Gardening and the art of slowing down

The other day I drove home in the middle of the day with garden supplies and noticed two deer meandering on our property.  They were in no hurry and seemed pretty content.  And then I felt contentment, though I did wonder if they just munched a little on our redbud sapling.  When they heard my car come down the dirt road one looked back at me and hung out while I experienced him or her.  Moments like that make me want to shout how much I love living here.

My husband and I bought this home in 2015.  I love the huge windows, the skylights, the woods, the deer, the birds, the fox, the moon and the stars (I know you can find them anywhere), and the wind chimes I placed next to the bench I sit on.  Not so much the Copperheads but so far we haven’t seen one yet this spring.  I’m so grateful and especially for our back yard garden area project.  You know that expression “it’s about the journey”?   Well, for me that’s so true, and it’s this house and our garden area that reminds me to just enjoy every day and not worry so much about getting things done or doing more.

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Working in the garden, adding more shade plants, tending to what we have, is a big enough adventure for me right now.  And I get to step back and see how it all looks and how lush it’s becoming.  Actually our property behind the house needs a bit of work to match our vision for a shade garden, but we’re in no hurry.  We’ll buy more new plantings in the fall, with the exception of planting some ground cover in the next couple of weeks, before it turns blistering hot here.

The more I work outside in our yard, the more I realize that being in a hurry and busy is not path to happiness for me.  Deadlines, other’s expectations, social events, networking, even travel which I usually love, just doesn’t do it for me right now.  I need breaks and lots of them and gardening, painting, writing, feel good to me right now.  When I relax I enjoy.  The tricky part is creating a balance between creating my ideas around my work, and time for me to just sit still.  There will be a time when I’ll want to do more, just not at this time.  When I start to feel like I should be further along in with bringing my ideas to action, or utter the words “I should be…by now”, that’s a clue to switch gears and chill.  Unexpectedly, the best opportunities show up when we create a good balance between doing and being.  Maybe things will take a little longer but I’m a big believer in everything happens at the right time, in the right way anyway.

We’re all in this together

I’ve said this a million times, each of us is unique.  We grew up differently, look different from each other, sound different, dress differently, have totally different life experiences.  Our lives might look as though we’re on completely opposite ends of the spectrum.  Still, we’re all here and we’re all in this together.  diff folksEvery single one of us has a heart that at times is bursting with love or feels utterly broken or something in-between.  Each of us, at some point, want something better for ourselves.  “More” can be everything from better health, more money, healthier relationships, fulfilling work, joy, love, or an end to struggle.

As I put myself out in the world and look to create possibilities with others I’m very aware of our mutual evaluations.  Let’s go with the word evaluation rather than judgment.  We all evaluate each other.  Sometimes it’s all light and an opening is created.  Sometimes it goes the other way, for good reason or because one of us made a snappy judgment, oops I mean evaluation.  Everybody evaluates before making a decision and sometimes it’s based on going with our gut or criteria we need to meet.  I do it.  I consider my feelings around a group, cause, organization, based on their website content, or what I’ve heard about them, what their mission and vision is.  Do I align with them?  Is this something I feel strongly about?  Is there a good possibility my skills could be useful?  And then I make my decision and either reach out or not.

Sometimes, I’m just sayin’, we go overboard on keeping others out for very little reason or based on our own assumptions created by seeing through our own experiences.  I just spent three days with my best friend.  We couldn’t be more different when it comes to our personal habits, beliefs, interests, and how we approach life and interact with the world.  And yet, we’ve managed to have a relationship that’s lasted, and we’ve enjoyed and hugely benefited from, since we were three years old.  From her I’m learning about accepting others as they are and how to not care what others think.  Perhaps from me she’s learning how to stand up for her own needs and to let go of being a people-pleaser.

The way I experience life is that we’re all in this together.  It may look like we’re too different from each other to find common ground.  But that kind of thinking prevents the possibility of a beneficial connection.  And anyway, we always share similar basic needs and heartfelt desires…either in the midst of enormous struggle or when things just aren’t sitting right or if we’re fortunate enough to live joyful, creative lives.  Some of what we evaluate each other on doesn’t really matter.  It doesn’t really matter what our back story is but rather what we’ve done in spite of it, and learned from it.  It doesn’t so much matter what we look like, or where we live.  Instead, wouldn’t it be great to focus on cooperating and creating together?  To learn from each other.  To release our quick to surface dismissive thoughts and, instead, open to possibilities.  There’s no better time in the world for this than now.

Cringe and Learn

So I’m noodling around with a workshop I’ll be contributing to in a few weeks.  My section is about setting and working towards our vision of our best, pertaining to finding and aligning with our purpose.  It’s no accident that I’m leading the section where we discuss concrete steps we might take to stay in alignment with our vision.  Because this is exactly where I am in my own life.

