I believe in most circumstances if I used the term in the garden of life, a good amount of people will conjure up images of brightly colored flowers, lush green foliage and quite possibly butterflies. When we think of other peoples lives and gardens we do not think of clearing away the weeds and that which has died, preparing and watering the soil and fertilizing it to promote new and continued growth. We don’t really consider the work that goes into a life, we just see the fruits of that labor.
95.7 Cruz FM played all 17 minutes of in a gadda da vida today on my drive to work, I had heard of the song, I believe there was a reference to it on a Simpsons episode I watched once as well. The song was written by Iron Butterfly Band member Doug Ingle and recorded on their album of the same name in 1968, occupying the entire second side of the album. There are a lot of drug and alcohol fueled rock and roll rumors about the origins of the song meaning and the lyrics but it is just a lot of soulful guitar riffs, drum solos and hard rock goodness to contemplate life to.
I was lost in the music, lost in memories of many a rock concert I had attended over the years, feeling that music fill my body and make me move and sway and forget and remember. I love those moments when the music takes over, wrapping you so tightly in melodies that for a short time nothing else matters. I see a collage of smiles, hip shaking, hands reaching to the sky in glorious abandon. Music has been such a huge part of everything I have ever done in my life that 17 minutes in my truck reminiscing as the psychedelic riffs of In a gadda da vida melt into the background barely scratch the surface.
My garden of life has been rich and blooming, attracting butterflies in the summer swell and it has been dead and dying, thirsty and abandoned and every possible stage in between those to two things.
A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.
— Liberty Hyde Bailey
Sometimes when we see other peoples gardens, we only see what they want us too. We are not so different, those with beautiful bursting blooms and those without. No matter what neighborhood we live in or what box we tick in the salary range we have similar triumphs and challenges. We have similar choices and opportunities.
We have all suffered through moments of immeasurable pain, we have all felt the cruel sting of rejection and heartache. We have all had nights that turned to day where we were consumed by blackness and those that we watched the moon fall and the sun rise with a person that we believed would love us until the end of time. We have all questioned our worthiness, our talents and gifts and we have all had days that it feels like the universe has lined up the stars to light us a pathway to our best life.
We live, we love, we learn, we fall, we cry, we rise.
We often have this feeling that we are alone and we are as reluctant to share our prevailing successes as we are to share our struggles. Both can be scary and intimidating. There is hope in both and rightfully both can and should be shared.
2019 has been great to me so far, it feels like a period of major expansion. I feel like there was a great deal of time that I vacated myself and yet the work that I am doing and the amazing people that I have aligned myself with has afforded me so many exciting opportunities that my body has literally been bursting with excitement. I have developed this incredible “can do” attitude and the dexterity to ask for the things that I want and all of that has proved to be so precious in guiding me on a path to uncover the fierce and unstoppable woman that has been hiding inside of a scared little girl.
I am afraid of regular things, the same as most of you but there has been a shift in those things for me as well. There are areas that I used to struggle with capability and worthiness and now I know unequivocally that I am worthy and capable of everything I set my mind to, I can be as big or as small as I chose to be, the work is all mine, the choices are all mine. Sometimes I imagine the voices of my critics, of my haters and weirdly they are the loudest when I am at my best, they come to try to knock me off perch with their bitterness and alienation. What right do I have to this life? They taunt me. I couldn’t even save my own husband, the person that meant the most, why are my words valuable? Why are they deserving of attention? They tell me I am acting too big for my britches and I need to shut up. I have no right to want an exceptional life. Those words hurt me of course, but they also shame me. Even worse, I know that when I am wading through that shitpile, that it is my own fears, my own judgements and my own inner saboteur that is wreaking havoc on my plans. I know her well, she has talked to me for years. I usually take at least a day to hear her out, I feel like crap, all goodness and motivation is drained out of my day and I feel like a deflated, misshapen balloon lying on the muddy ground at the end of a festival, used, inconsequential…left behind. Then I push that annoying voice away and I go about business as best as I can with a shrunken sense of self that I need to rebuild once again. The other day when she arrived, in the cutting voices of my taunters, I decided to offer her some love; something I had never considered. I often say that when facing challenges we should meet the situation with love first and this is the very first time it had occurred to me to face this with love.
