Doing the Work | Digging + Cultivating

What relationships might need before they can grow.

I think that one of the hardest parts of gardening is preparing the soil for new seeds and fresh growth.  And by “hardest,” I mean the most annoying and seemingly superfluous parts of the whole process.  I’ve learned what happens when you take a flowerbed or a planter box of last season’s greens, lightly pull a rake across the dirt, plop some seeds in the ground, water and wait.


What happens is usually nothing.  Occasionally, something will grow but nothing like what it could be. 

I’ve also learned what happens when you spend hours digging up old soil that might be dry and cracking, or sopping wet and crawling with bugs, or overused after five rounds of vegetables.  I’ve learned what happens when you let the soil rest, when you add fresh compost and nutrients and water, when you break up the hard pieces and remove all the rocks.  And then you make way for seeds and water to work.


What happens is oftentimes something grows.


“Nature takes a toll on the soil as the elements actively dry it into a crust. Cultivating breaks up the crusty soil surface allowing for a much easier penetration of air, nutrients and water deep into the soil where plant roots can gain access to them.

While almost everyone knows the importance of water to a garden, it is vital that air is able to penetrate the soil surface in order to benefit the micro-organisms in the soil that perform the various important tasks of improving the soil and creating nutrients for plants.

Cultivating the soil also makes it easier for newly germinated seeds to sprout through the surface of the soil.”

from Mantis


Personally, I believe relationships need as much cultivating as do gardens.  Life can “take a toll” on our marriages and friendships, and leaves them dry, hardened, and malnourished.  As much as we want good things to grow between us and others, I highly doubt that’s going to happen without regular, intentional cultivation.


When you consider the relationships in your life, how would you describe the “soil” of those relationships? 


What does the “soil” of each relationship need?  From you and/or the other person?


When you consider a particular relationship that needs nourishment, what do you hope will grow from it?  What do you worry will happen if you dig into it further?


And what would it take to cultivate that relationship and dig in a little deeper?


With you and for you,


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Alair Olson, M.A.

 Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT#86504)

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