Planting the seed

Our side yard

I was driving to Bennington on Thursday listening to NPR (Fresh Air). Terry Gross was interviewing Mike Mills, a film maker who was talking about his newest movie, Beginner’s. I enjoyed the interview right away because the guy was really funny, in a self-deprecating sort of way, and the talk was interesting (the film was based on his own life and his father’s “coming out” as a gay man at 75), but what really struck a chord was his doubt.

As he talked about the way the film came to be, he said that he didn’t think it would be a success, didn’t think that he could get Ewan McGregor or Christopher Plummer to even read the script, when he found out that each one had the script, he was ecstatic, for a moment, then doubted that they would like it. When he found out that they liked it, he thought that neither would ever consider the part, then he heard that McGregor wanted to meet with him, and he doubted that McGregor would be a nice guy: was sure that he would be arrogant (which he wasn’t)….it just went on and on…his doubt that his work wasn’t good enough…

We hear so much about faith being the key factor in our success that it can start to feel like, “If I have one iota of fear/doubt then it (whatever it is that I want) won’t happen. Fear that I’ll sabotage myself, my dream and my life, by doubt. But that just is not true, and stories like Mike Mills’ remind me of that, and offer a little assurance that I do not have to do it “perfectly”.  I just have to do it. That I will have doubts, fears and worries at times, and life will still move forward …sometimes in wonderous ways.

“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed… Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”                                                                                                   From A SUCCESSION OF FOREST TREES , Henry David Thoreau

15 thoughts on “Planting the seed

  1. Wow, that’s a powerful thought. Maybe it’s hard to have faith when there is too much focus about an outcome that engages our hopes and fears. Maybe it’s easier to let go and trust the process by thinking that just maybe each moment may be perfect in itself, including the doubtful, fearful ones.

  2. I love that Thoreau quote. I always have doubts, fears and worries about doing something that I care about, but not doing it, not trying means I’ll never know what would have happened – and I’m allergic to not knowing. If I didn’t take the first step, I’d be frozen.

  3. Thank you, Mary. This post totally resonates with me today. I’ve been catching myself in doubt all morning. It is one of those days that, in order for me to have faith, I have to continually return to the moment, the now, the right here, which is just a gorgeous space to be in! And the picture looks like a painting – beautiful!!!

  4. Interesting how easy it is to have faith in someone else and so little in ourselves. I am planting my veggie garden from seed for the fitst time this year — never thought i could make a seed grow. I forgot it wasn’t me that was doing the growing! I looked at a wee carrot seed and thought what a miracle it is that it could transform itself into a whole carrot! My beets and peas are already coming up! What a miracle life is! Thank you again Mary for the wake up call to the wonders and miracles of life.

    • As ever, a thought-provoking message today and many well considered posts, too! The gardening analogies remind me of a saying I heard years ago from Louise Hay: when we plant a seed and the sprout emerges, we don’t stomp on it while shouting “That’s not a tomato!” 🙂 Gardening and keeping faith have a lot in common, it seems.

      • Love the connection that you made to Louise Hay’s saying…thank you for sharing her wisdom along with yours!

  5. Doubts, fears and worries…………….ah, where would we be without them? I see them as the cornerstone of the comforting thought that we are all human and created equal. They don’t seem too comforting when I am in it except when, of course, they are truly warranted and give me pause. Then I am forever thankful. Thanks for the insights, as always, Mary.

    And as a side note, can I just say that your photos are so enjoyable that I find myself changing my phone and computer wallpaper constantly. SMILE!

  6. I love ” Fresh Air”, listen to it whenever I can. I just read a review on the movie and thought it sounded good also. It strikes me that while he doubted his success in his ventures he still aimed high by going ahead with his project, and that’s the point you were making Mary. love it! So, is self doubt a little like humility? A question for the community…

  7. I loved Jo Anne’s comment about planting her garden – never thinking she could make a seed grow and then realizing it wasn’t she doing the growing! But Jo Anne, for sure you are the gardener, tending to the precious seeds, weeding when necessary and watering too with a watchful eye to the whole growing season. Maybe our worries, doubts and fears are sort of like those nasty weeds – they just have to be plucked right out of the garden, as often and early as possible for the best possible harvest. We may not be able to totally rid the garden forever of weeds, or ourselves of doubt, but we can sure work at recognizing them, and removing them so that the miraculous seeds of our spirits can grow and flourish and in time, produce abundantly! Before reading Mary’s post, I checked in with Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac and the poem he chose for this day makes a lovely companion – I hope it’s alright to copy/paste it –

    Now I Become Myself

    by May Sarton

    Now I become myself. It’s taken
    Time, many years and places;
    I have been dissolved and shaken,
    Worn other people’s faces,
    Run madly, as if Time were there,
    Terribly old, crying a warning,
    “Hurry, you will be dead before–”
    (What? Before you reach the morning?
    Or the end of the poem is clear?
    Or love safe in the walled city?)
    Now to stand still, to be here,
    Feel my own weight and density!
    The black shadow on the paper
    Is my hand; the shadow of a word
    As thought shapes the shaper
    Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
    All fuses now, falls into place
    From wish to action, word to silence,
    My work, my love, my time, my face
    Gathered into one intense
    Gesture of growing like a plant.
    As slowly as the ripening fruit
    Fertile, detached, and always spent,
    Falls but does not exhaust the root,
    So all the poem is, can give,
    Grows in me to become the song,
    Made so and rooted by love.
    Now there is time and Time is young.
    O, in this single hour I live
    All of myself and do not move.
    I, the pursued, who madly ran,
    Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

    “Now I Become Myself” by May Sarton, from Collected Poems 1930-1993. © W.W. Norton, 1993. Reprinted with permission

    • Awesome, soul-directing poem! Thanks you for sharing this. It’s going into my book of favorites.

  8. Thank you for your kind words Susan and I loved the poem! Yes, growing a garden does take a bit of work. It was so exciting to see those first tiny green leaves poke through the soil! The outcome is well worth the effort.

  9. Some of my most “fabulous” fiascoes [in the garden, kitchen or jobs] were borne of frustration for the perfect outcome. And, even without anyone else evaluating my performance, it’s so silly how I have to give myself permission to fail!

  10. Ah Mary, the VERY words I needed to hear today. They allow me to see that we don’t always have to be in “perfect” mode when wanting to manifest something in life.

    Thank you!

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