Prepare Your Ground

I have never been much of gardener but I have watched many a landscaper work. Dead trees and shrubs have to be uprooted, the ground cleared, fresh soil and fertilizer added before any new planting can begin. The older the trees and shrubs are, the further their roots have spread beneath the surface of the ground so extra work will be required to ensure things are completely dug up at the root. Failure to totally clear out the old before planting the new will always create a scenario where the old plants that needed to be eradicated begin to spring back up again. 

The same analogy applies to our lives. Every time a new year rolls around, we tell ourselves that this year would be different from the last. All the goals and plans we've carried over from year to year will finally be accomplished this year. Some of us even decide we'll play with the "old plants" just one more time on the 31st of December and never touch them again. It almost sounds like the perfect plan - just one more bag of chips, another slice of our favorite cake and one more plate of fried chicken wings on New Year's eve and we would be ultimately free the next day to start over. "New year, new start," we convince ourselves.

The whole idea on the surface is extremely stimulating and motivating. There is something about the new that gets us terribly excited but it often doesn't last very long. Within a few days, we are right back to where we were before; back to our old ways. The "old plants" have sprouted up once again. Why is that? Why can't we simply change when we want to? Why aren't our intentions were enough? Why does success continue to elude us? The truth is change is never easy. If it is to occur - real and lasting transformation, it will require a little bit more than intention. It would demand a healthy dose of commitment and the ability to handle failure with humility.

To really make the changes we want stick in 2021, we all need to take the time to "clear our ground". This exercise will not be easy. It may even be painful as we uproot all those useless, nasty "plants" from the soil of our minds that we have become accustomed to. We may feel agony and experience some suffering as we till the ground, and eliminate all the old "stumps" and "rocks". It could mean slow and directional changes rather than the expectation of an overnight turnaround. However, we must remember that incremental, yet steady enhancements, that allow for occasional failures, with built in methodologies for encouragement, to keep us advancing forward, may be our best chance of experiencing a new year like we want it.

Gradually getting rid of all the habits that we have developed over the years that have kept us bound and stuck in place will need to happen before we can start to introduce new seeds that represent the kind of plants we'd like to spring up in the garden of our minds. It's time to stop trying to use willpower to stop tomato seeds from resulting in tomatoes if what we really want is corn. Tomato seeds will result in mothing else but tomatoes. If corn is what we want, the tomato plants must be uprooted completely, and our ground tilled in preparation for fresh corn seeds.

A new year means nothing without a new mind and the effort of cultivating a new mind often means getting rid of the "old plants" we once held dear. They say the first of the year is a blank page on which to write a brand new 365-page book but a new story cannot emerge until we have come to terms with the old, get sick and tired of our results thus far, and want something new. Failure to take the time to clear our ground by adjusting our belief systems and our thought lives may mean that we get a repeat performance of yesteryears.

So, let's forget about new year resolutions, especially if they are the same as last year's. Rather, we must focus on commitments. Get to know we are, what we believe and what we are prepared to commit to. If we cannot commit to it, it doesn't matter how much we want it; it would never happen. Intentions, total commitment and actions to support what we intended - in that order, is the key to real change in the new year. 

Welcome to 2021.

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