Why life is a lesson in growth

little birds escape out of birdcage, freedom concept

In her first column of 2023 Naomi Murray of Botanica Health in Rusthall reflects on how seismic events like the Covid pandemic have changed so much – but its never too late to thrive in life…


Looking back, I think it is fair to say that the last few years have been character refining and revealing. Never as a collective have we experienced anything quite like it.

Life as we knew it changed and most of society changed with it. Everything we thought of as safe and secure became shaky and uncertain.

The pandemic changed our habits, the way we think and our outlook.

So perhaps now is the time to build back resilience and emotional strength through some simple habits we can all adopt.

Nearly 20% of people give up a New Year’s Resolution in one week. Perhaps they just aren’t attainable and the pressure feels too much. But this shouldn’t discourage you. A sense of purpose is good for us but maybe it doesn’t have to be tough.

Every day we awake to the possibility that this day we can do things differently, we can make new choices, change our minds, reflect and grow in character. A fresh start greets us as the sun rises. Too much time is wasted on the things we should or shouldn’t have said or done.

I love the sense of relief we can feel in the wise words of Ralph Waldo Emerson who said:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”


Here are some meaningful ways to thrive this year:


  • Seek out that which enriches your spirit – people, places, experiences and ideas. Draw close to the things that leave you in awe. There is nothing more wonderful than being around someone who brings you to attention.


  • Be still – in a world of striving, perfectionism and addiction to success we can lose the very essence of life. We live in a culture that measures our worth according to earnings, accolades and achievements. Of course a sense of purpose is important but if we aren’t careful we can lose the capacity for joy and wonder that makes life so beautiful. “Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.” ― Mary Oliver


  • Be okay with changing your mind – We live in a culture where we are expected to have an opinion. And yet this is often not our own. We cling to the ideas of others, such is the sense that we only belong when we agree with the majority. It is liberating to sometimes just say “I don’t know.” Or to be brave and feel the liberation of having an option that is yours and yours alone.


  • Observe more – Observation breeds patience and resilience. It develops curiosity and a questioning mind. Perhaps through observation we become wiser and less inclined to make knee jerk reactions. Some wonderful insights can be revealed through observation.


  • Choose joy – Joy can be found in the smallest things; the rising of the sun, a roaring fire, the hug from a friend, a smile on the street. It is impossible to be ungrateful and feel joy. All behaviours can become habitual. We can choose joy, appreciation and gratitude in the simplest things. And we feel better for it.

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