Green Shoots

In his book The Second Mountain David Brooks references a story he read about a guy who bought a house with bamboo growing near his driveway.  He wanted to get rid of it.  So, he cut down the bamboo, chopped the roots, and, just to offer one final blow, poured plant poison over any roots that lingered. The hole that remained was filled with several feet of gravel and sealed off with cement.  

Job done.  So, it seemed.

Two years later green shoots emerged from the site, breaking through the concrete barrier and defying all attempts to squelch life.  In an against-all-odds tale of resilience, the bamboo showed it would not be deterred from pursuing it’s destiny.

In a recent coaching conversation, I felt green shoots emerging.  New life was rising up.  Hope and vision—that seemed a distant memory, cut off, and covered up—presented themselves again.  Discouragement, fractured relationships, sought to cut off the roots of motivation and cover over a previously clear vision of what could be achieved.  New ways forward were now being identified and fresh commitments being made.

This conversation reminded me of human potential.  The ability for individuals to overcome adversity.  To show grit.  To be resilient.  Choosing to press on despite being cut off, pushed down and covered up. 

Take a moment today to pause and reflect on these questions:  

  • Q: Where do you see green shoots?  
  • Q: How might you be able to nourish and tend to these?  

Be curious, see what emerges.