Week #9 – Needing to nurture the right seed

What a week.  It seems I go from utter success, keeping up with my schedule and committments, and then the week following I can’t do a doggoned thing on time.  I have to keep reminding myself that it’s just my old blueprint resisting, and I need to keep making the right choices that will build the correct habits and then strengthen them.

50,000 words, five days early!

On the plus side,  I met the NaNoWriMo challenge!!  Oh, yes.  50,000 words on November the 26th!  I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious, creative and happy!  Now it’s just a matter of finishing the rough draft, and going back through it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure my characters stay consistent, that I don’t emphasize to death certain details, finesse others, and that the storyline follows the plan and doesn’t interfere in what’s already been established in a book that takes place at a later time (which I wrote first).

“And if you do not intend to finish a thing, Do. Not. Start.”

But on the days I fall behind, it’s hard to remember that I’ve had successes to build on; on the days I do well, I celebrate and then think “why exactly did I do that, when it’s not really that big a thing?”  This, despite knowing why celebration for seemingly minor things is not just important, but crucial, to the building of good habits.

And all the while I’m wondering, am I doing the things that will further my DMP, or is this distraction by a bright new shiny toy, even though I’m accomplishing things?  What’s my priority?  How much time should I devote to writing, and how much to photography, and how much to writing about photography?  I have to start producing income, but if I focus on that, it’ll never happen… at least, not the way I want it to.  It’ll become prison instead of freedom, if it’s all about the income.  At the same time, I can’t just be giving my time away by not working on income-produding activities.

And then I see my favorite plant, in residence in my office window again.  Or I use Haanel’s meditation from MasterKey 9.

Hibiscus in residence!


This is my hibiscus.  Jerry got him from Menards a few years ago and planted him in front of the house.  Now, Jerry said he checked with the folks at Menards, and that the plant is a winter-hardy variety… I still don’t know if he is or not.  That first year, I pulled him inside just after the first frost (left it almost too late – this was a couple of years before the ‘do it now, do it now, do it now’) and spent half the winter looking at those pathetic, crisped and dead leaves on lifeless branches, worrying that I’d killed him.

Then he started budding new greenery again; just a slight swelling of a branch-notch at first, becoming a sudden sliver of green, unfolding and pushing outward toward the meagre winter sun coming in through the window.  Then more leaves, all up and down every stem but one, and the dried dead-looking sticks themselves began producing new growth the color of the dark greeny-brown of life.

I was thrilled.  He didn’t bloom again until late the next fall, after I’d pulled him back into the house for the winter – the night of the lunar eclipse.  The flower was a healthy thing of the palest pink, bigger across than my hand.

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He flourished through the winter, though, growing leaves that were darker and larger, the stems becoming so tall I started to wonder if I should take cuttings and grow new plants.  Never did.  I had enough on the sill!  Four tomatoes and the hibiscus.   And then next spring I made a mistake of terrible timing; when I was hardening the hibiscus to the strengthening spring sun, I left him out about four hours longer than I should have, and burned (almost) all his leaves off.

First freezing, then burning.  You think he’d just give up, wouldn’t you?

Nope.  I watched for days, checking the moisture level in the soil obsessively, scrutinizing each stem for new growth…

He recovered again, my hardy tropical hibiscus, growing and thriving in the sweltering summers and frigid winters of southern Minnesota.

Now, I figured with all the energy he spent in regrowing his leaves, if he bloomed at all it would be late, and the flowers few.

How wrong I was!  He set a good dozen flowers starting in late July, each one as big and beautiful as the last – and a much darker pink this time around, almost a fuscia, rather than a blusher pink.

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Again, thrilled.  Enjoying every stage of every bloom, from late July to September.

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I brought him inside again when it started getting colder at night, the days shorter.  And then he surprised me again by setting a second set of blooms!  Seventeen of them.  In the month of November.

