Dreams and Bamboo

by Tess

Young Sapling
Do you know how bamboo grows?

After the seed falls to the ground, it is watered by the rains and nourished by the nutrients of the soil. During the first year, nothing happens.

The rains and the earth continue to do their good work for the second year, but again nothing happens.

This pattern is repeated during the third and fourth years; still nothing happens.

Suddenly, in the fifth year, during a span of not more than six weeks, the bamboo grows ninety feet.


Did the bamboo grow to be ninety feet in six weeks or five years?

If nature had become impatient, abandoning her nurturing duties at any time during those five years, the bamboo would have died. 

We should resist the temptation to abandon our dreams before we reach the destination. If we dig up the bamboo, to see if it is growing, it will die.

The bamboo grows ninety feet over five years, but during the first four years, it appears to the untrained eye that nothing is happening. Nature teaches us wonderful lessons about patience.

What are you doing to nurture your dreams? 

I have an article, "Change Your LIfe by Simply Changing One Word" at Arvind's blog, Make It Happen. Please stop by and say hello.

photo credit: Creativity103

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    { 62 comments… read them below or add one }

    Lance October 6, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I love this lesson from nature! It’s so easy to think nothing is happening when we can’t see something tangible. And really – there can be lots going on – the roots of our dreams being developed – before we see the fruits of those dreams.
    .-= Lance´s last post…Life Lessons- The Marathon =-.


    Tess October 6, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Hi Lance,
    I think that’s where the idea of “most people giving up on their dreams right before a breakthrough.” Like the last day of the fourth year one decides the bamboo didn’t make it. Oh I’ve got to come read all about the marathon. I lived it vicariously through you. LOL Ya think?


    The Exception October 6, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Tess –
    Beautiful. So often we see our dreams unfolding before us – we train, we practice, we see our growth and improvement…We openly and overtly make our dreams come true. It is amazing to see people working and making it happen – just as it is lovely to see that “click” when a student becomes a dancer or a musician or an artist – that point between living a dream and working toward a dream…

    Often though – it is the moments, the little exercises, the choices that we make – the actions that go unseen that make a dream possible. Without them, the dream may not happen.
    This post is beautiful and wonderful and one I will return to. Some of us make choices and do this and that throughout our lives – a lifetime – of the little steps that result in a dream fulfilled or a life well lived.


    Tess October 6, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I often see big bloggers trying to sell us instant success and I know that’s exactly what I don’t want to purchase. You know I wonder if that’s why lottery winners end up broke within a few years. They missed all those little steps and choices along the way. Something to ponder further…


    rob white October 6, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Yes, Tess! I love this metaphor. The real work is always below the surface. Whether toiling in obscurity while writing, painting or building a business… or working on our own spiritual inner growth. To everyone else it looks like great a change and breakthrough came quick and easy. The fact of the matter is anyone who has experienced a great breakthrough did the work below the surface. That is why we must persist, persist, persist…


    Tess The Bold Life October 6, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    This would apply to parents as well. I give myself a lot of credit for raising our four daughters at such a young age. They are all successful today because of the work we did as parents. Toiling doesn’t even begin to describe a parent’s job. So here is a shout out to parents and the behind the scenes work!


    Uzma October 6, 2010 at 10:35 am

    WHat a powerful metaphor Tess. I just made the same realization. That I give up , often even before I start or as soon as I do..As I look at people toil around me for years, I felt sad. I don’t do this, I give up. Thank u for reminding me to nurture my dream..Thank u very much :)


    Tess The Bold Life October 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Anytime you want to give up you give me a call and I’ll give you a jolt of inspiration. Anytime! Hugs to you.


    Uzma October 7, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Thank u so much Tess. Will definitely call u when InNeed the jolt, my friend. Hugs back to u. Much love. Uzma
    .-= Uzma´s last post…Who are you talking to =-.


    Caroline October 6, 2010 at 11:05 am

    OMG!!! Tess do you know how much I needed to read this today?? Fabulous metaphor for life. I am way too impatient and tend to give up too soon. Thank you for this message. xoxo


    Tess The Bold Life October 6, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    You keep going Caroline…I know you can succeed. Your photography is amazing and you’re a joy to work with;)


    Sandra Lee October 6, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Tess, I love the beauty, strength, and endurance of bamboo. We have some in our yard. This is a brilliant lesson from nature and a simple, elegant, and wise blog post. Thank you.
    .-= Sandra Lee´s last post…The true meaning of Zen Hint- it’s not a habit =-.


