When a seed begins to grow, and ventures above the surface of the warm soil, it faces the world with one or two small “seed leaves”. Seed leaves don’t tell you a lot about the plant that’s going to emerge – they keep their identity to themselves as they strive towards the sun.
With time, and the right nurturing, warmth, light and protection, new leaves will begin to appear. They will be different from the seed leaves, in shape, size, even colour. These are the leaves that say “this is who I am”, or “this is who I’m going to be” – these are the true leaves.
It won’t surprise you to read that I’m no great gardener, but I first learned about true leaves on a “Grow your own vegetables” course. It struck me that people aren’t so different from these vulnerable little plants – we too emerge cautiously into the world, unsure of who we’re going to be. We might produce different, temporary versions of ourselves, but given the right environment, we can find our true leaves.
Finding this metaphor gave me the confidence to keep looking for my own identity and purpose, and several months later, TrueLeaves was born. For me, creative writing has provided a wonderful, fertile environment for self-discovery. It’s safe and private, but can push boundaries too – showing me new ways to express myself. Writing about the world around me has taught me to pay close attention, and harvest the abundant lessons on offer.
Meanwhile, Pilates is my daily reminder of life’s essentials: breathe, stretch, strengthen, connect. It keeps me grounded, and reminds me to strive, so that these true leaves can continue to grow.
I hope you’ll join me.