In Dr. Bernie Siegel’s book, 365 prescriptions for the soul, he has a prescription entitled “How does your garden grow?” While he uses imagery of a garden and what’s involved in growing one, he is really writing about our personal growth and the potential he believes is within each one of us.

As he writes, “Each cell within us is like a wise seed capable of growth and blossoming. In nature seeds show their wisdom. Even when they are paved over, they know which direction is up. They intuitively grow up toward the light and life. They push their way through obstructions, deal with adverse weather, and cope with pests and poison in order to complete their mission here on earth.”

He also observes that “plants know that sometimes they must give up a part, be it by pruning or natural loss, to manifest their true beauty. They are not critical of their growth, nor do they compare themselves to others. While seeds don’t have to think and worry about all the things we do, we must understand that like them sometimes we too have to fight our way through darkness to survive.”

So he believes that each one of us has the ability to realize our potential, and to overcome difficulties that we will encounter along the way. And he says, “Even the ‘compost’ in our lives could be better used if we would let it stimulate our growth, rather than be buried beneath it.”

He concludes by saying, “If we pay attention to our inner wisdom and nourish the seed within, there is no telling what we can blossom into during the seasons of our life.”

On the internet, I found references to the book, The light in the heart, by Roy T. Bennett. Not unlike Siegel, he writes, “Difficulties and adversities viciously force all their might on us and cause us to fall apart, but they are necessary elements of individual growth, and reveal our true potential. We have got to endure and overcome them, and move forward. Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.”

Bennett also says, “Always believe in yourself and always stretch yourself beyond your limits. Your life is worth more than you thnk because you are capable of accomplishing more than you know. You have more potential than you think, but you will never know your full potential unless you keep challenging yourself and pushing beyond your own self-imposed limits.”

In a quote I have used before, the philosopher William James once said, “Most people live, whether physically, intellectually, or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul’s resources in general, much like a (person) who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into the habit of using or moving only his little finger. Great emergencies show us how much greater our vital resources are than we had supposed.”

May we believe that we are capable of accomplishing more than we know!

Harvie Barker is a Penticton resident and writer of inspirational messages.

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