William Liao

March 24, 2021

Our garden

As you think about the work environment, the home, and the community you wish for yourself and others, consider a garden by analogy: 

When cared for, a garden can be a beautiful and diverse arrangement of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers — the kind that, in addition to being serene, is capable of fulfilling our need for food and energy.

We have a healthy garden to thank for sustenance and thriving.

A garden is both noun and verb, the embracing of it and tending to it are one in the same. 

To have a garden, to be made whole by it, is to garden — to actively spend time contributing to its cultivation.

It’s never a single day’s effort that leads to a garden’s thriving, but rather it’s the daily commitment you make to show up and check on the health of the plants, to provide them with water & nourishing soil when they need it, and to ensure that they are given light.

Now to bring it home: in the same a way a thriving garden needs daily attention, so too does the world we wish to create for our community. 

It is not the grandiose efforts that make the difference (last I checked spontaneously flooding a garden with water doesn’t work well), it is the totality of all the small things that you choose to do every day: the acts of compassion, generosity, and kindness you commit here and there:

Asking a family member, friend, or colleague how they’re doing and really taking the time to listen. 

Offering support through your words and actions. 

One more thing about gardens: everything is nourished by the same soil beneath it so when you tend to it, everyone benefits. 

In other words, the only the pronoun that makes any practical sense to use is this: our

It’s our garden. It’s our work culture. It’s our community. It’s our world. And when you generously tend to it, it is you, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your team, even people that you don’t know directly — everyone — that are made more whole because of it. 

Be kind today, be kind tomorrow. The more compassionate, kind, and beautiful world we seek to create is waiting for us at the other end.