Whether you live in a part of the world where you endure the hot, dry days of summer, or somewhere that is like paradise every day, we all know what those hot, dry spells feel like in our life.
Someone “turned up the heat” and suddenly, our life feels like a pressure cooker.
Things that “flowed” yesterday become cracked, dry, stream beds.
The last thing you feel is “fruitful” or productive.
I’ve come to recognize that there are 10 universal factors to whether or not you reap an abundant harvest after a hot, dry spell.
So while you can’t control the temperature. Or the rainfall. You CAN control your growing conditions and your mindset. In fact, you can control everything on this list.
1.) Know your true nature and its value.
A tomato doesn’t try to be an apple (even if it IS technically a fruit.)
Are you perfectly clear on what kind of fruit you’re meant to bear? Can you articulate to yourself and others how lusciously sweet and juicy you’re going to be? If you CAN you’ll have people showing up with watering cans to make sure your buds don’t drop off before they turn into red, ripe globes!
2.) Know your ideal environment.
I know the saying, “bloom wherever you are” and I’ve done that too. But how much more fruitful will you be if you’re planted in the ideal environment, for YOU? When I tried to bloom in spite of being in an environment that wasn’t conducive to my growth, I produced a few blossoms. When I demanded of my self a move to an environment that was a match for my needs, the blooms were bigger and more plentiful than even I knew were possible for me!
If you can only take control of ONE space, then do that. Maybe it’s your work space, maybe it’s where you go to unwind. Maybe it’s just a corner of a room. Or maybe it’s how you organize your time and tasks. Even little changes can reap huge rewards!
3.) Know your ideal diet.
I know, we’ve been conditioned to avoid the word “diet.” But look at its history!
“Middle English diete, from Anglo-French, from Latin diaeta,from Greek diaita, literally, manner of living, from diaitasthaito - lead one’s life.”
That’s from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Literally - how you lead your life.
The definition most commonly accepted, however, is “habitual nourishment.” Guess what, how you habitually nourish yourself will determine your manner of living.
To be abundantly fruitful, you’ll habitually nourish yourself with good food, plenty of fluids, AND lots of mental, emotional, and spiritual stimuli and support. Think you can’t do that in a hot, dry season? Sources of nourishment abound, but in the “summer of your life” you may need to be more creative about finding them and more observant about noticing them.
4.) Know what support you need to grow up and out without breaking any limbs.
Ever see a tree with branches so long that the fruit is dragging the ground? One strong wind and there will be limbs laden with unrippened fruit broken off and going to waste. Or what about an unstaked tomato plant? The fruit is brown and bruised before it can be eaten.
What support structures do you need to keep your harvest up where it can receive lifegiving sap and cooling breezes?
5.) Know how much space you require to bloom and bear fruit.
Ah, the poor crowded plant. In the heat of summer it must fight for nourishment and water, and it cannot feel the breeze that stirs the air at sundown. It is also more susceptible to bugs and disease.
What do you need to get out of your life, or at least out of your immediate vicinity, to be as fruitful as you can be?
6.) Know what’s live, and what is dead, and get rid of the dead stuff.
I remember a phrase from The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The wise youngster, Dickon, nicks one rose cane after another to see if they still have life in them. “This one is wick,” he says. “And this one.”
Often we cannot see what is “wick,” or live, until we test it. But once we know that there is no life in it, be it a relationship, a project, an endeavor, we need to cut it away.
For just as dead canes and spent flowers rob the rose of energy and the vigor to bear blooms, dead wood and blossoms in your life will take away from your fruitfulness, especially in the harsher seasons.
7.) Know how to protect yourself from the elements.
We can’t control the weather. The sun beats down, the hot winds blow, the sudden torrent of rain washes at our roots. But knowing how to plant yourself where there is refuge can mean the difference between losing all your budding fruit to one day of nasty weather or having a rich harvest at the end of the season.
8.) Practice patience.
Bearing fruit takes time. You do what you can (see 1-7) and some days you do nothing but wait. The fruit that was green yesterday may still be green tomorrow. But in time, glossy apples or glowing tomatoes will be your reward.
9.) Know when to harvest.
Picking it at its peak is the secret to increasing the value of the fruit.
Need I say more?
I know I don’t have to explain this one to you. For why else would we want to be fruitful, if not to share our value with others.
And there you have it. 10 ways you can control your ability to bear fruit in any season, in any climate.
You’ll notice that most of them begin with “know.” Because if you don’t know, you can’t know what to do.
But once you do know, and begin to DO, I predict you’ll have many bounteous years ahead.