    Tess The Bold Life October 6, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    It was in Hawaii where I fell in love with bamboo. We hiked through a bamboo forest and it was amazing. I love your state.


    Jenny Ann Fraser October 6, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Thank you for this Tess!
    It is what I needed today!
    .-= Jenny Ann Fraser´s last post…Surviving My Education =-.


    Tess October 6, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks for stopping over I’m happy to serve you anytime:) I appreciate you!


    Robin Easton October 6, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Dear Tess, this is so moving. It spoke to me also of the power of what we don’t see. If this is happening in the Bamboo, how many other ways is this same thing happening all around us, but we just don’t see it. It speaks to the unseen wonders of the Universe. I find that vastly brilliant. Thank you dear Tell, Hugs. xox R
    .-= Robin Easton´s last post…Love and Survival =-.


    Tess October 6, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks for taking this to another level. That’s another post…how about bamboo 2? I’m sure there is so much I miss, is there really a way we could see it all. Yes I love the unseen wonders that continue to surprise us.


    Alex Blackwell October 6, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    The art of patience is indeed beautiful Tess.



    Tess October 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I appreciate your continuous support. My mom would be proud to know I’m more patient than ever. Not easy for an ADHD kid!


    Andrea DeBell - britetalk October 6, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Hi Tess! I didn’t know that about bamboos. I love how you relate the bamboo to our dreams. I think we often give up on our ideas before they have time to reach their full potential, like the bamboo. Patience is definitely a virtue that we should pay more attention to.

    Thanks for the inspiration. Loving blessings!
    .-= Andrea DeBell – britetalk´s last post…5 Wacky Ideas to Stay Energized Throughout the Day =-.


    Tess October 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I love little stories that we seem to miss. I came across this and memorized it for keynote speeches. The audience loves it every time.


    Debbie Hampton October 6, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Boy, you don’t know how bad I needed to read this tonight. Thank you so much for the inspiring words and the reminder.

    Debbie’s blog http://thebestbrainpossible.com


    Tess The Bold Life October 7, 2010 at 7:15 am

    That’s what everyone is saying. I think we’re on to something here! Thanks for visiting my blog!


    Bamboo Forest - Tick Tock Timer October 6, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Perseverance is KEY to success in life. Perseverance is nothing less than being relentless.

    The bamboo teaches us that our efforts DO pay off.

    I thought I’d chime in. I’m named after this wonderful specimen after all :-)


    Tess The Bold Life October 7, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Yes it does. Perseverance is such a powerful and awesome force. I’m happy you chimed in. Thank you!


    Katie October 6, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Tess, this is a truly wonderful lesson. I guess my daughter is still comfy in her bed and not quite ready to grow nine feet tall just yet. Is that why she hasn’t moved out? haha. Actually, I kid. I love having her at home while she goes to University.
    .-= Katie´s last post…If Babies Could Talk What Would They Tell You =-.


    Tess The Bold Life October 7, 2010 at 7:18 am

    It’s a compliment that she still wants to be with you! But you already know that don’t you. Enjoy every second of it!


    Betsy at Zen Mama October 6, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks for the post, Tess! It was perfect for me tonight! Sometimes I feel discouraged (like everyone else). Tonight is one of those nights and your post fit perfectly for me!


    Tess The Bold Life October 7, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Your welcome. Stop by and be inspired anytime. I’m here for you!


    Karl Staib - Superpower Coach October 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I never knew bamboo grew that fast. That is so cool. I know I’ve been impatient with myself as I grow my business. I expect the tipping point to be right around the corner. When the corner comes and goes I think it will be the next corner. I can’t help but be optimistic. It just takes a lot of effort to stay patient.

    Thank you Tess. I needed to read this today.


    Tess The Bold Life October 7, 2010 at 7:20 am

    In my new office in my soon to be new home I’m going to put bamboo on my desk. Do you want to join me in doing so? It’d be a great reminder!


    Hilary October 7, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Hi Tess .. great analogy .. it’s never giving up – I wonder how many give up at the top before the tip happens .. thanks for reminding us .. one small step at a time, as we build the ladder upwards ..

