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Blooming

So, it is official. I am plugged into this world-- no longer floating away. I have proof.

My friend Julia is writing about her running legs of a 200 mile relay race, and I am feeling that it is time that I write about my own Mount Everest ascent. Not literally, although, I'm not ruling that out--yes, I am.

Anyway, this has to do with what has been facing me down in my home-space, specifically, in my yard.

At the beginning of the summer I looked outside my window after almost three years of looking out the same window, being overwhelmed and dismayed by the state of affairs, and knew it was time. Something in me felt ready to show up and listen to my heart for the steps to take, to follow a path resulting from intention set to create beauty and flow in my space.

I've been softened through this process and led in a very feminine and flexible  way beyond my initial thoughts and ideas, to walk that fine line between following intuition and the logical mind, both together, which would weave a perfectly lovely, wiggly, curly cue, path toward relative ease and magic.

I've written a lot lately about how my plants have been teaching me so much. It has been hard not to see myself and my journey reflected through that of the plants. And, as always, I see how nothing is separate--how aspects of our lives, and the lives of those around us, repeat the same patterns throughout, just with different themes.

The sad state of affairs that my yard has been living in, was perhaps the best illustration of my life through divorce. Perhaps it was the clearest indication of how I had to focus on the vital organs of my life, to keep the heart pumping, so to speak--even at risk of losing the limbs. The yard would have to wait. There was a lot of inner work to do, before I could even begin to focus on it.

But it seemed this summer, with a strong beating heart, I was ready to get up and start walking around--hop and skip a little, at that.

So, I looked out the window, determined to make this a space one I could use with my girls, and friends, that wouldn't keep me cringing when piano students and their parents walked in my backyard to enter my studio.

Of course, nobody probably thought twice about judging me, but there is something about our environment that expresses who we are, and that is why we tend to it. So, having a pretty yard wasn't about wanting approval, but rather about wanting to share my beauty inside and out, to others and myself, and knowing that deep down, there was healing that would be symbolized in a garden resurrected. Something speaking about making things grow, about faith and participation. Praying while you walk, so to speak.

So, my first challenge was the lawn. My initial thought was to rip it all out, and then I won't have to contend with it. So, I put my lawn on Craigslist for free, thinking no one, in their right mind would ever go for it. Would you believe that I got a rather instant reply from someone wanting to come and dig it up the next day?!! Something about being so decisive and taking action that gets the wheels turning.

But by the end of the day, however, I had been steered in a more gentle direction. I was at a friend's house, talking to her husband (who is usually never home when I am there) about their yard. They have such a beautiful yard, and I found myself dreamily thinking about what it would feel like to come outside every day into such a haven. But the conversation took a different turn than I expected when I told him how beautiful it was. He proceeded to list twenty to fifty items in the yard that were gnawing at him, that needed to be done. I couldn't believe it. Was it possible that my yard would look beautiful to someone else, who wasn't subject to all the thoughts telling what needed to be done and dealt with?

That moment, something shifted for me. I saw that my imperfect yard would probably always feel imperfect, no matter what I did to it.

This softened me, and helped me to move into a gentler, more flexible state of mind. Maybe it wasn't about starting from scratch.

I felt myself turn the struggle over, along with the need to create from a place of fixing vs. a place of loving.

And thus began a different kind of journey.

It was no longer about fixing something because it was broken, to ease my pain, because I could see that it would always feel broken. No matter what I did, there would always be long lists, before I could enjoy it.

Nope, I didn't want to go down that road anymore.

This was about learning to see things very differently.

I cancelled the grass removal, and was met with much understanding by the Craigslist gentleman. So much so, that he ended up doing some work for me, as he was a handy man.

And this is what really began the transformation of my yard! This Craigslist man ended up being super talented and super affordable for his work, and he removed the biggest eye sore in my yard, which was a very ugly little deck, and turned it into a perfectly symmetrical set of stairs which opened up the space like you wouldn't believe! Here it is finished!


Everything flowed from this project, and the little rock garden that I got to plant, where the ugly deck used to be.

This was when I began to put paint on my pallet for the rest of it!

For the sake of keeping this shorter than a novel, what ensued was something like running a big race. It looked like digging deep into the hardest earth you've ever seen, sweating like I've never sweated before, spending hours without a break, working, working, working--spending full weekends moving, moving moving-- breaking the handle of a big wooden garden shovel in the process, trips to the local garden shop, a little imagination, a lot of trust, picking up that 16-pack of dusty rose petunias, that I almost thought would be too excessive financially, but which have become one of my favorite features!

It was about carrying heavy bags of soil, breaking up dirt clods until my hands ached, and watching things start to take shape.

What I remember most, however, is how I became like a machine, with no mind calling over my shoulder to criticize me, or scare me into quitting or doubting. There were moments I really tried to hear it, but it just wasn't there. It was like yoga, just moving in clear space, all by myself.

It was like the mind had truly gone to sleep, giving me freedom to create.

