Do you plant the same thing in your garden year after year?
In my last garden, each spring when I walked around and envisioned what I wanted to plant that year, I always went through the same process of longing for the familiar. An old fashioned climbing rose, bleeding hearts, or salvia that I had used so successfully in last year’s garden would be the first choices that came to mind.
|View of Middle Level Garden|
You want to take some risks and create the garden you dream about but are afraid.
But then a familiar tug reminded me that my garden was a laboratory for my own growth, and that I only grow when I take risks. It’s a tug toward a newer, more unveiled version of myself, and I quickly do an about – face and start thinking about what I can do differently this year.
Creating is taking a leap of faith.
Whenever we create, we are taking risks. The most inspired creations are born of deep risk – leaps of faith taken by people who dare to venture into new territory, despite their fear, despite the odds, and despite the uncertainty of how it will turn out.
Taking any risk impacts us way down deep, in the tectome plates of our very existence. In order to make something new, we need to relinquish the delicate reality that is now. In all creative endeavors, we risk the fear of failure in a society that is very success-oriented (What will happen to me if I fail?) We risk not being accepted (What will people think?) We risk giving up the familiar, and the comfortable (What if I don’t like the new reality that unfolds?)
But as artists, we need to do it to get to the best of who we are.
Yet, in the face of all this looming threat, we, as artists of life, continue to brave on and take risks, because deep down we know that risks are what pave the path to our healthiest and best selves.
In my last garden, my biggest risk was digging up a huge steep hill in my backyard and building two stone walls that created a three level garden. In hindsight, it was a gutsy move. If it hadn’t worked out, I would have taken a big financial hit. But by the time I decided to move forward, I had no choice. I had been gardening on a steep hill for ten years and was artistically at a dead end.
|Tons of Dirt Being Bulldozed From My Backyard|
|Post Construction – Middle Level in Spring (Where Hill Used To Be)|
|Long View of Second Level – Post Construction|
In my personal life, I took a significant risk when I moved from Philadelphia to Israel 3 years ago. You can read how moving half way across the world helped me to thrash my fears at Awake Create.
5 Strategies For Taking Risks
1. Imagine. Think about how you want your dream garden to look. Make a list of all of the elements you want in it. Rip out pictures from magazines and keep in a file. The more emotionally you get involved, the likelier it is that you’ll make your dream a reality.
2. Use a technique called Creative Visualization. Rather than thinking in terms of ’I hope’ or ’If only’, close your eyes and imagine that you have already created your dream garden. You are in it right now, appreciating its splendor. Use your senses…sight, smell, touch, and sound….to place yourself there. Even if you do this exercise for 2 minutes a few times a day until you reach your goal, you’ll be surprised at the results you reap.
3. Go over the worse case scenario. Our fear usually distorts reality. Think about what is the absolute worse outcome if you take this risk? Can you live with it?
4. Think in terms of ‘bite size changes’. It can be overwhelming when you try to take one big jump from where you are to reaching your goal. The result is that you give up on your dream before even starting. But if you put one foot in front of the other and take small steps, one at a time, you’re more likely to keep moving forward in pursuit of your dream.
5. Solicit support. No one creates in a vacuum. Surrounding yourself by people who support you and what you’re doing can make a significant difference in taking a leap of faith and throughout the process.
Now it’s your turn. What risks have you taken in the garden? Or what risks would you like to take that you haven’t yet?
Please note: The first five paragraphs are excerpts from DIGGING DEEP by Fran Sorin. Copyright © 2004 by Fran Sorin. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY. All rights reserved.