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A Symbol of Strength, Beauty, Flexibility & Resilence
The Gardening of Plants and People . . .

Like bamboo, humans possess the attributes of strength, beauty, flexibility and resilience. We also have an amazing regenerative capacity. And, under the right growing conditions, we too can grow at incredible rates!

With both plants and people there's a gestation period for development. No matter how much we may want instant gratification, growth takes time. There is an Asian bamboo species that is barely visible above ground after five years of feeding and weeding. Then, in a span of about six weeks it grows two and a half feet a day to 90 feet or higher. It grows so fast you can "hear" it growing as fast as 2 inches an hour. This kind of growth isn't just possible, under the right conditions, it's inevitable! Did the bamboo grow 90 feet in 6 weeks or did it grow 90 feet in 5 years? Obviously, it took 5 years for the massive, strong, deep root system to develop that would eventually support its magnificent growth.

What situations in your life are developing your supportive roots system? Can you see where you need to weed and feed yourself even though you can't see any visible changes today? 

Gardeners know the importance of providing rich soil, planting high quality seeds, providing enough light, pruning, deadheading, fertilizing and weeding. Even if the soil of our family of origin wasn't rich with values that could provide necessary nourishment, we can take responsibility for tilling, reseeding and farming our own physical, mental and spiritual fields, creating our own inevitable growth. 

When we cultivate our minds and spirits with high quality ideas and surround ourselves with people that challenge our thinking and help us stretch, we enrich our own lives as well as the lives of all who surround us. By reading good books, enjoying rich conversations, and commiting to continuous improvement, we provide ourselves with the seeds of living our personal best.

To bloom abundantly, pruning and deadheading are required. Without these actions, new life will be stifled. So, we need to regularly ask ourselves: What do I need to let go of to move forward? What might be anchoring you to old patterns and habits? Who or what do I allow to pull me back rather than inspire and encourage me forward? 

And, course, there's the nasty plant that defies all of the above . . . weeds. Weeds flourish with little to no tending. Moreover, they quickly take over an entire garden if left to their own devices!  Since weedy attitudes and thoughts undermine improvement and contaminate the entire garden, they need to be yanked deep to the roots to clear the path for an abundant harvest.

Like early development of bamboo, new behaviors may not translate into results as quickly as we'd like. And, the early stages of new behaviors are often awkward and less than elegant. However, do the work, stay the course, keep your eye on your desired results. Don't give up early in the process. Perhaps some of the necessary "fertilizer" is challenge, confusion, disappointment, angst or fear. It's all part of the process.       

Life is a process; so is growth. Each day gives us new opportunities to plant wisely and cultivate mindfully. For, each of us will eventually either celebrate the resulting yield of our efforts or find ourselves looking for excuses, blaming or whining about the lack of results. Together, let's dig deep, plant wisely, weed, prune, fertilize and cultivate consistently so we can enjoy the harvest of an artfully crafted life.

Consider these facts . . .

Bamboo produces up to 35% more oxygen than hardwood trees and absorbs four times as much carbon.

Under the right soil and climate conditions, bamboo can grow as much as 1.5 to 2 inches per hour.

Bamboo was the first plant life to return after the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. 

Alexander Graham Bell's first phonograph needle was made of bamboo. 

Thomas Edison's first light bulb used a filament made of carbonized bamboo. Patented in 1880, this light bulb still burns today in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC.

Thomas Edison also used bamboo as rebar for the reinforcement of his
swimming pool. To this day, the pool has never leaked.

There is a suspension bridge on a river in China that is 250 yard long, 9 foot wide and rests entirely on bamboo cables fastened over the water. It doesn't contain a single nail or piece of iron in it.

A typical bamboo has a tensile strength of 28,000 per square inch vs. 23,000 for steel. So, when it comes to tension structure, bamboo is one of the strongest materials in the world. 

Bamboo is twice as stable as oak and harder than walnut or teak.
Did you know?

Many consider bamboo the most influential, important plant to human kind and the ecosystem. 

The fastest growing plant on
Earth, it's been around for over
200 million years and is used to make thousands of useful things, including food, housing, furniture,
paper, airplane "skins," medicine, art tools, musical instruments, bridges and the list goes on.

It's strength, beauty, flexibility and resilience have contributed to making it play a longer & more diverse role in human cultural evolution than any other plant on the planet.

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