Seeds of Change
There is a Mexican proverb:
“They tried to bury us but they did not know that we were seeds.”
It follows the idea of another popular saying:
“Sometimes when you are in a dark place, you think you have been buried. But you have actually been planted.”
This idea resonates.
Have you ever been in a place that is dark, that is low, that you feel like you may not be able to crawl out of? Lots of things can put us in this place. Sometimes it is tangible and unilateral like the death of a loved one or a single traumatic event. Sometimes it is much more multifactorial and can involve your personal life, your career and your dreams. No matter what the etiology is, the result is the same: despair and a lack of hope which clouds your mind.
But have you ever stopped to think what the difference is in if this is an event of your burial or your planting? The difference is in your mind. It is in the results that only you can create- to either bloom or remain buried. The difference is in giving up or trying until you find a way to pierce through the soil.
It is in resiliency and self-compassion and grit. All of these things, psychologists have proven, can be developed.
Imagine a seed that is buried.
It may never grow. It may remain stagnant indefinitely or until the right moment until it gets the nourishment it needs to bloom.
Then it may bloom to be a solid tree of its own accord. Big enough that winds do not sway it, or snow storms do not break it. Big enough that it owns its own space and thrives. But small enough that it lives in its own universe. It may provide shade to some small plants and animals.
And then some trees do not stop just at this point. They surpass the expectations of the norm. Their roots burrow deep into the ground and span horizontally either rooting or uprooting the surrounding plants. Their branches reach so high that they become entire worlds onto themselves, harboring and giving life to entire ecosystems within them.
I argue that for us, humans, this is a choice.
To not bloom at all is a choice.
To bloom enough is a choice.
And to bloom so big that you become the world you dreamed about is also a choice.
I frame this in the context of my practice. I can either not bloom, internalize the struggles I face as a practitioner, live my fears and let them become barriers to my growth.
Or I can bloom enough. I can own a practice in which I practice in the realm of mediocrity. I can always get by. And the beauty of dentistry is that even a practice cloaked in mediocrity still does well enough to be stable.
Or I can bloom beyond expectations. I can live my greatest life. I can use this profession and my role in it to change the world, to change the field. I can use my work, the roots I plant, the roots that proliferate to leave dentistry forever changed. I can dream of a world in which people practice on their own terms, find joy and have support or I can create it.
The power is all within that seed which is currently buried. That seed I pray blooms where it is planted, and surpasses the boundaries of the possible into the land of change.