“I want to find a place I can plant some roots for a while.”
I heard this line recently when talking with a friend. She’s ready to travel less and live more deeply in a community she can call home. And while I know exactly what she’s meaning to say, the stark reality is this:
You can’t plant roots. You can only plant seeds and see if roots result. (Click to tweet.)
Roots are deep, taking years and even centuries to develop. They moor. They reach deep into the ground, running parallel and perpendicular and every which way, searching for water and nutrients. Roots are the result; seeds are the cause.
You can’t walk into your local garden center and walk out with a packet of roots to plant.
The only things you can plant in your life are seeds.
The seed of a conversation with a new neighbor. The seed of a first date. The seed of a new business idea. The seed of a coffee meeting facilitated by a mutual introduction. The seed of checking out that new band or restaurant or brewery or city park. The seed of a different workout routine, the seed of walking an alternate way to work, the seed of applying for another job.
Then, with time and effort, some of these seeds break through. Eventually, they want light and they burst through dark soil in search of what makes them grow. Meanwhile, these seeds are also reaching deep - deep inside you and others - to stretch out roots that anchor them and give them the energy, strength and confidence to sprout and thrive.
We all want - and need - roots. But roots take time. And hard work. And deliberate effort.
But any breakthrough and blossoming we experience above the surface only happens because of the mooring occurring below it.
So slow down. Stop trying to plant roots. It’s impossible.
Rather, continue the repetitive work of planting seeds. Eventually, you’ll look around and rest happily in the shade of community and love, made possible by the roots that resulted from all that seed scattering.