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The Self-Discovery Digest

by Elizabeth and Katherine Hirsh
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October 2009 Archives

In our home state of Minnesota the days are getting shorter, the air is getting colder, and the leaves are turning color and falling away. Autumn is a time of letting go and also a time of harvest, of gathering up the results of winter's rest, spring's planting, and summer's warmth. And what better symbol of this than the pumpkin? The procedure for cultivating pumpkins includes allowing the pumpkin vine to die once the fruit has been picked. The vine has served its purpose and accomplished its goal. After all, the whole purpose of growing a pumpkin plant is to reap and enjoy the pumpkin that it produces and therefore we don't mourn the vine from which the fruit came.

This seems natural in the case of the pumpkin, yet we often don't see our own growth in the same way. Instead of ruminating on the past, fixating on the difficulties endured, and agonizing over mistakes made, we can choose to celebrate what we've achieved and how far we've come. In other words, we can stop obsessing about what happened to the vine - it is merely a means to an end - and instead rejoice in the beautiful pumpkin that has been created from our growth.

Examples of focusing on the vine instead the pumpkin:
You are divorced but instead of making the most of your new life, you are nursing old hurts.

You lost weight and got in better shape but instead of enjoying your new figure, you still see yourself as frumpy and dowdy.

You grew out of a self-destructive pattern but instead of recognizing your achievement, you keep beating yourself up for what you did when you were stuck and didn't know better.

You worked your way out of bankruptcy but instead of feeling relieved, you are crippled by equating your self-worth with your financial status.

Examples of seeing the pumpkin for the gift that it is:
You pride yourself on deciding to be single rather than being in a destructive and painful relationship.

You acknowledge the result of your healthy lifestyle changes by walking tall and dressing to celebrate your new shape and attitude.

You reach out to others who are locked in their own personal struggles knowing you have wisdom to share and understanding to give.

You refuse to be seduced by our culture's emphasis on materialism and instead choose to value yourself and others by qualities such as courage, perseverance, and kindness.

Don't be confused about what really matters. Recognize and profit from the fruits of your labors. Love how far you've come but then let the past go so you can embrace and enjoy where you are now.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 17
You have triumphed over adversity in some large or small way. Are you recognizing these accomplishments of yours and living the truth of where you are now? If not, in what ways can reframe your personal journey so that you truly honor your positive changes? Choose to live wholeheartedly in the reality you have created - make the pumpkin your focus, not the vine!