Some words have emerged repeatedly lately in different settings and with different people, but the words include seeds, harvest, planting, germination. “You have planted your seeds, now let them grow.” I also read a chapter from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, which I haven’t held in my hand for years, but resurrected because I asked to join a study group. The theme of the chapter is about recovering a sense of autonomy and it sums up so much about my life lessons recently.
I had the unique experience and privilege of an Akashic records reading last month and I wrote down as much of the reading as I could. My questions, as they have been so often in my life, included “Am I where I am supposed to be right now? Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?” Those questions felt unanswered for so long, that I stopped asking for some time. I began moving ahead jaggedly and backward and ahead, not really asking for help, and not getting as skilled as one might, for lack of wanting to ask for help. Because we make ourselves better when we ask for help. When we are in community with trusted others. Because asking for help demands courage and vulnerability, which I couldn’t afford to muster.
I chose opportunities to hone what came natural to me, and I think I’m fortunate that what comes natural is kindness, listening, supporting. While I haven’t been willing to reflect that back into my own eyes very often, if at all, I have to believe that at least faking it, projecting goodness–if that is what it was–even if it isn’t coming from a place of self-love, at least offers some redemption when the realization comes: Self Love Is The Heart. We can’t authentically share whole-hearted loving goodness with others until we hold and nurture it in our own hearts first.
The questions came up again. The answers: I am there for a reason. I am the right person for the job. Strong, sturdy, capable. Trust that it is right. More Soil to till. More Seeds to plant and crops to tend. Until the work is finished. No matter how I approach this job, it is supposed to be. Trust my training and experience. I am good at what I do. Growth and change, hang your hat on that. Those who put me there know I have the capacity for growth and I am up for it. Approach with a sense of knowing I have what it takes. Consult myself a bit more.
I have taken the stance of novice throughout my life, with the thought that others know better than I do. Self-doubt, hesitation and ambivalence have been my travel companions, but that gorgeous brown haired little girl inside has been persistent and nudged me along with her delicate hands. She whispered invitations to come play, so I took art classes, sometimes she made forts with the sheets in my bed when I couldn’t budge at the end of a week. She has been skilled at playing hide and seek, and I have been a frequently unwilling playmate, leaving her behind to wait.
New territory–this is to be expected. It is to my benefit to put myself in that person’s shoes to see what they need at that time to help build a bridge. Shock someone out of their way of perceiving the world with compassionate statements and a sense of shared experience. Engagement. There are new ideas I haven’t tapped into yet. More I can do in its infancy and early stages. More changes that are less drastic, but more research. Tending.
I frequently pause when people ask me if I like my new job. I pause, tongue tied every time and it isn’t that I dislike it. I feel really alive. I started out with great hesitation, not accepting my worthiness to be a leader, but as I have allowed self-doubt and ambivalence to fall away like tired leaves from a branch, new growth has unfurled toward the sun. A lot of new growth, and some sturdy foliage there too, if I am to continue with this metaphor.
I shared with a learning circle today, my seemingly disconnected parts–mosaic art, clinical training, family systems training, yoga teacher training (that actually doesn’t look so bad as it felt written in words!) but as I said it aloud my spidery inner critic began grumbling about what a scatter-brain I am. Without the improved force-field of self-care that I have been engaging in this Fall, yoga, meditation, choices to nurture myself, that spiny critic may have sent me back inside yet again.
Fear not, however because my reading also told me this: This requires creativity–rather than segmenting art and work, include it and apply it into your leadership role. Opportunity to bring creativity into your workplace. Your approach–a blend of linear and creative. It may not be art specifically, but creativity. Apply the creative mind and processes to the work I’m doing.
To my little brown haired inner girl, I’ll jump in the leaves with you this year! In retreat yesterday, Sarah Avant Stover led us in a prayer and this I said for you, especially, “May you be filled with joy. May you be happy and loved. May you be safe.”
An important memory from my twenties is having seen a Ginkgo tree for the first time, anchored in my memory by a defining experience of independence and capable adulting. The Ginkgo leaf has been a symbol of capacity and openness. It is now an image that my children also hold special, because they have seen and heard me point out Ginkgo trees wherever we go. It seems fitting to reflect back to that beginning of adulthood and know that I had a sense of being rooted in some self-love even then.
The trees are shedding their leaves now. Gorgeous hues of gold, auburn and green drift and float to blanket the ground, preparing to serve in a new role of fuel and rebirth beyond the dormancy of winter. The Ginkgo trees are now gold and they shed their leaves too. I’m letting go of some stuff. I feel lighter, more capable. Growth and change. Hang your hat on that.