Grow Where You’re Planted

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“Let us step outside for a moment. It is all there, only we have been slow to arrive at a way of seeing it. Unless the gentle inherit the earth, there will be no earth.” ~ May Sarton


An Elder once told me, “Grandson, the longest road you will ever have to walk in your life is the sacred journey from your head to your heart.” Another wise Elder said, “We will never resolve the many critical and life-threatening issues before us solely through the intellect, for every problem the intellect solves, it creates ten more.” Unto itself, the intellect is a sacred gift of the Creator, but equally, without an open, visionary and creative heart, there is no wisdom. Both the mind and heart are sacred. Both are inseparably connected.

Brother Phil Lane Jr., Ihanktonwan Dakota and Chickasaw Nations


Of the many needs we have as human beings, the one that brings us the most inner tranquility is sharing who we are, how we feel, what we are thinking, and what we are discovering about ourselves. We all need a sacred Witness in life, a person who can listen without judgment while knowing the right questions to ask that continually illuminate our path. We need this quality of deep sharing with another person because through such dialogue, we witness our own maturity through the years, we grapple with our own wounds, we cleanse ourselves of wrong-doings, we dig more carefully into the hidden resources in our nature, we muse over feelings that take us by surprise, we walk with a companion through labyrinths of dark confusion, we confront great questions about the meaning and purpose of our life and we examine what it is we believe to be true about the Sacred. — Caroline Myss

I refused to grow where I was planted. It was the wrong soil for my roots. I think that quote “grow where you’re planted” is meant for people who thrive where they’re planted. I wanted to find out where I could thrive. I knew early on it was not where I was planted. I need to live in foreignness. I want to be surrounded by the distant past and things I don’t understand. I want to be surprised every day. My tongue wants to be exercising itself differently, in a foreign language.

I believe that practice keeps my brain invigorated.

So that’s how most of my adult years have been spent — looking for, finding and growing myself in foreign soils. There are many kinds of humans. I’m one of those who enjoy living with challenges to my native mindset. I like to live among people who have kept ancient, unfamiliar ways alive.

I love ancient streets and buildings. They give off an aura that soothes my soul. I don’t have to worry that my Americanness is going to disappear, but I am just enough of an actor to benefit from imitation of other modes of being.

There’s no one right way, after all. I remember being told never to go to Italy because it’s a terrible place. Not long after I was living in Venice and loving it. What’s good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.

I believe it was Wendell Berry who said you should grow where you’re planted, and for him it was true. I’m sure it’s true for most people. I’ve met people who were quite happy to live out their whole earthly existence in one tiny village in the middle of nowhere. I admire it, I just can’t do it.

Listening to your instincts in spite of what important people are saying is one of the essential tools for youth. You can be pushed onto a path that is not meant for you, wondering what happened to your enthusiasm.

We have a need to get to the nitty-gritty in ourselves, to find that passion that gives meaning to our existence.

Some experts will give us a faulty compass. If we use it we’ll get lost. We each have our own compass if we can locate it and use it.

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