    90 feet in a short time .. amazing .. thanks – enjoy your days as I know you will .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last post…Guest Posting today over at Marketing Tips for Authors =-.


    Tess The Bold Life October 7, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Hi Hillary,
    I love what Robin states above…about the Universe and how much goes unnoticed. My guess is we don’t notice our own progress…like we do our errors along the way. And at times maybe because we’re focused too much on the progress of others;)


    Angela Artemis October 7, 2010 at 5:31 am

    How fascinating! What a great example of patience in nurturing our dreams.
    .-= Angela Artemis´s last post…The Day Beauty Came to Visit =-.


    Tess The Bold Life October 7, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Thanks for being here for me and my dreams and thanks for stopping by at Arvinds as well. I appreciate your support.


    Alex Yong October 7, 2010 at 7:11 am

    This is edifying and what a great lesson on patience! You presented this beautifully and simple – and this is what I like!

    Thanks, Tess.


    Tess The Bold Life October 8, 2010 at 5:40 am

    I’m working on simplicity and beautiful. That doesn’t sound right does it? I have to think about that one;)


    Tess The Bold Life October 7, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Patient, simple and beautiful, isn’t it a great way to travel through the blogosphere? Thanks for your support, encouragement and compliment.


    Arvind Devalia October 7, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Tess, thanks for the reminder about the power of sticking to our dreams, just like the bamboo plant.

    Funnily enough, I wrote a similar post a few months about being like bamboo and reaching for the sky:-


    Clearly, great minds think alike:-)
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last post…Change Your Life by Simply Changing One Word! =-.


    Tess The Bold Life October 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Arvind,
    Clearly they do and I appreciate our new friendship!


    Brenda October 7, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Thank you for another inspiring post! I needed this shot of inspiration today!
    I have to remind myself that it all takes time…and that is fine…
    .-= Brenda´s last post…The Magic in You =-.


    Tess The Bold Life October 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    That’s exactly what I tell myself, “I’m not in a race. I only need take one step right now and focus on that step.” Hope things are going well for you;)


    Christopher Foster October 7, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    What a lovely post Tess. You gave a magical description of the way Nature (life) works. Yes, let me not judge how my own dreams and aspirations are doing: the important thing as you emphasize is keeping providing the right nutrients. Which really has something to do with my whole expression of life.

    The only thing I would add is the part the sun surely plays in helping the bamboo seed emerge as the beautiful plant it is. In my mind that has something to do with the love I let express through me in blessing to my world and my dreams.

    Thank you so much Tess.
    .-= Christopher Foster´s last post…Love is an “equal opportunity employer” =-.


    Tess The Bold Life October 8, 2010 at 5:42 am

    Now how can I forget love and the sun. My two favorite things in the world. I came to AZ from MI for the sun…I did bring my love with me;)


    Satya Colombo October 7, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Tess — love this , brilliant. Thanks for that image, trying to slow down now, and also trust the process, and it helps to have the reminder…

    hey, my guest post will be at Arvind’s next week — loved the simple concept of your blog there today…!
    .-= Satya Colombo´s last post…How to Make Your Mark in History =-.


    Tess The Bold Life October 8, 2010 at 5:43 am

    Hi Satya,
    Bamboo and trusting the process, it’s a reminder we all need from the responses. I’ll be over to check out your guest post next week. Thanks for visiting me here.


    Jannie Funster October 8, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Yes, a very good lesson indeed.

    And there is some flower somewhere that only blooms once every 7 or 20 years, or something.

    Off to Arvin’s goes Jannie

    .-= Jannie Funster´s last post…The Spammer — a poem =-.


    Tess The Bold Life October 8, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Yes will ya check on that and get back to me. Pronto. Are there any pancakes left for breakfast today. It’s not my vegan day;)


    Keith October 8, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Hey Tess!

    I love lessons presented to us by nature, It has so much to teach us.

    This lesson reminds me of the story of the man who was digging for gold and finally gave up…only 10 feet from the gold! When we are working toward something and nothing seems to be changing, it can be easy to think that nothing is happening and give up. We must remember though, that if we are putting out the effort, fueld by our passion and BELIEVE…there are changes taking place “behind the scenes” that we may not be aware of, but they are there! It’s exciting to know that the energy we put out into the Universe will always do it’s work!

