Tomorrow Begins Today: Law of the Harvest
Welcome to the Love Your Story podcast. One of my favorite sayings is “Tomorrow Begins Today.” I have the saying, torn from a magazine, stuck with one lone magnet to the front of my fridge. I look at it every day because it reminds me that what I am doing right now, in this moment, isn’t just about today, it’s about the law of the harvest. It’s about creating what I want in my life tomorrow, going forward. It’s about planting the seeds for the fruits I want to come forth. It’s about karma. It’s about active creation from a big picture perspective. It’s about planting and nurturing seeds in work, in relationships, in self-development, in learning. Tomorrow begins today and that means today is a powerful space to occupy.
If you could harvest anything you wanted in your life, what would it be? It’s November, it’s harvest time. Thanksgiving is giving thanks for what we’ve harvested over the summer. Let’s think about this for a minute.
When I was a child we lived in a small Idaho community and each summer my parents planted beans, potatoes, tomatoes, chard, onions, you name it. We had a garden plot that ran down one whole side of our property and at the top of our alfalfa fields, we had another big garden- rows and rows of raspberry bushes. During the summer my dad would irrigate the garden, and my brothers and sister and I would splash in the water in our swimming suits as it flooded the lawn, but during the week, we’d pull weeds, every day. Before we could play we had to pull weeds, and at harvest time we carried our little buckets and made our way through the rows of the reaching, pickery, raspberry plants, plucking off plump maroon berries, and piling them in our buckets. My mom made jam and canned peaches and beans. She froze corn and berries. It was a busy time and I’ll be honest, I hated it. I hated weeding, I hated picking beans and raspberries, I just wanted to be out biking and roller skating down the street in front of our house. But what my parents knew and cared about, that I didn’t at the time, was that all that fresh fruit, all those delicious vegetables, had to be planted, then nurtured and watered, and then, of course, harvested so we could eat healthy, fresh, and self-sufficient. It was the law of the harvest at work. The tomorrow of healthy eating would start in the spring with the smallest of seeds and a plot of dirt.
From small and simple things we would reap a bounty of gorgeous fruits and vegetables, overflowing with colors and goodness. All it took was the willingness to act – to plant the seed, and nurture – weed and water, and then the harvest was a hundredfold. Such is the law in our lives.
Today is a space you created with all your days that came before. The glorious and the ugly. If you’re sitting in a warm home surrounded by family and loved ones, it’s because you worked, you loved, you invested in yourself and others. If you’re loving yourself it’s because you plant thoughts and gentleness in your own heart and mind about who you are and what you do. If you have friends it’s because you are a friend.
The opposite is also true. If you live in lack, in any of these spaces, it is so because of the seeds planted within your mindset and actions, as well. If your relationships are anemic it’s because of the way you do not invest in them, and the people you allow into your life. If you struggle with an addiction it is most likely because you chose to get involved with an addictive substance. If you live in fear it is because you allow thoughts of fear rather than faith to dominate your mind. If you are in debt chances are it is due to choices you made to spend. Let’s hop on the responsibility train.
Today I’m talking about “Tomorrow Begins Today” so that TODAY we begin creating for tomorrow – for all the tomorrows that will bear the fruit of the seeds planted today. And because it’s amazing how small seeds – a tiny, tiny, seed that is so small it may get lost in the palm of your hand, once it is planted and nurtured, will create such glorious and intricate flowers, or a sprawling plant from which abundant fruits or vegetables continue to develop. The concept of our ability to create such harvests by planting simple seeds is glorious and powerful and not to be missed.
When I was 18 I started college. I packed up my car and drove to a college an hour or so away and moved into my first apartment. Two years later I finished my associate’s degree and with it moved to California to use that degree.
One thing leads to the next. I invested in my education which allowed me to travel to a different state to accept a job where I then met people, created memories and created friendships I’ve had for 20 years. When I went back to school for my bachelor’s degree, that lead me not only to a more educated mind and a deeper understanding of things but to friends, to rock climbing (a class I took), to backpacking, to people who would shape the rest of my life. I met my future husband while at college and that, of course, led to my children. My education gave me the credentials I needed to get my first jobs, the skills to write work worth being published, and the foundation for getting my master’s degree further down the road. My investment in my master’s degree allowed me to teach at the university, which had always been a dream. It allowed me to study something that I love, and it eventually was key in creating the Love Your Story podcast and the incredible people I’ve met on this particular journey.
Of course, there are hundreds, even thousands of other things that were born from these choices, but the choice to seek education led me to knowledge, to people, to experiences, to purpose and to accomplishment. It brought forth abundantly.
The law of the harvest is a universal law. What you plant will determine what you reap. If you plant weeds you will not get fruit and vegetables. If you plant trees you will not get cacti. If you plant flowers you will get bouquets.
Choices, all of them, lead somewhere. What choices are you making right now and where are they leading?
