Tag Archives: patience


To care for and protect someone or something while they are growing

Young seedlings are tender and can easily be lost. They are vulnerable in multiple ways:

  • Treading on them
  • Ignoring them and leaving them to wither
  • Providing no protection from slugs, snails & other nibblers
  • Providing no protection from strong winds that can break them
  • Being too keen & leaving young plants out on frosty night
  • Over-watering: drowned, anemic plants
  • Over feeding: Spindly weak plants that shoot up but then can’t hold their own weight

All the above are a right pain in the arse, those beautiful dreams of flourishing plants set back. Particularly a bit of a shocker that you can destroy by too much of something which, in lesser quantities, is beneficial.


New ideas, new habits, new skills, new friendships, new ways of thinking, new projects … they’re all tender and vulnerable too, whilst they develop roots and become stronger: They need protection from too much criticism too soon, from doubts, from over enthusiasm, from overwhelm, from over-reaching, from stalling, from starving.

Discovering how to nurture healthy seedlings that grow into healthy plants is likely to take some learning (i.e. mistakes). You may have to re-sow a few times!! Keep nurturing:

  1. You’re responsible for daily care, ongoing. It’s not a one off thing. Check how things are going often, and provide whatever is needed.
  2. There is a rate of growth that can be handled, and you’re best off working within that. A little oomph helps. Too much oomph destroys.
  3. The healthy growth of that seedling (or idea, project, habit…) is inherent, ready and waiting. You don’t have to create that bit. You just have to nourish that inherent potential, and protect it from external hazards, your own neglect – or your own over-enthusiasm.

That’s why nurture matters. Nurture enables the new. Success depends not on being brilliant immediately, but on having the patience and persistence to nurture.

Small steps…

One may walk up a giant mountain one step at a time – John Muir

Well said Mr Muir! One has walked up many mountains, one step at at time.

The richness of mountain metaphors is astonishing to me. None more nurturing than the power of small, persistent steps. I KNOW how slow I can go up mountains, as I’ve been privileged to holiday up nice big hills in the Himalayas,  Andes and Alps.

At 16000ft, heading towards the Thorung La on the Annapurna Circuit Oct 2000

At 16000ft, heading towards the Thorung La, on the Annapurna Circuit Oct 2000

With every ascent at altitude it is wise, and indeed necessary, to take a steady pace. Once you’re back down in oxygen rich atmosphere, the effort of the climb seems a distant weirdity. But at altitude, on an eight hour ascent with every single step simply puffing you out, your brain gets a phenomenal lesson in what can be achieved one step at a time.

My development of relaxing mountain retreats has been the same: Small steps, persistently heading broadly in the direction I want to go.

How small is small? It can be miniscule! I can remember one day, feeling rather low and overwhelmed, my achievement was to find the telephone number of an organisation that might be able to give me some tips. The next day I dialed the number and got a bit of info. The day after that I rang another place and got a bit more info. About 2 weeks later, everything was sorted and my way ahead was clear again.

Just keep plodding... on Chichicapac in the Andes, June 2005

Just keep plodding… on Chichicapac in the Andes, June 2005

My pacing of myself and of others is a feature, perhaps something I am especially comfortable with and willing to champion in others: Persistence, patience and compassion nurture you and your talents. Value each and every small step you take!

Be not afraid of growing slowly, be only afraid of staying still

And actually, don’t be afraid of staying still whilst you rest, idle, daydream or recharge either. Just don’t stay still indefinitely because you will get bored and really hungry 🙂