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  • Earlene Gleisner

Four Elements Toward Growth

Recently I attended a showing of the documentary ‘The Seeds of Vandana Shiva’. She is an East Indian woman who first trained as a physicist then turned into an eco/feminist activist. Prior to the showing of the movie, Jamie Chevalier of Quail Seeds offered insight into how to nurture seeds into plants. I learned that I have much to learn about this process.

For the progeny of all living things, this very precious form, a seed, is perhaps a tiny or oblong or round element of life. For it to become what it is meant to be, it needs a balance of four elements: Earth to assist it to feel supported, Water for nourishment, Warmth for encouragement to sprout, and Air to allow it to swell and grow into a plant and blossom.

I’m not sure why this was a surprise to me. It did help me understand why these seeds I plant and soak, often rot. I smother them with my over-attention, or they shrivel up when I leave them too dry because I’ve forgotten them. Everything has to be in balance, in other words, all things need to be nourished by receiving just enough of the major elements of life.

This led me to review these thoughts as a metaphor. My life, my friendships, relationships, my projects, all of them thrive best when I can surround them with these four essences. A safe place in which to rest/reside (Earth), sprinkles of love (Water) for their nourishment, Attention to their presence as a being (Warmth) so they can grow, and Space (Air) for each and all to expand into the fullest expression of themselves.

I also had the thought that I might thrive if I would attend to myself in the same manner.

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