These voices, no matter how they are disguised, no matter what antagonizing words they badger me with, I have come to the realization that they are from a scared little girl and she is a part of me. Anything that is not rooted in love is fear and that despondent little girl is afraid of change and choices and because of that she needs love more than anything.
Sometimes our fears are that we are not enough and others we fear being too much. As much as we fear insignificance, we also fear the magnitude of our personal power. Our brilliance is phenomenal, we have the ability to influence others in tremendous ways, that can all be scary. The fear is the same, fear of being ourselves, in every single way.
I believe that their is a sweeping assumption that people that achieve and people that make certain choices are without fears or struggles, that different opportunities are presented to them. I am lucky to be connected to some fabulously talented people and the number one thing that they have in common is working hard, despite their fears and not using the circumstances that they were born into to determine either their path in life or the choices that they make. They seize opportunities and they work hard. Talents and passions need to be cultivated, nobody gets by on a gift they were born with, with out investing a great deal of their time. Successful people are vulnerable, they open themselves up to the possibility of great attainment or failure and they look for the lesson in both of those things. They do not wait for opportunities, they create opportunities. Those choices are available to all of us. If you want something bad enough you will find a way or you will find an excuse.
I do not always have all of the answers, however I know how to find the answers. I am not afraid to ask the people that know. I spent a great deal of my life, afraid to admit when I didn’t know something in fear that it would make me look foolish. Instead of risking being potentially seen as foolish, I instead just felt foolish. It all feels very foreign to me now.
My boss always tells me how she admires my confidence and the way I hold myself and insists that I have always had that. I have not, no matter how it appeared, I just got really good at faking assurance and poise that I did not actually possess. My late husband thought I was brilliant and bragged to just about everyone he met about how smart and savvy and good at everything I was. I spent a great deal of our twenty years together in fear that he would one day discover that I was none of those things.
Confidence, like anything, is a choice and I chose to ask questions, I chose to educate to myself, I chose to invest in myself and I chose to believe in myself. The outward confidence that I now possess is not because I think I am perfect or that my body is without flaws and imperfections, I just choose to love it anyway and that has made a considerable difference in everything that I do. The way I conduct and carry myself, the way I express myself, the way I feel in a room of people, it is all relative to how I feel about myself as a whole and how I take care of my mind and my body. What I give to those two things, is evident in everything I do. I feel like I fully inhabit my space in the world and I do not feel less than, or inferior. I admire qualities in others without wanting to be them. I am kind and encouraging to others, instead of being envious. I support talented, courageous, and authentic people that give of themselves and their time to create and bring beauty, truth and education to the world through art and wisdom. I have learned the importance of having aspirations and people to look up to. Life is not a competition and I genuinely want us all to win.
We are not so different you and I and I will say it louder for the people in the back, I have fears too, I just act anyway.
Someone said to me last week that I seemed to be totally unaffected by being single on Valentines Day. I thought that was a bit odd and then it made the monkey’s in my head begin to chatter, “should I be affected by being single on Valentines day?” I wasn’t aware that being a part of a couple had such prestige attached to it and though I would like to say for the record that I am not jaded at all by love by I am a bit fatigued by the worn out ideas of what love and relationships should look like. I do not want to count myself among the statistic of people in unfulfilled relationships that do not elevate or inspire in some way. I will not be in a relationship to just avoid being alone. I feel like it is a good time to be by myself so that I can unlearn some unhealthy relationship patterns that I have developed over the years, not the least of, putting myself last. I will not settle. I have plenty of friends and I enjoy my own company, so when the right person wants to seriously share my time and my space with me intimately, it must be someone who makes me laugh, is my best friend or could become that and fulfills me while still giving me room to grow as an individual. There are things I will not compromise on and I know that that is OK. I believe that love should feel like freedom, I know that is possible if not probable in today’s society but it is a non negotiable for me. I believe a heart can love without a soul being chained. Plenty of people have told me that this type of love and relationship does not exist and even if that is the case, who is to say it cannot be created.
Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.
We are the co-creator of every experience that makes up or lives.
I want to encourage you to step beyond your fears, that is where the magic happens.