Planting Happiness in the Mud

“Last November, I had been moving that bag of tulip bulbs for weeks, shifting them here, setting them there. They were giving me the evil eye.”
In our coaching conversations, I like to begin our time together with clients sharing “What went well” in the last couple of weeks — ‘What are your wins, victories or good news’. A paper bag glowing with the evil eye? I couldn’t wait to hear how that was good news!

“I had brought that bag of bulbs home with me a month ago, and it was dawning on me that they were not going to get planted, and what a waste that would be. I’d feel badly about a project that didn’t happen. The flower bulbs would rot. Shame would set in.

It was a dark, cold November night when I decided that would not be the case. I parked my car in the yard, turned on the lights, and planted 100 tulip bulbs. I didn’t know what wild haphazard

Garden Before
Garden Before

flower garden was going to appear in the spring. I was muddy and exhausted, and felt a little crazy when I finished. But in the morning, I felt victorious. And now, it’s May, and I get to look at this!” We looked admiringly at the pictures again. I asked a coaching question, “What did you learn from this

She said, “The thing that puts me off a thing, is thinking it has to be perfect. Perfect conditions, perfect timing, perfect me. What I learned is, just do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The ‘doing’ is enough. That, and delayed   gratification is wonderful,when it’s a long row of tulips in my yard.”

In sharing the story with me, I saw a shift in her, midway through the telling. She understood then, that this story was meaningful to her. It had a difference. An adventure and version of herself she doesn’t usually acknowledge. I think stories are powerful. The ones we tell to ourself and the ones we relate to others about ourself, they reveal our deepest beliefs.


Garden After
Garden After

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