Friday, September 21, 2012

Clearing out the Cobwebs

This past weekend, while out running some errands, I happened to pass a “Great Harvest Bread Company”.   I paused from my busy day to reflect for a moment, as I realized that my heart had begun aching within me.  This restaurant marked the place where a close friend and I took respite from a cold, rainy December afternoon a few years ago and whiled away a few hours drinking coffee, eating cinnamon bread, and sharing good conversation.  That relationship has taken pretty rocky roads since then, and at the present moment we had grown pretty far apart. 
As I sat in my car, nursing my aching heart, feeling the grief of loss surrounding that relationship, something else showed up as well…love and even a little bit of joy, as I remembered that experience.  No matter what happened between us later, that day was special.  I sat in that feeling-state of joy for a moment, and then I felt my mind reprimand me for feeling happiness at something that has changed and is in a different state now.
I started backing out of that memory, and then I paused, and questioned my thinking.  Did I really need to stop myself from feeling happiness about a memory?  In that moment, I realized that sometimes I set expectations on my feelings.  I tend to associate grief or loss with a sad, or sometimes angry feeling, and I shy away or suppress the happy, joyful feelings associated with something I’ve lost.  But emotions are far too complicated to place in little compartments like that.    
So I sat there, and I honored the love and the joy of that moment in time.   Regardless of what that relationship had or had not become, that was a fantastic afternoon.   As I sat there and felt the fullness of that life experience, a beautiful shift occurred in my heart.  By letting go of what I expected the relationship and my feelings around the relationship to be, and honoring the feelings that actually existed, I opened up a space in my life that had been closed and dark  – I cleared out the cobwebs so to speak -  leaving an open, clean space where something new and restorative could have a place to grow.    


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tending to the Garden of my Soul

Earlier this week I spent a couple of hours clearing out my yard.  For a long while I wanted to live in a little house with a big yard, and I'm happy to say that this is what I now have: a little house with a BIG yard (close to 1/4 acre)!  Luckily the yard is fenced in the middle so I have a manageable lawn area and then a back lot that is allowed to maintain a more "natural" state.  I try to keep it somewhat clear but this summer I've been busy doing other fun, outside things so I've let it run free.  And boy has it!

Today I decided it was time to clean up some of it, so I took my shears and my shovel and spent the better part of an afternoon digging up weeds, some of which were as tall me (which is pretty tall for a weed!) and pulling thorny vines, lots and lots of thorny vines. 

As I dug and pulled, I contemplated the condition of my own soul, which I sometimes liken to a garden.  Depending on how well I tend to it determines whether I have a well-landscaped, fertile groundscape or a weedy, thorny field. 

I feel like I've spent a lot of time in my life clearing the landscape and laying down healthy soil, so that healing trees can grow tall and healthy, bearing fruits of love, joy, peace and abundance.  Still, there are places where thorny bramblebushes of fear, pride and self-doubt grow up and try to choke out the healthy trees. 

I've often remarked that, as I've been going through my life coach training, I have cleared out the surface weeds and begun to "dig deep" at the deepest, oldest, thorniest roots in my garden.  Those that would, if unchecked, choke out the healthy trees and shroud my garden in shadow and fear.  I've kept them clipped pretty well but lately I've been digging, slowly loosening the soil surrounding the roots, and eventually, in some cases, reaching down and pulling up the roots. Sometimes I grab a thorn and "wow" it can hurt, but when it finally gets cleared out, its absence creates more room for healthy plants to grow! 

I'm happy that these days, the garden of my soul is looking good.  I'll keep tending to it, and my back yard too!