Monthly Archives: May 2017

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.

woods

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.

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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, they 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.