I spend a lot of time being hard on myself, especially when it comes to areas of my spiritual development. I tell myself if I'd had dedicated more time to meditating, or practicing mediumship I'd be more "advanced" by now. But truth be told at the time, I didn't feel like it.
Spiritual progression comes in waves, and stages. It's susceptible to your mood, the alignment of the planets, your circumstances and responsibilities and so much more.
A couple of years ago I started testing my green thumb. I'd also started taking art classes, something I'd been wanting to do for a long time. Our first assignment was to paint a picture of an apple. I went to the grocery store and chose the perfect one, green and red, mottled beautifully, and over the period of three weeks proceeded to carefully spend approximately 9 hours rendering it in the most lifelike representation I could. Between painting sessions the apple was placed carefully in the fridge, and by week three had only begin to dull ever so slightly.
At the end of the session I carefully cut up and ate the apple, and preserved the seeds in a glass jar filled with dirt and placed it in the fridge to germinate - and I waited. Eventually I looked in the fridge and a few of the seeds had begun to sprout. I carefully transplanted them into some repurposed glass planters and watched them thrive. Only one little seedling made it to a healthy sprout. It grew ever so slowly in the self-watering planter, and I barely had to check on her. I would talk to her every day and tell her how impressed I was with the new leaves she was sprouting.
Well, then quarantine happened and I had nothing but time to watch plants grow. There came a day when I felt she was ready to be re-potted so I found her a big giant pot from outside and I brought it into my sunroom. I carefully repotted the tiny sapling, her roots had tested the boundaries of the glass, and had worked their way to the bottom of the self-watering reservoir where she could just slurp up all the sustenance directly into her roots. I found it pretty amazing.
After I placed her into her bigger home, I didn't see any new growth for months. In fact a few of her leaves turned brown and fell off. I began to worry that I'd messed something up. I started googling things like "how big is my apple tree supposed to be" and finding pictures of saplings the same age that were much taller and bigger! I kept thinking, there must be something wrong.
Finally one day a couple of weeks ago, I checked on her and started to see a few bright green leaf buds poking out from the main stalk. It didn't take long after that for her to shoot up about 2 inches and sprout a handful of beautiful fresh greenery. It was only then that the most obvious thing occurred to me. She'd probably been growing this whole time, in the most important way possible- her roots! I'd placed her in a giant new environment and she was getting established, secure, rooted. The dropping of those old leaves was a necessary part of the process, they no longer served a purpose and were ready to be let go, and only now is she able to dedicate time to that visible upward growth.
It immediately reminded me of my own spiritual growth. Here I was, beating myself up because I haven't been able to lucid dream lately, or I feel my mediumship is not as progressed as it should be, when in actuality I've been taking the time I needed to ground. I established a wonderful business with the help of some amazing local creators, I built roots! Long ago I had set the intention to travel, and I realized, I could take my store on the road - an excellent opportunity to both help others and myself. I often forget that when manifesting things, the universe always provides, just not always in the exact way we expected, and often times, it's even better than we could've imagined.
I write this post from a hammock underneath the oak tree in my yard, in the home next door to where I grew up. I remember when this tree planted itself, my dad looked into the yard next door and said, "I can't believe Bill is going to let that tree grow there." Well I'm so glad he did. It's now a resting place for the crows that visit, a play place for squirrels, and my daily sanctuary. I look at this tree every day as I am aware of the seasons changing. I watch the leaves sprout fresh in spring, and begin to turn brown in the summer until they all fall off and start the process all over again.
Trees are great teachers, reminding us to be patient and kind to ourselves. We can't compare our growth to anyone else's, our growth is our own. Everything has a season, even you. Allow yourself time, time to shed the old, time to root, time to sprout anew.