‘Healthy things grow’ is an axiom most folks are familiar with. Therefore, even if growth of whatever you’re doing may be your desire, it shouldn’t be your focus. The focus should be on maintaining robust good health; whether it’s a peach tree or the PTA.
Here’s the challenge as I see it. If my peach orchard or my hardware store or my children are healthy and growing along, more people want my peaches or bolts and washers, or the kids want to grow rabbits for fun and profit. A healthy thing growing seems to mean complexity is increasing proportional to that growth.
So how does the mother of a healthy family, the farmer of a healthy orchard or the proprietor of a healthy store maintain their own health?
I honestly didn’t start this note with an answer in mind. The catalyst was a New Year’s resolution to simplify. I’d been feeling the need to reduce complexity so the opposite seemed to be simplicity. We touched on margins last week as a partial solution; i.e. leave some space for sanity in the various areas of your life and relationships.
Another aspect is priorities. Once a month, I spend a day with a bunch of men and one of the mottos is “Priorities are what you do, everything else is just talk.” So we make “to do’s;” Things we’re going to get done by next month.
So I started putting things in my day runner that should be priorities but don’t demand attention; that helps some, but I still haven’t gotten to the root of simplify. I’m feeling that another part of the secret is defining not just how much is enough, but how much I’m willing to be involved. I think the word here is boundaries. As I work through this stuff, I’ll keep you posted. Simplicity is just really a lot more complex than I would have thought, but worth the journey me thinks.
So focusing on the health of a tree means focusing on the health of the soil and again, I want to share what I’m learning so hang with me.
What I learned in college was a plant needs adequate nutrition. Since these are known values, we take soil samples each fall to see what’s available, and leaf samples each May to see how much the tree is actually utilizing. We couple that with field observation which takes years to hone. All of this goes into planning an organic fertility program for each field. You might compare this to stepping on the scale, & taking blood samples to adjust your diet and add some vitamins.
What we’re starting to learn out here on the farm is similar to what doctors and nutritionists are learning with their patients; adequate nutrition is foundational, but that foundation is supporting microbial activity in the soil (or your body) rather than directly supporting the plant.
There’s a whole nuther microscopic world we can’t thrive without. And just like there are major and minor elements like nitrogen and boron that have to be balanced in an orchard, there are species of microorganisms that need to be adequately present for a tree to be healthy.