"All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience."
~ Henry Miller
As I opened the door and stepped into the darkness of my kitchen pantry to grab my box of Cheerios this morning, I looked down and noticed a bag of potatoes, which had been sitting on the floor for a few weeks. Upon closer examination, I could see that most of the potatoes had begun to push out little sprouts.
As any potato aficionado knows, the sprouts are an indication that the potato is trying to grow -- and even the darkness of a pantry can't stop it from doing so. It is well documented that if one wants to see the spud sprout rapidly, all one needs to do is place the potato in the light of day. Keeping them in the dark slows down the process, but even in total darkness there is something within the potato that knows it's supposed to seek growth and expansion, despite its poor growing conditions.
Therein lies the lesson: As strange as this may sound, you and I have a great deal in common with the potato. That same "something" lies within each of us and is constantly seeking growth and expansion through us. Even our darkest of times can't stop it from having its way. The primary difference is that the potato has no choice in the matter, whereas it appears that we think we do.
For our purposes here, the darkness can symbolize challenging times, or it can simply represent the unknown. Often, we seek "perfect" growing conditions before we sprout new life. We prefer the comfort of being able to see where we are growing. Wouldn't it be great if all of our growth opportunities came in times of light, love, blue skies and green lights, where it felt good and we could see where we are going?
Unfortunately, that's not the way it works. The reality is, we are destined to grow, one way or another. Our only choice is, will it be consciously or unconsciously? There can be great personal growth for us as we learn to consciously push out into the darkness as well as the light. The truth is that some of our most meaningful personal growth experiences can be stimulated when life appears the darkest and most uncertain. The darkness doesn't seem to stifle the growth of a potato. And you know where mushrooms grow -- buried deeply in a pile of manure! Perhaps nature's wisdom has much to teach us about growth.
Is it time for you to sprout some new growth? If the answer is "yes," don't wait until "growing conditions" are perfect, because they seldom are. Don't turn away from your dark or uncertain times, lean into them and invite the wisdom of the infinite presence within to reveal the meaning and purpose of the moment. Let the experience become your teacher. Push out into life and grow, regardless of the conditions, because that's why you are here -- to evolve and grow into the spectacular being you are!
NOTE: This writing is excerpted from my book, The Art of Being ~ 101 Ways to Practice Purpose in Your Life with permission of Tarcher/Penguin books.
Follow Dennis Merritt Jones on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DMerrittJones