The Quest For Love’s Green Thumb

I recently touched upon an important piece of the relationship puzzle known as “compromise.” Right now I’d like to attempt to go a step further and delve into the concept of give and take or a bilateral reward system by way of an “Epic Simile.” If our goal as a couple is to strengthen and grow our love then we must be open to recognizing each other’s effort and rewarding them with their needed and desired fruits of their labor and in turn trust that they will do the same for us. Try to think of love itself as a living thing, an animal or plant that needs to be watered and fed, it needs play time, sunlight and rest; it needs to feel alive…

I’m going with the plant idea here –

In order to feed and nurture love so it blossoms in to something beautiful we have to plant it, honestly care about it, have passion for it, and have a deep seeded desire to see it reach its full potential and understand that it is going to take vigilant attention and hard work along the way. Cared for and happy plants yield beautiful flowers, robust herbs, juicy fruits and healthy vegetables. In other words, in my opinion, we need to love and care for our partner so much that we actually do everything in our means to help them grow by giving them all the elements they need to do so. They should, in turn, bare the fruits and reward us by fulfilling our needs and we should both expect our needs to be met and we should enjoy both the labor and the rewards. This love is synergy… Synergy can be ridiculously powerful, but by definition cannot be a one sided effort, both teams must give their best performance.

Much like a plant, when love blossoms it needs to be cared for. It needs food, water, fresh air and sunlight. Many people actually talk to their plants and play Vivaldi for them because they believe it helps them grow into stronger, happier plants! Then we have our lovers; we take them for granted and just expect them to grow on their own and still blossom. We stop feeding them. We no loner provide fresh air and sunlight. We stop talking to them. They start to wilt… We expect them to dig their roots in deep and grow tall and mighty like a Redwood with amazingly thick bark and an impressive canopy creating our own self-sustaining microclimate while feeding itself through months of drought.

The reality is that our relationships often resemble that all too common situation when we decide to buy that basil plant from the grocery store. The intent is great and romantic. We pick up that little green pot and have visions of planting it in the back yard or creating and herb planter box so we can walk outside and pick our homegrown vibrantly green fresh herbs to season our favorite dishes with. We come home from the store and pick a few leaves, chiffonade them and add it to our favorite pasta dish. Delicious! We’re so glad we picked it up… A few weeks pass and we notice the sad little green pot in the corner of the counter. We have failed to give it any attention. We have not watered it or given it fresh air or sunlight. The soil is dry and cracking, its stem is thin and weak, the internodes are limp, the terminal buds are brown and dry and the wilted leaves are dusty. We attempt to save it. We flood it with water and place it in the sunlight. In a week we check back in and find it dead.

Unfortunately we can sometimes plant things like strawberries for instance and care for it “by the book.” It grows healthy and strong but its fruit never matures and ripens. Perplexed, this is often when we decide to seek help from the local gardening store explaining the history from the beginning, explaining the environment and perhaps even providing a soil sample as a last ditch effort to produce fresh, ripe, red strawberries – your favorite fruit. Consider this – if you think you are doing everything right by the book; perhaps you have overlooked the need for the appropriate climate and its time for climate change. I beg you, especially if you are the plant, if it’s a new climate you need then let your partner know. If your partner is doing their job and helping you grow then please bare that vibrant, sweet, juicy fruit that your partner is desperately longing for and trying to grow. Don’t force them to give up. Give them a reason to continue to try – reward them. Help them grow so you can pick your desired fruit, vegetable, flower or herb to brighten your life. They invest all that time and energy because they love you and are passionate for you. Strawberries are their absolute favorite fruit and they want you to grow with them and nurture you forever. You are what makes their life sweet!

Marseille, France

Marseille, France

The X-Factor

Unfortunately this life is full of negatives and pointless tasks. The days are taken up by work, various trials and scattered conundrums. Tribulation is wrought by multiple misunderstandings and various accidents. Eventually we go to sleep and dream…the next morning we wake and hope this day is better than the last as we walk out that door. We frequently get caught up in and let down by the negative energy that is often surrounding life. For some reason it seems to be so much easier to focus on than all the good we do and the positives in life. So we continually dream and strive for change as we try to create pleasant environments and positive memories to offset the stresses of reality.

I for one feel like I’m stuck in a rut in the everyday monotony of this thing we call life. All I feel like I do is work. I work at least 52 or more hours a week in a job that I wish I could find a way to get out of. Though it is, to me, the most stress free and easiest part of my day – I feel trapped. It’s a black hole or a vacuum sucking my time and life away as I feel my dreams slip though my fingers. Hence, I constantly find myself chasing my dreams. I have this goal, a vision of whom I think I’m supposed to be, albeit in the eyes of many my life isn’t so bad. I admit when I take a moment to step back and honestly asses the reality of the situation…I have to agree; not a bad life. At the very core of it all I have a wife and two beautiful daughters, a well paying and consistent job that will most likely last forever and I live in San Francisco and go for amazing bike rides… Seriously, what the hell am I complaining about?! Well, I’m just not the “me” I expected myself to be at this point in my life. I’m not meeting my own expectations.

I dream of a day that I am paid to travel the globe and write about the adventures I take with my wife, daughters and bike. I dream about my daughters growing and becoming professional ballet dancers and ultimately owning their own studio and company. I envision my wife running her own company; which I’m working on right now and its gonna be perfect in this city… So given the fact that it is hard for me to accept the monotony and do not understand the meaning of the word “contentment,” essentially I dream of us finally controlling our own life and filling it with adventure.

Regardless of all of this, through thick and thin, you know what the best part of my day is? The one constant motivator to continue chasing my dreams. The one thing that makes life worth it and stops the earth from spinning and protects me from all of its forces against me. The light in the shadows of darkness. The thing that reminds me that I’m actually doing alright… The X-Factor. It’s amazing actually, the feeling I get in my heart and soul. I’m talking about that brief, isolated moment when I tuck my girls in at night and they say these seemingly simple words to me – “I Love You Dad.” Yes, this is the real reason why I’m here. That is my true happiness…and nothing else matters. I love you too girls! Thank you for being everything to me.

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