Let me begin with this old Chinese folktale I heard about an Emperor, a boy, and a seed...
In this story, the Emperor didn't have any children to hand his kingdom over to so he announced to the hopeful children wanting to take his place that he would give them each a seed to tend to and in a years time, they are to come back and show him what their efforts produced. So one young boy, Ling, went back to his village and picked out a pot for his seed with his mother and began to care for the seed each day as told. A few weeks passed as Ling watered his seed each day and saw that all the other children's seed has grown.. but Ling's didn't. The kids would compare their plants and laugh at Ling as his seed didn't produce anything; it bothered Ling, but still, each day he did what he was supposed to and would water his plant. When the year came to an end and it was time to show the Emperor what they have grown, Ling was very anxious since his plant never grew a single stem or leaf. "They're going to think I'm lazy, what if they punish me? They don't know I've watered and cared for my plant each day." His mother told him that no matter what he will return to the palace and show the emperor his pot. Ling, filled with worry, listened. As he entered through the gates, he saw how magnificent and beautiful all the other children's plants were. The other children began to wonder which of them the Emperor would choose to rule next and as they looked at Ling's pot, they would scoff and make fun of his barren pot.
The Emperor began looking at each vibrant plant and hopeful child as they puffed up their chests believing that they were the chosen ones to lead the kingdom. When the Emperor got to Ling, he asked him "what happened with your seed?" Ling assured him that he watered and cared for his seed each day but nothing grew; the Emperor mumbled to himself and walked away.
Hours later after the Emperor finished assessing each child and plant he announced his choice. “Clearly, some of you desperately want to be Emperor and would do anything to make that happen, but there is one boy that I would like to point out as he has come to me with nothing. Ling, come here please.” With fear, Ling approached the Emperor with his barren pot and the Emperor stated: “A year ago, I gave you all a seed. I told you to plant the seed and return with your plant. The seeds that I gave you all were boiled, no longer viable, and wouldn’t grow, but I see before me thousands of plants and only one empty pot. Integrity and courage are more important values for leadership than proud displays, so Ling here will be my heir.”
What I love most about this story is how much it resonates with me still to this day; the importance of honesty in your work and ethic. How you need to remain focused on your own path/decisions and not compare yourself to others and what may appeal to you from their journeys:
It's essentially important to nurture what you have; producing positive energy and love, appreciating your life and what it gifts you in each moment. We may look over our shoulder and begin to question ourselves; it is in these moments our choices and work desire more from our heart. When we continuously believe and acknowledge the support and love we receive from our atmosphere things get clearer to see, clearer to act on, even if we don't have the exact end plan in sight. We plant seeds of intention and outcome through our actions and affirmations every day whether we know it or not; to produce growth and happiness we need to be aware of what we allow ourselves to accept and be apart of; that means not giving in to negative or harmful talk or activity. It means supporting and treating others the way you want to be treated. Why bring someone down, do you really believe it'll bring you up? With our choices, we are capable of envisioning and doing great things, we just need to believe in good and in the process of life. If Ling got discouraged when the other kids taunted his empty pot he wouldn't have seen his triumph in the end. If Ling decided to take the easy way out instead of fulfilling his personal purpose do you think he would've been the Emperor's successor? He stood out because he stayed the course he knew he should be on, he didn't let comparisons or trend set him adrift. When we remain honest with ourselves and take time to care for our needs, even when we feel like we are out of our element, we rejoice in the fruits of our work. It all starts with just a seed of faith in our visions, a seed of action & love, a seed of self-dedication to the cause we are working towards.
Just because we don't always receive constant outward praise or celebration doesn't mean things aren't working or worth it. That's the beauty of personal growth! It isn't for anyone else but you. You can't come to know who you are when you're always doing for others. What waters you, won't water them and vice versa. This is a choice that needs to be made every day. Trees don't flourish overnight and your own being needs this nurturing and support every day as you grow and evolve into a better you. The importance of individuality is a driving force to have anything come to life. Remember who you're doing it for, remember what you give and say to yourself and keep going. Even a boiled seed will have it's reward as long as you put good in, good will always blossom out. ~ LSB
#OrganicallyGrown Creative Direction: LSB Shot/Executed by: Nuzzi Vizzion (@nuzzi_vizzion on IG)