A raspberry bush needs full sun to grow.

I remember planting raspberry plants with my grandmother. The area we picked had to be in an open space, where it could bear the full rays of the sun. When the plant grows, the leaves spread out wide to gather as much sunlight as possible so it can produce its bright-colored fruit. This need for open space also means that, when the plant is still in its infancy, it is vulnerable and exposed to many elements that can hinder its growth – or even stop it from growing at all.

After its toughest periods of growth, the plant is ready to flourish. The leaves become lush and greenest right before it bears fruit. The fruit is silky sweet, a collection of raspberry-colored dew drops. Its soft lashes tickle the fingertips. The smooth, plump berries burst on the tongue.

It all starts with one seed.

It’s no coincidence that we call it the “fruits of our labor.” As we work toward something, our most productive periods come after tough periods of growth.

Think back to the toughest periods of your life. We’ve all experienced troubled times: sickness, divorce, physical or psychological limitations. What do we do in troubled times? We try to change people. We try to change the circumstances. We desperately try to change things we have little control over.

Is there success in this? No. It doesn’t work, and it has never worked.

Have you ever tried to save a dying relationship by trying to change the other person’s mind? Maybe you tried to make them love you again – to force them to remember how they used to feel about you. You were hanging on for dear life when they had let go so long ago.

You were just setting yourself up for failure.

Why Does This Happen?

It takes some time and a big step back to see what was happening in this situation. The overall picture can be quite overwhelming. You were weathering a storm both physically and psychologically. You were being pelted with stress. You probably lost confidence, dove into depression, and lost precious self-esteem. You lost autonomy and the ability to make choices about your behavior.

You were as vulnerable as a dying raspberry bush. The surroundings were desolate. When you were sick and tired – emotionally debilitated – you were a once-lush and growing thing that found itself exposed and dying under the beating sun.

Our gut reaction when we’re in that position is to change the people that we think put us in that situation. We try to change the circumstances we’re in.

That’s like trying to “fix” a raspberry bush that is sick beyond repair. We might try stripping the branches and picking off the dying fruit. But does that work? It can’t work, because we are focusing on the bush when we should be focusing on the seed. The answer lies there. The seed is the way to new beginnings. You always have a choice. You can continue to merely exist, or you can start anew.

The seed can be a thought, an action, an idea. It is that first step toward a new outlook on life. It’s a new beginning that can happen at any time – at any age!

So How to Start the Journey?

A new path will have twists and turns. You must have courage to step out of your comfort zone.

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Narrow your focus.
  • Take that first step.

Sometimes we are forced into a new beginning. During these times, we need a great support system in place to help us find our footing again.

The Thrill of the Journey

Plant the seed of change and feel the courage seep in.

Watch it sprout as your efforts take hold, and you will feel less stress.

Nurture the roots – strengthen your relationships.

As you feel healthy, fit, and strong, you’ll know the bush is taking form.

As your leaves unfurl, feel your beauty radiate.

When your efforts bear fruit, find inspiration in yourself.

Extend that gift to others.

A Beautiful Choice

You have a choice. You can choose to live – you can do more than merely exist. It’s your choice. And it starts with one seed.

Share Your Journey

  1. Share a moment in your life when you started “new.” How did you feel at that moment in your life?
  2. What important resources do you draw upon in times of need?

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