.
And, similar to your flowers growing with the right condition and care, I ask,
“What are you watering in yourself?”
We are more than the sum of our parts
In his book[i] on understanding the mind, Thich Nhat Hanh describes four layers of consciousness, and how these layers are intertwined and continuously interacting to provide for what we consider to be “me” even though there is more to “me”. Having been an avid reader of Buddhist psychology, I have often interpreted this to mean that we are indeed more than the sums of our parts—those parts being my thoughts, my ideas, my errors, my failures, my decisions, my accomplishments, my education, my degrees, my credentials, my house, my family, and more and more of what I purport to name as ‘mine’. Since I am more than all of these things I claim to be mine, I must also admit that there are things about me I have yet to discover, and perhaps will never discover if not given the appropriate exposure or if life events don’t provoke, move, shift, or impact me profoundly. For all of these possibilities, there remains the possibility that I may not necessarily be making decisions which bring about the right set of circumstances or conditions that lead to the greater good for all when I am focused on all that I claim to be mine. The truth is I can only be working with what I feel comfortable with, what I have come to believe to be true, and what I think to be true. And although this is true for most of us, it does beg the question, “Can I therefore water different seeds in me that bring about a better version of me?”
Watering in ourselves the leader we desire to be
Similar to the flower analogy, I cannot water what I don’t see and yet I continue to water until one day the seeds turn into flowers. Therefore, what if I make the decision to water what would bring me closer to the leader I want to be even if today I am not there yet? What if I water the seed of compassion toward myself and others; the seed of deep listening to the suffering of others and the potential that lies within; the seed of discerning judgment to know just when to push for more and when to stop; and the seed of resilience to spring back with greater awareness from diversity? What would happen to me then? Who would emerge?
Watering in ourselves and others
In this month’s Guest Client Blog, Jon Reider, Founder and Chairman of Camp Erin Montreal and Strategic Advisor at ReiderConsulting, shares his personal journey that has brought him to being the leader he is today. I have no doubt that Jon has watered in himself passion about helping others, joy in making others happy, acceptance of what cannot be changed, and reverence for all those who walk with him, if only for a little while. Jon continuously waters his seeds as his leadership oversees Camp Erin. I would also add that he likely waters in others similar seeds, and in so doing reminds them just how special they are to him.
Learn more about Dr. Mirella DeCivita
[i]© 2006 by Parallax Press. Understanding Our Mind: Fifty Verses on the Nature of Consciousness, by Thich Nhat Hanh. Published by Parallax Press