Dropouts and Underachievers

About this time last year, with many helpers, I put in some flowers and shrubs in the garden beds around my patio. I purposefully planted perennials because they bring the promise of yearly return and additional growth. My understanding was that these perennials would grow back bigger and better each year. I figured, “Do it once, get it done!” 

Excitedly, I began watching the ground early in the Spring for signs of the returning plants. Sure enough, there were some glimmers of green pushing up between the daffodils. Yes! Here come those perennials! 

However, there were decidedly also some gaps. 


Over the next few weeks, I kept a steady eye on the garden. 

Two columbines were showing up, but where were the other ones? Why is there only one stalk from the peony we pruned back? The Deutzia is all brown with dead-looking branches. Is it alive or did we lose it? 

What was going on? 

I contacted Chris, one of my garden consultants, with a report on the status of the garden. “Here’s the assessment, Chris” and proceeded to update her on what was there and what wasn’t. 

“Oh,” she emailed back, “I’m sorry to hear! It sounds like you have some dropouts and underachievers in your garden.”

Dropouts and underachievers. This personification of my plants made me smile and took some of the edge off of my frustration. 

Chris advised that I wait and see. We’d take a look together in a few weeks. 

In the interim, I had a realization. I have another garden that could benefit from a Spring assessment, too. This is my inner garden of personal and spiritual growth and development. It holds the intentions, hopes, desires, and goals that I’ve planted in my energy field. If I were to assess how it was doing, what would I find? 

Am I meeting my goals and fulfilling my intentions? Or am I underachieving – even dropping out and not showing up at all? 

Spring’s growth and renewal offer a good time to revisit intentions we might have formed at the turn of the new year, or at any time. These goals might be small in scope or more momentous ones. We might have been working consciously on them or not. 

Reviewing those intentions is important to help us stay connected to them, present to them. 

What’s important in an assessment is to take it from a neutral point of view, rather than a judgmental one. Criticizing and scolding ourselves will not motivate inspired action! Neutrality offers a calm viewpoint, kindly attention. The sixth chakra, the third eye located on the forehead gives us just that view. Engage your third eye and look with neutrality, then assess, evaluate. 

As I did my assessment, my first step was to remember. What was it I had wanted to connect with, to shift, to transform? As I listened to myself, some intentions re-emerged and I considered whether I had been present to each goal or whether it had fallen by the wayside. 

Once assessed, I could consciously choose whether to let an intention go or re-group my energy around it. 

Just as there are no guarantees with perennials, our inner garden can’t promise returns. But, there surely won’t be any return on our energetic investment if we don’t pay some attention to our goals, cultivate them with respect and kind attention, engage some actions to move them forward.

Take a moment now to ask your heart what it is desiring to express, to bring into your field. Is it something new or something familiar that might have gone missing? Shine some light on it and see what your heart inspires next. This is a path towards the transformation you wanted when you initially set those goals and intentions. 

As for my patio garden – it’s getting some new plants to replace the dropouts, the no-shows. The under-achievers are being given a little more space and time to develop. 

Inner or outer garden – decide what needs active action and what needs attentive time and patience to develop. This Spring, may our outer – and inner – gardens grow and thrive. 


  1. Wise words! Thank you for this inspiration (and the reminder to be kind to oneself when checking in on gals; that’s such an important element in taking the next step).

Share your thoughts