Some see weeds, I see opportunities — to be still, to get my hands dirty and to listen to what life is really trying to tell me
Do you feel the signs of change underfoot? And I’m not just referring to the seasons outside your window and weather patterns. I’m referring to the seasons of life, your life.
To say that it’s been a weird summer would be an understatement, right? COVID stopped us all in our tracks in different ways, but after the weeks became months, you likely found yourself softening in ways you haven’t in a while. I want you to pay attention to those feelings.
Because this situation created space for us to connect with ourselves in ways that we had previously grown accustomed to rushing by over the course of our busy, busy lives. Things shifted and the pace of life transformed abruptly. Some of us initially felt suffocated and stifled before we allowed ourselves to breathe more fully — to trust.
My local nursery completely sold out of an entire season’s worth of plants and flowers within weeks of opening up their gates this spring — which was a good problem for him and his family. But it was also an indicator of what people were experiencing — a new connection to their land, their interests and themselves.
When we exhale, we expand…we breathe in room for more.
Gardens were planted, meals were prepared, puzzles were assembled, deep house cleaning and organizing was done, books were read, family dinners and conversations were had — connections were made. And even big changes were made. We began to take stock. I’ve witnessed many friends leaving city apartments, selling houses, relocating, reconfiguring. Yes, change is upon us. It opened our eyes about a lot of things — mainly about the pace of life and the priorities that we previously once tried to shove into that.
And for the first time in a long time, we began to seize the present moment. And even if we succumbed to its embrace in different ways, there undoubtedly has been a collective freeze-frame. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing after all?
When we don’t give ourselves room to breathe, we can’t possibly see choice or our ability to do life differently. I’ve caught myself in that mode before many times in my life. From the outside looking in, I appeared to be some taskmaster running the show. It’s easy to get entrenched in a job, a relationship, a certain way of doing things. And it’s always amazing to witness what happens when we let go and get out of the way.
Isn’t it ironic how we keep ourselves bound to the things that aren’t working for us?
It’s made me think a lot lately about my grandparents who survived the Great Depression. I never understood why they stocked up on food and household supplies in their basement and why they could never part with anything. My grandfather would toil and tinker, fixing just about everything. Bottom line: everything had value. Nothing was disposable.
As a kid, I couldn’t possibly understand that. But boy do I now. I wish things were made to be fixed, not summarily dismissed to landfill in lieu of the next shiny object. And my Dad knew how to fix things too. We never called repairmen to our house growing up or had our cars serviced. If he didn’t know how to fix it, he’d figure it out. Admittedly, not everything got fixed (wink), but he got an A for effort. No one knows how to fix things anymore. We simply replace them.
It’s not that this is the first time I’ve made the connections of my family lineage…to the blossoming entrepreneurs in my ancestry that laid the groundwork but couldn’t indulge their personal desires. They stand behind me — and I honor the path they paved for me.
I’ve had more air to breathe these past months — more ways to connect to them. I imagine if they were looking down on me (and they are) they would be beaming with pride and possibly cringing in ways.
The COVID gift: simplicity.
This isn’t about shutting off your thinking, analytical mind — about politics, issues and questions. But it is about connecting to your soul, its purpose and what truly resonates with you. It about HOW you want to get through your days…the good, the bad and the troublesome.
I stand upon their courage and hard work. And I bear the responsibility, to be the evolution of their dreams and mine. This week marked the 5 year anniversary of my father’s passing from this Earth plane. There isn’t a day that I don’t think of him or see him reflected in my own face. I inherited his strong Lithuanian features. Dad stares back at me when I look in the mirror.
Before he died, his body was tired and weak — a far cry from the robust, strong man I grew up with. I will never forget a time when I was visiting my parents shortly before his death. Early one summer morning I went out into the backyard of my childhood home to weed some garden beds. Soon after my Dad joined me. He was too weak to assist, but he brought a small wooden bench out to sit on. There he placed it aside me where I was crouched down, garden gloves wiping the sweat from my brow. And there we chatted about nothing and everything. The sizzle of summer abounded in the shade of the overarching pine trees. And there I sat in communion with arguably the most important man in my life — who would be gone within months. Grace.
I think back to that moment a lot. I didn’t rush, I just was and it fed me in the deepest of ways.
Weeds of opportunity. Every time I‘ve weeded a garden since, I think of him. We meet up in those weeds and I remember what is most important in my life — to feel it all. And ever since, weeding has been a form of active meditation for me. Just getting my fingers in the dirt, connecting to Mother Nature quiets my entire being. It works every time.
No matter where you find yourself. No matter how mundane the task before you — appreciate the magnificence of this present moment — even if you are scared or vulnerable or nothing feels right.
Don’t allow fear to seize the present from you. Take it back. Fear can’t solve your problem or remove your pain. But stillness can provide a reprieve, a reset, grace — the courage to see something else before you; an inspiration, a new feeling, a new path.
Take that in instead. Observe it. Smell it. Feel it. Hug it. Take a picture of it. Most of all — be with it. It will be gone before you know it. Moments and memories slip through our fingertips. God knows we can’t control everything we want to, but we can control how we are going to travel through this human experience. Squeeze the goodness right out of it all, even COVID.
Are you feeling the change of tides within your life — and heeding the call to recalibrate your relationship to the present moment? What’s been coming up for you during this collective ‘timeout’? Please share your discoveries and strategies in the comments below. Xo