Put the podcast on pause and think about that question. Where are they really leading? Are those choices taking you where you want to go? Are you becoming who you want to be? Are you creating the relationships you want to create? Are you planting the seeds for the experiences you want to have? If you want to travel to Europe, are you planting the seeds to make that happen eventually? If you want a good relationship with someone, are you spending the time and effort to create it? If you want a promotion are you actually planting the appropriate seeds to get it? If you want to be good at something are you practicing? If you want to live with less fear are you becoming aware of the stories you tell yourself that create fear or self-doubt?
As we discuss the harvest, we are focused on results, but I want to expand into the process as well. –You know, the journey.
I was reading in Oprah’s book, What I Know For Sure, the other day and she talks about the line from LeeAnn Womack’s song that says, When you get the choice to sit out or dance, I hope you dance.
She says, “What I know for sure is that every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and step out and dance –to live free of regret and filled with as much joy, fun, and laughter as you can stand. You can either waltz boldly onto the stage of life and live the way you know your spirit is nudging you to, or you can sit quietly by the wall, receding into the shadows of fear and self-doubt. You have the choice this very moment – the only moment you have for certain – I hope you aren’t so wrapped up in nonessential stuff that you forget to really enjoy yourself, because this moment is about to be over. I hope you’ll look back and remember today as the day you decided to make every one count, to relish each hour as if there would never be another. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”
As I read that last week I decided to accept a couple of invitations that included travel. I struggled with the scheduling and taking too much time away from home, but as I thought about that line – when you have the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance, I decided I was going to say yes to the dance. And I booked my trips and crossed out days on my calendar. As of the writing of this I have not make those trips yet, but on further reflection I know it was right to accept the dance. Sitting in my office doing things that feel important versus being out meeting people and creating connections and possibility, the travel and the networking, the relationship building and the opportunities, these are going to plant seeds for more good fruit to come. There will be plenty of days to sit in my office doing important work on the computer.
This idea of actively engaging with life is just one way of planting seeds for tomorrow’s harvest. There is also the active creation of making choices to live within your moral and ethical codes to create your character, as you wish it to be. Planting the seeds of honesty today creates peace and trust tomorrow. Service today creates connection, the feel-goods of lightening someone’s burden, love, good karma, friendship. The seeds of living according to your belief system bears the fruits of self-respect. The seeds of love beget the fruits of more love – love begets love.
In high school, my oldest son dedicated himself to taking AP classes and getting good grades in school. He harvested good results on his AP exams and tested out of college-level classes. He harvested the fruits of scholarships.
My mother invested her life in caring for her children and grandchildren and her harvest has been 6 children and 20 grandchildren who love her.
I have attended a networking group faithfully and sought to help others forward their interests, the harvest for me is connection with some amazing ladies who also help and support my efforts with the Love Your Story podcast. They listen, they share, they buy t-shirts and make FB posts. Not to mention my opportunity to know them and bask in their goodness, energy, joy, and forward thinking.
There are also ill planted seeds:
I have seen friends and associates plant the following seeds – Choosing to look at pornography and harvesting the fruits of addiction, twisted sexual expectation, a mindset of objectifying women, and much worse.
I watched one friend lose his driver’s license, go to jail, and pay over 10K in court costs as his choices to drink and drive harvested him some rough years.
I’ve seen the seeds of laziness and apathy harvest stagnation and a life stalled out. Lots of time lost.
The seeds of self-loathing and condemnation have brought about the fruits of small and fearful lives when not tackled with serious efforts of breaking through that storm of darkness. I have spoken with many people, as they sought to reframe their self-perceptions, who had lived small and afraid because they saw themselves as unworthy and so didn’t dare go for big things. Ben didn’t dare ask women out that he found attractive because he couldn’t bear the possible rejection he was certain he would get. So he lived lonely. He resorted to using pornography and living a small, fearful life, all because he was certain he was too nerdy to try and build a real life that included a real relationship. Karen was certain she was a bad mother because she did not love being home with little kids all the time. She knew how often she yelled and she constantly told herself she was not cut out for this. Her enjoyment of mothering curtailed by her self-loathing and certainty that everyone else was doing it so much better. It was the inner critic that planted seeds of self-doubt and failure, and so she harvested a negative and depleting parenting experience.
But, of course, those are not the type of seeds we want to plant or nurture. We want to pull out those weeds and allow for the purposeful placement of seeds that will bare joy and peace, goodness and abundance. Again, it’s all within our power. Decide the harvest you want. Identify the seeds you need to plant. Plant those babies and then nurture them every day. You’ll start to see the bud pop from the metaphorical dirt, then you’ll see the stalks grow stronger and fuller as you continue to nurture them. And before long you’ll start to see more fruit than you could have imagined. The fruits of our labors are often far broader than we expected.
