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  • Keep Stagnation Away: Ruts grow like weeds. They are the product of inattention and laziness. Once you become engaged in rebuilding your life, you need to keep at it and take pleasure in every step forward. Do not let your energy and effort lapse. Remember, it took a lot of inattention to get your garden into a sorry state and it will take a lot of consistent effort to turn it into the glorious garden that it can be. Stagnation is a form of death.
  • Fertilize the Soil: Gardens need fertilizer to thrive. You life is the same. Add new relationships, skills and interests lavishly. Find those things which get your engine revved up and collect them into your life. The richer the mixture, the more vibrant you garden will become.
  • Celebrate the First Small Steps: When you plant seeds, nothing much seems to happen for a while. But the real miracle of life is going on even when you cannot see it. Soon there will be the first green shoots poking up through the soil as life reaches for the warmth of the sun. Life is that way if it is allowed to grow under the right conditions. Your life can be the same. And when it starts to grow, take the time to celebrate.
  • Have Faith that it Will Flourish: Sure, you can worry that the garden might not end up exactly the way you want it. In truth, it almost never does. Plants have a mind of their own and their own way of being. Things go far better if the gardener does not act as a dictator but as a facilitator. The same is true for your life. You should bring those things into your garden that you want to help grow; and things into your life that will make it more glorious and fulfilling. In neither case will you be able to determine exactly how it will end up, but you can help it grow and enjoy the fruits of your labor anyway.
  • Have the Courage to be the Gardener: Remember that you are the gatekeeper of your own future. If there are things that are blocking you from fulfilling that role, move them out of the way. Fear or hesitancy is a path that leads back to the rut. Have faith in your own abilities and trust yourself. Every gardener faces this challenge. Every plot of land brings the same challenge. A blank slate is difficult enough, but when you have to clear the land before planting, the initial steps can be daunting. Have faith, roll up your sleeves and get at it. Never become the proverbial deer in the headlights. You can do it, so get cracking and do it.
  • Keep At It: A garden does not come into full flower at the snap of your fingers. It takes lots of care and consistent attention. The same is true for moving out of a rut and changing your life. It may seem easier to slip back into the stagnation that built the rut, but you need to realize that is a form of death. You are alive precisely to the extent that you are enriching and tending your garden. Give it the life it deserves; the life you deserve.
  • Now is the Time: Start now. Never wait until you feel up to it. Procrastination is one of the main reasons that you ended up in a rut. The opportunity to start rejuvenating your garden is now. Missing the opportunity is simply staying in that rut.
  • Take Time to Enjoy the Garden: Remember that you are making the effort and taking the care for a reason. You have decided to make your life more fulfilling. The gardening will help that come to pass. But you need to experience the growth and celebrate it with those close to you. Nothing is more satisfying than showing off your new garden. Let people experience it and your pride of authorship.
  • Think Ahead and Visualize the New Garden: The work goes better if you have a vision of how your garden will look when it is in full flower. The same is true for your life. Take the time to dream about how much better it will feel to live that new life. Every once in a while stop and look at how things are taking root; then think about how they will look when they are fully grown. If you can see the garden you are trying to grow, you will have a dream that you can work to make come true.
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    If you can begin to see your life as a process, much like the growing garden, you can take the first steps towards making it a reality. If you can dream the garden that you want to grow, you will always have a vision to guide your efforts. If you do both, you are on your way to having the life you deserve.

    © Earl R. Smith II, PhD

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