A seed and a soul — what do they have in common? My many years of playing in the dirt have given me a few answers. I like growing things. More accurately, I like watching things grow, which means my gardens tend to be a bit wild. Even so, they still bless me with the fruits of my labor, both literally and figuratively. I get to harvest delicious fruits and vegetables and learn valuable lessons about living.

I have discovered that our lives are like gardens. We need to be fed and watered physically and spiritually. We need to pull our weed thoughts and prune our excesses. We need to flow easily into the seasonal rhythms of our life. I invite you to stroll with me into my spiritual garden as I share more insights discovered while playing in the dirt.

Let’s begin with nature’s little marvel, the seed. Don’t be fooled by its appearance. A seed may seem dry and lifeless, but it has the potential to do something amazing. It produces a living thing with the power to turn sunlight into food.

A seed is quiet about its future. If you were to hold an acorn in your hand, you would see no clue of the oak tree that is its destiny. But if you opened the acorn you could find the baby oak inside. Every seed, no matter how tiny, protects a baby plant with its hard outer shell.

We also carry something precious. Within us is a baby soul encased by our human shell. Each human soul has the potential to grow in truth, beauty and goodness. It is our destiny. We are only just beginning to discover who we truly are.

Now let’s imagine how seeds would feel if they had a sense of self.

What if an acorn looked up at a mighty oak and thought, “What am I compared to this?” Each of us has felt small at some point in our life, especially when comparing ourselves to what others have achieved. And, who doesn’t feel small and helpless next to Mother Nature going crazy. Wildfires, hurricanes and viruses — oh my! We can feel very small, just like a seed.

Now consider how a seed would feel getting planted. It might feel very anxious, after all, it is entering the unknown. When planting, we bury seeds in darkness, pressed in by the heavy soil. We know this anxiety, because we also live in the soil of adversity. Sometimes the path through our difficulties is dark and the weight of our problems feels heavy. And yet, we also need to grow in soil that challenges us to reach our full potential.

A baby plant emerges from the seed despite those initial struggles, and pushes its way to the surface. There it discovers something new and wonderful — the sun. What does the plant do then? It opens to the sun’s warmth and light. Now its growth accelerates as it feeds from both the earth and the sun.

Like a seed we need dual nourishment. If all we ever do is feed our material needs we will live a half-life. We need to absorb the energy of our spiritual sun — our divine source of light and love. A well-fed soul can stand for truth and sow kindness and beauty into a world that is scorched by hate and violence and drowning in fear.

Your life and my life are gardens of near-infinite possibilities. Our destiny exceeds our imagination. Inside our little seed self we have what we need to break free from the weight of this world to grow in spiritual strength and stature. We accelerate that growth when we feed from both the human soil and the heavenly light. In this way we become like a mighty oak whose roots imbibe from the earth while its branches reach for the sky.

Deborah Goaldman is a wellness provider who owns Healing Stream Body Wellness.