In the episode where I interviewed Heidi Totten, in October, the creator of 100 Humanitarians, we talked about how her original trip to Kenya, years ago, planted the seeds for a vision of greater impact that turned into a non-profit that she created that has provided underwear for the women in Kenya, as well as bringing gardening and other ways of supporting and making life better for the people of Kenya. It was a simple trip that turned into something that has made a tremendous difference in the lives of women of Kenya. Seeds planted, work done. Harvest happening. And the harvest is so rich!
Let me mention another way of planting seeds – gratitude. In the book The Magic, by Rhonda Bryne, she talks about the way to create more abundance in your life – more health, more money, better relationships, the fruition of your dreams– you must first give gratitude. To receive you have to give. Her premise is that the magic formula for harvesting good things is to be grateful for what you already have. You plant seeds of gratitude with the words Thank You, and you harvest more of the things you are grateful for. For example, since I have started doing the 28 days of gratitude suggested in her book, I have daily planted seeds of gratitude in my own heart and top-of-mind consciousness because each day I start out focusing on 10 things I’m grateful for and why I’m thankful for them. The WHY is interesting because it takes it to a deeper level and I get to evaluate what’s important to me on this deeper level. For example, today I was grateful for a big basket of grapes Valerie gave to me. When I looked at the “why” it was because it was abundance, and I love abundance. It was because it gave me a chance to create a fresh, healthy juice – and I love to eat and feel healthy. And, it was because it was a kindness and I appreciate the kindnesses of my friends. I was grateful because that one act was about abundance, health, and friendship.
As I do this exercise continuously, I have harvested a clarity about how much I am supported and blessed by God. I have harvested an awareness of all the people who bring abundance, kindness and blessings to me daily. I have harvested a space of deep appreciation and peace because of the deep realization and top-of-mind awareness of the abundance that flows to me every single day. The repetition is what has cemented this deep sense of understanding, and it’s a beautiful harvest all its own.
So, I’ll end with a story shared by Dieter F. Uchtdort of the LDS Church in a talk called God’s Harvest, 2014.
A woman named Christa once worked for a small seed company. She loved her job. It was a source of immense wonder that each tiny seed she sold had the capacity to transform itself into something quite miraculous—a carrot, a cabbage, or even a mighty oak tree.
Christa loved sitting at her computer taking orders and answering questions. But one day she received a complaint that puzzled her.
“The seeds don’t work,” the customer said. “I bought them two months ago and still nothing.”
“Did you plant them in good soil and give them enough water and sunlight?” Christa asked.
“No, but I did my part,” the customer replied. “I bought the seeds. After all, they are guaranteed to grow.”
“But you didn’t plant them?”
“Heavens no. That would mean getting my hands dirty.”
Christa thought about this and decided that planting guidelines would have to be written. She resolved what the first guideline would be: “You must follow planting instructions for the seeds to sprout. You can’t set them on the shelf and expect them to grow.”
It wasn’t long before another complaint puzzled her.
“The seeds aren’t producing,” a customer claimed.
“Did you plant them in good soil?” Christa responded. “Did you give them the appropriate amount of water and sunlight?”
“Oh, yes,” the customer insisted. “I did all that―exactly as it says on the package. But they don’t work.”
“Did anything happen at all? Did they sprout?”
“Nothing happened,” the customer said. “I planted them just as directed. I was hoping to have tomatoes for dinner. Now I am very disappointed.”
“Wait,” Christa replied. “Are you saying you planted the seeds today?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” the customer replied. “I planted them a week ago. I was not expecting to see tomatoes on the first day; I was patient. Let me tell you, there has been a lot of watering and waiting between then and now.”
Christa knew she would have to add another guideline: “These seeds conform to the laws of biology. If you plant the seeds in the morning and expect to eat tomatoes later that week, you will be disappointed. You must be patient and wait for the work of nature to unfold before you.”
All went well until Christa received another complaint.
“I’m very disappointed in your seeds,” the customer began. “I planted them just as the package recommended. I gave them water, made sure they had sunshine, and waited until finally they produced their harvest.”
“Sounds like you did everything right,” Christa said.
“That’s all very fine,” the customer replied. “But what I got was zucchini!”
“My records show that those were the seeds you ordered,” Christa said.
“But I don’t want zucchini; I want pumpkins!”
“I’m not following.”
“I planted the seeds in my pumpkin patch—the very same soil that produced pumpkins last year. I praised the plants every day, telling them what beautiful pumpkins they would become. But instead of large, round, orange pumpkins, I got long, green zucchini. Tons of them!”
Christa knew then that guidelines might not be enough and that it was necessary to state a principle: “The seed you plant and the time of the planting determine the harvest.”
May you actively decide on what you want to harvest, and then plant the right seeds. May you want the harvest bad enough that daily you will water, weed, and pay some attention to the seed. And, may you garner a harvest that exceeds your expectations – something wonderful, colorful, peaceful, joyful, filled with love and any other thing you hope to create!
Tomorrow begins today, and that’s a powerful place to be.