Physis - growth and life force
I first published a version of this post nearly a year ago in March 2021. I was visiting Kiplin Hall as the garden staff and volunteers were preparing to open after the lockdown at the beginning of that year.
Daffodils were blooming, blossom was emerging on the fruit trees in the walled garden, trees were in bud, leaves about to unfurl. Everywhere I looked, the environment was demonstrating its potential. Given the basic needs of enough sunlight and enough water all these plants and trees were demonstrating physis - the life force that exists in all natural things.
Planted in the ground, a daffodil bulb springs forth and becomes its full daffodil self because of the potential it has within the daffodil bulb.
Humans have physis too, a life force within us that supports our growth and our drive to reach our potential.
The daffodil can’t choose to be a tulip in the same way that we can’t choose to be another species, so some aspects of life are fixed – our humanity, that we are mortal.
We are also shaped by our environments in the same way as the natural world. We can’t change our historic environments that might have affected the direction of our early growth, difficult life experiences may impede us, but we can continue to grow and develop throughout our lives.
One of the things I love about therapy is supporting my clients to fully connect with their physis and to grow and fulfil their full potential. Seeing nature do the same around us is just one of the ways that we can connect to our inner life energy.
How to have hope. Hope might feel hard to find right now as the news is full of yet another global crisis, but reflecting on how things have changed since this time last year shows that things do move and improve. Seasons come and go and the daffodils come up again year on year. Physics is a powerful force and supports people to continue despite great adversity. By focusing on what nurtures our own inner physis we can use this inner life force to see what spring 2023 has in store. I'm sure I'll be surprised (and delighted) by the daffodils like I am every year.