Because he doesn’t care overmuch about freezing, burning, gradually-depleting soil; he grows:  He doesn’t obsess over what goes wrong; he grows:  He doesn’t worry about where his benefits are going to come from or how to earn them; he grows.  He soaks in the sun and the rain and makes leaves and flowers and (if fertilized) seeds.  He doesn’t think about the Law of Growth, he lives it.  Silently.  Naturally.  Of course, since he’s a potted plant he needs a bit of help now and again.  Like being inside in the winter, and getting watered and occasionally fed a bit of nutrients, because what’s in the soil doesn’t last forever, cut off from the ecosystem like it is.

He has a goal; produce blooms that will draw in the pollinators which will allow him to set seeds.  And so he simply grows, obeying the requirements of nature and his own genetics.

Although now I’m getting a bit concerned by how big he’s getting.  He likes the ceramic pot he’s in, but if he gets much bigger I’m going to have to prune him, or transplant him, and I’ll need to go to a plastic pot instead of ceramic – much more soil and plant in a heavier pot, I’m not at all sure I could carry him indoor to outdoor safely.  I was also getting curious – if I planted his seeds, would his progeny also be pink?  Would they grow as big, have as healthy leaves?  It’s always a question, with hybrids.  You can never know the offspring will be exactly the same as the parent.  And would his seeds even be viable?

So I decided to pull some seeds from his last blooms of the year – I did try planting what I thought were seeds, but turned out they hadn’t gotten fertilized.  So I took a feather from one of the cat toys and ‘painted’ the pollen on the pistils.


So now the seed pods are growing, hidden and protected by the same sepals that once sheltered each tiny flower bud (I carefully move one sepal aside on each every now and again, just to see how the pods are growing – I love to watch things grow!); and still the hibiscus is simply, quietly, inexorably, growing.

And soon there will be seeds to plant, nurture, and watch grow, without obsession or fanfare, but naturally, as their sire does – accepting the gifts of sun and rain and soil-based nutients, never fussing about the parts that don’t go quite right.  Just growing.  Because that’s what plants do.

Can you guess what my model is, for visualizing the exercise in MasterKey 9?

Sorry for the lengthy post.  Just one final thought or two; probably not even profound ones, for folks who have made it to week 9 in the MKMMA:  Growth is inevitable, inexorable, undeniable.  Whatever thoughts we plant will grow; whatever action we choose will produce seeds.

Plant your seeds and just… grow.  Give them sun and rain and a bit of nutrients every now and again.  And don’t obsess about the parts that don’t go right.  If you don’t like the results of what you planted, then plant different seeds and just… grow.

It’s so simple, once we get out of our own way.

7 thoughts on “Week #9 – Needing to nurture the right seed

  1. Writer, photographer, horticulturist, wonderful purveyor of the master keys, what else? Your care and patience radiates in the survival of a hibiscus growing in a place where no tropical plant is usually found (outside of a hothouse), and it must be a treat for your neighbors and friends to see.

    The length of your post reminds me of some of the ones that I wrote last year, and the strength and tenacity exemplified by your masculine flower reminds me of what the dying poet may have been wishing for with his final words; those words being the last stanza of a poem featured near the end of my Week 2 blog post — or was it Week 3? – published last year and this. Since I personally love the poem and love to share it too; and since I’m using Dragon NaturallySpeaking, I can rattle it off quite quickly:

    How calmly does the Olive branch
    Observe the sky begin to blanch –
    Without a cry, without a prayer,
    With no betrayal of despair!

    Sometimes while night obscures the tree,
    The Zenith of his life will be.
    Gone past forever and from thence,
    A second history will commence.

    And finally the broken stem,
    The plummeting to earth and then,
    An intercourse not well designed
    For beings of a golden kind.

    Whose native green must arch above
    The Earth’s obscene corrupting love.
    A Chronicle no longer gold,
    A bargaining with mist and mold.

    And still the ripe fruit and the branch
    Observe the sky begin to blanch.
    Without a cry, without a prayer,
    With no betrayal of despair.

    Oh courage could you not as well
    Select a second place to dwell?
    Not only in that golden tree,
    But in the frightened heart of me?

  2. Pingback: WEEK 10 | STILL WATERS | masterkeyroz

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