As we align with our purpose we all need assistance.  Initially, I thought I could do it all myself.  But I need assistance with legalities, forms, and fresh eyes looking at my content, among many other things.

The perfect person always shows up at the perfect time.  Even the ones who don’t seem so perfect.  There’s all kinds of support.  Beautiful support from who I can’t so much see but I’m tremendously benefiting from as opportunities and people are sent my way.

Then there’s the support from people who unknowingly are challenging me and teaching me to stand up for myself or whatever the lesson may be.   Those are the most surprising and often uncomfortable relationships, the pop into my life for only a short time until I get what they’re showing me.  And it can take me a while to figure out what it is they’re showing me.  At first I might even go kicking and screaming into the what’s there for me to learn.  But I don’t want to speak up.   I’m comfortable with my people pleasing inauthentic behavior.  It’s more difficult to share my truth and be myself.  And I look away until it becomes so uncomfortable that I have to pay attention.  Ok, what is this about?!

All I can say is, if something doesn’t feel right, it’s a good idea to take a minute to try to figure out why because it’s there to learn from, however uncomfortable it feels.

Speaking up in the moment has always been a challenge for me, so how great is it that in moving forward into my purpose someone pops up to teach me to speak up?

For example, one person I recently hired was with the intention of receiving help to become more succinct on my website.   I soon learned our business relationship was more about teaching me to speak up for myself, though she has no idea she’s teaching me this.  This person is reminding me to pay attention to my feelings and to my intuition asking myself…does this person’s suggestions align with my vision or not?  I’m learning to manage our business agreement…are we still focused on the initial goal?  Am I getting what I paid for?

I used to fold and follow from both a lack of confidence and worry I might hurt someone’s feelings if I disagreed with them or worry they might not like me.  But things are way different now, and this is not the time to fall back into my old habits.

As I listened to our recorded meetings I was very surprised that what I was saying and projecting outwardly, was not how I really felt.   I heard myself agree when I disagreed.  I heard myself say “yeah”, “ok”, lot’s of “yups”, and “thank you’s” when instead I was feeling “no”, “why are we talking about this?”, or “I don’t feel this is working out for me”.   I was cringing when I listened to the recordings.

Turns out a little cringing was worth it because I got it.  Speaking up to get what I pay for is a valuable skill to learn as my vision grows and as I hire more people to assist me in my vision.  So a big thank you to this person and to my guides for the opportunity.  I need to bring more authenticity and confidence to my business dealings and to every relationship.

 

Standing in our own personal power

It was a simple meeting…

How was it that afterwards, when I came home and had lunch with my husband, I cried?  As I tried to express myself between tears I kept saying Why do I feel this way?  What exactly happened?  My husband was also asking, how could you get so upset over a casual meeting with someone?  I don’t know why I feel this way, I blubbered into my salad while spilling dressing all over myself.  And I really didn’t.  I needed a minute (it took a week or so).  I was so done, sniffle, sniffle.

Embracing our differences

 

This experience was not really about a disconnection with someone or an awkward meeting I’d had the best of intentions for.  This was an opportunity for me to learn something about myself.

We’d met the previous week at her event and from what we both shared there, it seemed we were on the same wavelength.  While she didn’t intend for this, I felt deflated by her first question…so tell me, I know there’s more to your story.  There isn’t really much more I thought and all of a sudden I felt ordinary around someone who clearly was exuding ‘special’ and ‘expert’ as she shared all her highly unusual metaphysical experiences.  I felt like a duck out of water and no longer stood in my personal power.

Not a fun meeting and I take complete responsibility for feeling smaller.  I compared myself to someone else and fell into an old pattern of coming up short.  Watching an old belief pop up over a simple interaction, allowing old assumptions about myself to resurface, the more constricted I felt.

If this experience taught me anything it’s that I have my own lane, to embrace it, and to confidently stand in it.

Habits That Create The Best Possibilities (for me)

Here are some things I practice to be aware of.  We all have our own ways to be at our best and attract our best possibilities and these may or may not work for you.  It’s whatever supports you and empowers you.  For me, with so many experiences that I’m having just about every day now, it’s helpful to remember and practice whatever feels right at the time.  It’s pretty ordinary yet offering a beautiful shift in my day.

