If you want watermelons, you have to plant watermelon seeds.

WatermelonsLast week a friend asked me to write a recommendation letter for her graphic design work. I was happy to recommend her, but I was busy with something else at the time I received her email. I was in the process of writing letters to editors of magazines where I wanted to publish some of my articles. I decided to put off writing my friend’s recommendation letter and finish my letters first.

But then I remembered the wise words of Geshe Michael Roach, one of my favorite teachers, “If you want something, you have to give it away to someone else first.”

I thought to myself, “I want to be noticed by magazine editors so that I can publish some of my articles.” In that moment, I realized that I wanted the same thing as my friend – to be noticed for a job well-done, and to then be offered a new job. I remembered my teacher’s metaphor, “If you want to grow watermelons in your garden, you have to plant watermelon seeds.”

I decided that instead of finishing my articles, I should drop my personal agenda for a while and spend an hour writing a recommendation letter for my friend. I thought, “If I plant the seed for my friend to get a job, then I will get “a watermelon in my garden” – an editor will notice me and offer me a writing job.

I wrote my friend’s recommendation letter and emailed it to her right away. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my watermelon seed sprouted and grew quickly. The next day, I checked my email and found a long response from a writer and editor whom I respect.

She had taken the time out of her busy life to read my website in detail and to provide positive, encouraging feedback. She offered to connect me with her professional network, and since then I have been able to publish articles in online venues that I didn’t have access to before.

Whatever I give to other people, I get back a thousandfold. This is the highest yoga. Thank you, and blessings to Geshe Michael for sharing this teaching with the world.

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