After the initial work, it was a lot about waiting and watching. I watched some plants die, and others flourish. I found out that one that died, I had over-watered and given it too rich of soil. This taught me a lot about balance, and how some plants are better left alone, and can be suffocated by your care.

I watched lots of flowers get eaten by slugs, but then I watched them bloom again, as the slugs got distracted by the parties going on in the beer swimming pools I set out.

Magical.

And here is some real magic for you! Recently, we looked out the window, and I saw a tree smiling. I smiled back and my girls ran outside to greet the little man.

                                                    Can you see him smiling?


I've written in recent posts that my girls and I glued a lot of sparkly glass to stepping stones and that I gave some tables a second chance at life by creating a colorful mosaics top. Infusing a creative spirit outside!



                               by my daughter Madeleine.

                                 by my daughter Caitlyn

                                 By me, three roses--
reminding me of one woman and two precious little girls, who made a Home with a capital H together.


                                my funky table!

It has been so much fun to see my yard transform before my eyes.

                My girls are as excited about the veggies as if we were growing real human babies out there!

The roses I've written about a lot on this blog lately, are leafy green and in bloom--no longer the twisted twigs with only a stray bloom here and there.


So perhaps I am finally feeling planted in my life, and blooming! My environment is reflecting this. It is good to keep reminding myself of this.

I've christened an outdoor table and chairs and sun umbrella with some dear friends, and with my sweet daughters, who have sat out with me, telling me that it feels like a new house.



The inside of our house feels different too, now that the outside is sending in love. Mostly I don't feel so caged in, or that need to escape my house to breathe.

In case you were wondering, there have been no rats to speak of since my Rat Tango post. Yipee!

So, perhaps, I've reclaimed my territory, my power, and my connection to my environment, in addition to my connection with my heart--coming back to life, grounding myself, finding enthusiasm for life. I am excited for what is next, knowing I'll do it the same way I did my yard, balancing the spiritual and the practical, by turning it over, and listening and trusting.

My heart is full of gratitude for the journey, and for divine timing and trust, and for the part of me that knew to be patient and not force things before it was time-- to believe that in due time the heart would beat strong and clear with self-love, and the body getting up and around, would follow.

I am also deeply thankful to be able to share this journey with you.

Tonight, my daughters and I will chill in the hammock and read the last couple chapters of Far Away Tree, by flashlight, and I have a feeling that this little man in the tree, smiling at us, and all the little fairies attracted by our sparkles will be there listening. And when we are done, we will turn off the light and we will have a perfect view of the stars.

Comments

  1. Brooke. The tears are rising up from somewhere deep inside of me. I am so completely touched by every word you wrote here--how purely beautiful & sweet & absolutely precious.

    And the photos! That table! I'm in love with it--how totally cool that you gave that some love too. And, look at it! It's so sparkly beautiful! Wanna make me one?

    I need to come sit in your yard with you and marvel at what you so lovingly & bravely created. Maybe we could howl at the moon together or roll around in the soil and give thanks to the powers that be.

    You're an inspiration, my friend.

    Thank you for sharing this preciousness--I hold it right up close to my heart.

    With love,

    Julia

    ReplyDelete
  2. Brooke. I so resonate to this post. I have been on a paralell journey getting to know and tend the gardens I've inherited from my mother-in-law that had been neglected for quite a few years. At first I felt overwhelmed, totally unequal to the task. I had done vegetable gardening in the past but never tended flowers before. I still don't know what I am doing, but beginner's mind is fun. I have learned one thing for sure. If you tend to something (even imperfectly) it looked tended and loved. The look of neglect vanishes, even if weeds and imperfections remain. I am tying now in a garden patch I reclaimed. Here I planted more than a dozen new perennials. It is a baby garden, and I love it passionately. Thanks for introducing me to your garden. Love what you and your daughters did with mosaic on stone. I am inspired!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Brooke!!!

    This post is SO LIFE-AFFIRMING. Thank you from the depths of my very deep heart!

    I LOVE your garden. I love the artwork you and your girls have made. I also adore the table and request a commission on one please! And I love the process, the sacred process that you've been through and have shared so generously with us here.

    I read today that our minds are like the ground; they respond to the care, attention and love, or neglect and lack of care that we give them. They are mouldable, shapeable, just like your garden.

    My own garden needs tending to. I've never had one before and suddenly I've got 30 feet of land to look after - it feels like too much of a job! But seeing the finished product in you, and reading and resonating with what the process is like, have spoken to me tonight, so who knows...?

    Love you lady. You are one amazing being.
    xxx

    P.S. Thank you evermore for your unending heart and love. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Brooke,

    The garden looks fabulous - a true reflection of the weeding that is taking place inside of you. Colourful flowers representing life affirming thoughts. Sparkly stepping stones to assist you as you cross the river of life, and a smiling tree symbolising the inner smile that radiates from a wonderful you.

    Love Nige

    ReplyDelete

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