  • Practicing self-kindness by doing all the things I enjoy every day such as yoga and meditation, making time for exercise, and time for art.IMG_1843I’m not at my best when I let these things slide and, at this writing, some of these have been sliding off the scale. So off I go to walk on my favorite nature trail.
  • Watching my self-talk and turning it around when it goes south
  • Being my real-deal self.  You’re great too, but I don’t want to be you.
  • Remember that it’s nearly impossible to make a difference by playing it safe, or be a people pleaser.
  • Build a small community of support and let the unsupportive relationships fade
  • Allow others to assist me and remember to ask how I can assist them
  • Cultivate lightheartedness no matter what.  Lightheartedness brings opportunities.
  • Notice when I play smaller because of fear, insecurity, or some other lower emotion.  Remember it’s not the truth, and get back to being my magnificent self.
  • Gratefulness for pretty much everything
  • Being good with sometimes feeling uncomfortably stretched, and therefore vulnerable, and standing out for unusual ideas.  It’s a game…wonder what I’ll do today that will be a stretch for me?  But this is not to be confused with pushing ahead on something that’s not in my best interest.
  • Use my imagination and imagine me already doing that which I want to do and the opportunities show up to assist me.
  • Take a stand for the seemingly impossible possibilities
  • Create incremental changes and look back once in a while just to appreciate how far I’ve come
  • Enjoy a relationship with my awesomely mind-blowing amazing guidance that’s always there within me, always encouraging, supporting, assisting, loving me
  • Be both uncomfortably stretched and happy at the same time.  See those feelings that seem to be at odds, as success.

More On Aligning With Our Purpose

Lately I feel like I’ve been shot out of a cannon.  Even as I type this post my keyboard can’t keep up with me and I have to keep pausing for the cursor to catch up.  I’m conflicted between wanting faster Internet, but not wanting to give Verizon more of my money.

Along with things feeling like they’re moving at the speed of light, are the inevitable growing pains associated with me being ok with being different.  Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 6.19.55 PMI’m coloring outside the lines and some days I own that, and some days I feel awkward and weird and weird (I know I typed that twice).  There are gazillions of people out there talking and writing about the very thing I’m talking and writing about.  We’re all doing our thing, each of us resonating with different people, as it should be.   But it’s clear that this line of work is not attracting approval from friends, family, or most strangers.  It isn’t mainstream.  Mark my words, once my book is published and I’ve given a TEDTalk, then I’ll get the approving sentiments, the clap on the back, but by then I won’t need their encouragement.

When aligning with our purpose we’re stretching ourselves.  You’re probably equally excited and terrified.  It’s understandable that you’re in need of a kind word, occasional words of encouragement.  Funny, we get impressed about where people work, what their titles are, how monetarily successful they are, if they’re published, what they drive, where they live, how they dress.  Meanwhile, we’re missing the magnificent that we pass on the sidewalk every single day, the great musician guy working at Trader Joe’s, or the folks we meet networking or at social events, that seem so ordinary, just like us…but, just like us, they’re amazing and they’re standing right in front of us.  Me.  You.  Not because we worked at stupid AOL years ago but because of who we are.  Maybe we should all wave while jumping up and down shouting “I’m right here!  I’m a magnificent human being…do you see it too?!”

You see yesterday, I had a gigantic moment.  I joined a group of ladies for a friend’s birthday and was asked what I do or if I was retired.  Answering her I said I’m a speaker and talk about spirituality, about looking to ourselves for the change we want for ourselves and the world.  Simple right?  And then, it felt so good to say that, I kept going.  Yupper, because I was sharing something that meant a lot to me I kept talking out of sheer nervousness as several faces politely listened to my monologue.  It’s like I gave myself a get out of jail card purging many decades of holding back and it came out in a torrent of words.  Then I told them my other idea I’m working on, cause evidently I wasn’t done talking yet.

We all have these moments that are big for us but others couldn’t possibly know because the moment is ours, not theirs.  It always feels good not trying to fit in, being my old self who used to hold back, worried I might “rock the boat” or stick out, afraid of being seen and heard.  Yesterday I talked too much about myself, stuck out, rocked the mainstream boat a little, as I talked about something many people don’t understand and probably think is strange for me to do.  Bite me.  I color outside the lines and happy that I do.  All I have to say is, if you’re reading this and you color outside the lines too, good!  Don’t stop.  Don’t hold back.  Be yourself, and show other people what it looks like to think differently, and to see how that pays off in unimaginable ways. Not everyone colors outside the lines and that’s ok too.  We should all be ourselves unapologetically.

For me, I know I’m experiencing a growth spurt.  No one else will recognize it.  But it’s here and I’m good with it and with all the vulnerable feelings that come along with it.  Stretching myself is always a challenge, but it gets easier, until…I reach my next challenge.  No question, I’d rather be in a space of growth than be stuck where I was.

Thank you to all artists everywhere

I’m inspired today by doing one of my favorite things…visiting art exhibits.  This afternoon we went to a flower show and four local galleries.  Now I feel greater than great.  What would we do without art?  Without your creativity and unique way of looking at something?  And the very cool thing is we all interpret the art we see, hear, or feel, so differently.  Through your art I’m in my highest emotions and in amazement at your talent.  Thanks for putting yourself out there and sharing your humanity.  I love you!    I really do hope imitation is the best form of flattery.  No worries, there’s no way I can do what you do, I can only do what I do…but you sure do inspire me.

Here’s to you continuing to inspire everyone who experiences your work.

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