    Thanks Tess


    Jason Fonceca October 8, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Absolutely brilliant, inspired metaphor Tess. I found this because Rumio mentioned your site in a comment on my blog, and I’m thrilled I clicked-thru.

    These kinds of stories passed around will surely inspire more people to achieve their goals and dreams. Rock on!
    .-= Jason Fonceca´s last post…What Is Thought-Management =-.


    Aileen October 8, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Tess, thank you for posting this! I have just printed it out to keep as a reminder right in front of me. All too often it looks like nothing is happening and the older I get in years, the more I feel a need to take a practical approach and plan for my senior years. It’s as though I feel risk is best when we have more time to recover.
    There is a way to balance the practical with dreams – and this is a great reminder to continue on when it looks like it’s not growing enough.
    .-= Aileen´s last post…Sometimes Life Gives us Second Chances =-.


    Suzie Cheel October 8, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Love it Tess,

    This is my week to be handed so many messages that relate to trust and this story from nature is another reminder. Yes patience,,,,,,,,something I am becoming more masterful at. And now I didn’t know how bamboo grows- and I love being in stands of bamboo, there’s magic in a bamboo forest.

    .-= Suzie Cheel´s last post…Does a Deadline Excite You or Almost Make You Cry =-.


    Patty - Why Not Start Now? October 8, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Hands down, Tess, the best metaphor for patience I’ve ever heard. Thank you! I will share this with my clients, because how to cultivate patience is a conversation we have over and over again.
    .-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last post…Love and Work =-.


    Zeenat{Positive Provocations} October 9, 2010 at 12:51 am

    HI Tess,
    This is such a beautiful lesson. Mother nature sure has amazing gifts for us to learn from. Patience is such an important one. I love how beautifully you made the bamboo’s growth a learning for us all.
    Thank you for always making me think deep deep thoughts :)
    So Much Love,


    Adrienne October 9, 2010 at 4:21 am

    Hi Tess, this is such a simple yet powerful message! In an age impatience, this is a refreshing reminder. With the Internet and smart phones, we get so used to having almost everything we want at our fingertips. Almost. It’s the things that are most important that usually take time to nurture and grow, just like the bamboo.
    .-= Adrienne´s last post…A Deeply Real- Profound- and Incredibly Human Experience =-.


    Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord October 9, 2010 at 6:29 am

    I’ve liked this analogy since I first heard it a year or so ago. The idea that timing is everything… and yet time is also an illusion (in my magical world!). You’ve encouraged me, through this post, to trust that all is well where my dreams are concerned. I’m encouraged to keep living joyfully, knowing that when my newest dreams will sprout when the time is just right and then they will soar upwards toward the sky!

    Happy weekend, Tess!


    Tammy October 9, 2010 at 7:52 am

    I never knew this about eggplant but I like to think about my faith in the same way – quiet, listening, perserving – and then BAM! Spirit filled. Thanks for causing me to think of the analogy.
    .-= Tammy´s last post…Where Actions Speak Louder than Words =-.


    Marko -- Calm Growth October 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Great story about bamboos Tess… we humans have yet much to learn from nature…


    Belinda October 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Tess, you are one of my go-to sources for encouragement infusion these days because you see what so many of us don’t see. I love this point you make about bamboo. I remember as a child that my mother would seem to obsess over hers — barely growing, barely there. I recall how much loving attention this bamboo plant would get from her. And boy, when it started to grow, I recall the joy it brought my mother. All those years of care and love finally brought amazing evidence that the seeds we sow really do amount to something overtime.


    Donnie October 12, 2010 at 8:51 am

    i guess nothing is really an overnight success. Great analogy. I have some Bamboo growing in my backyard. When I first put it out I thought I got ripped off. Now it’s so successful I have to work really hard to keep it under control. I think you have to do that with anything that becomes successful.
    .-= Donnie´s last post…Design Area Rugs Using Carpet Tiles =-.


    Davina Haisell October 12, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Hi Tess.
    I love how we can draw parallels with nature. There are so many ways she teaches and supports us. And besides, while the Bamboo is growing so are you. :)


    Osteopathic Foundation October 13, 2010 at 6:26 am

    I loved this post about nature, thanks for passing along such an interesting post with us here!!!


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