by Linda Ratcliff

The first year I taught school, I put up a bulletin board for my 3rd graders with the quote, “Bloom Where You Are Planted.” I probably was thinking that was a nice Biblical scripture to put up in the parochial school where I was teaching, but then I learned that advice didn’t really come from the Bible. It was actually written by St. Francis de Sales who lived from 1567 to 1622, but it still holds true today.

This age-old tip encourages resilience. Let’s face it … sometimes life is hard. Things don’t always go according to plan. But even in less than wonderful situations, we have control over how we respond. Blooming where we are planted is to make the choice to respond in a positive manner, no matter what's going on around us. It's making the choice to do our best, no matter what obstacles we encounter - kind of like making lemonade when life throws you lemons.

Applying this to myself, I know I can only bloom musically when I play my instruments to the best of my ability. But sometimes I feel totally inadequate. I forget my own arrangements (aaaaarrrrgh!), in front of people (another aaaaarrrrgh!), don’t have make time to practice, and mess up when I try to play for others. I have a great audience resource here, living in a senior resort. These folks love to hear live music. But too often I practice avoidance behavior and join the audience instead of the performers (just being honest, folks).

In this place at this time in my life, I should definitely be blooming. I can cultivate this by practicing more regularly so I will play better, remember better, and have more self-confidence. I can carry this out by inviting small groups over to my house for mini-concerts. It’s true, I may not be where I want to be musically, or where can see myself a year from now. But I can and should be blooming at my current level in my current environment, and then continue to work toward my goals.

One more thought … there are times to bloom where we are planted, but there are also times for us to be transplanted so we can bloom even better elsewhere. Just follow your heart and see where your music leads you.

Happy dulcimering,



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