“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
If my gardens have taught me anything in the last 20+ years, it is the lesson found in this wonderful quote. And oh how I have stumbled and bumbled around in my garden. Planting mint or anything in the mint family in a moist sunny spot….a nightmare as it takes over. Letting teasel go to seed in the meadow…..you get a meadow of teasel, not native wildflowers. Or trying to grow tomatoes in a spot with barely a few hours sunlight….you might get one tomato if you are lucky.
And through all these experiences, I have continued forward. With a dogged determination to not give in or give up, but to persevere. To keep going and fighting and learning from these mistakes…..I like to call them experiences. Yes I could give up. I have thought about it. But a voice replays a very wise saying in my ear each time I do want to just throw up my hands….’It is, what it is.
It took me a long time to figure out what that meant and not fight against it too hard, because it is like beating your head against a wall. So what to do when you plant mint? Continue to rip it out. You will still have enough to use, but it will not take over. With teasel (pictured here), which is a beautiful and somewhat dangerous plant, you have to keep pulling it out too. Eventually you get ahead of it and begin to see progress. The plant cannot get a foothold and you can see your wildflowers flourish instead.
There are times shear willpower will not win out, and during those times I study, plan and put in the effort. Take growing tomatoes. We knew we needed more sun so we waited until we had a sunny spot to grow them. But then wilt and blight killed the plants. And year after year with no tomatoes we again contemplated throwing in the trowel. Instead I looked for hybrid tomatoes that were grown to resist these fungal diseases. I tested different ones until we found those we liked, and now we have tomatoes growing and ripening.
As it is with my garden, so it is with life. Things have not always turned out as I had envisioned. My story has changed many times through many lessons and hardships. The paths I followed led to new paths…some good and some not so good. And sometimes I let setbacks get to me, but not for long.
Through it all, there has been one constant…..I never stopped trying to reach a dream. Those dreams may have been delayed until the timing was right. Each struggle helping me grow, to make me ready. To learn the lessons hidden inside the wait and the struggle. And many times I let the dream go…not giving up, but releasing my tight hold on it. Inevitably the dream came back around, many times changed and morphed into something better.
And it was because of this steadfastness I cultivate inside of me, that I have grown. I have a rich, purposeful life. Maybe not the life I envisioned or dreamed about many years ago, but a wonderful life. Full of rich experiences with persistence and determination…a life of happiness and joy. And now on this new path since retirement, I am learning many things still. Not content to sit and let my memories wash over me. No I am flexing those ‘moxie muscles’ again as I pursue new dreams…new hopes with the same perseverance I have always shown. I whisper these new dreams on the wind, let them go and continue to move forward one step at a time. I am excited to see what comes back to me in time.
Special Note: The pictures here are of wild teasel or Dipsacus fullonum. It is considered an invasive plant and weed here in the US that was introduced in the 1800s for use in the textile industry. In The Language of Flowers, it has come to represent Misanthropy. The plant is not to be trusted as it is covered in sharp barbs from tip to root, and will cause injury if you get tangled in it.
I leave you with a few additional words about Perseverance. I welcome you to download the photo and share it.
All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015. Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.