There is a power in leveraging what is. There is an ease there—a flow like the water garden of the ancient Venetians. They worked with the tides. The ancient Venetians came up with a crazy new idea that succeeded for them. They innovated with what was within reach and made water streets. The sea now protected them from their enemies.
It’s not easy being a gardener—water garden or otherwise. You are not in control of the growing. We are facilitating, keeping watch, and adapting. We’ve got the noisy bird chatter of ‘cant's’ in our heads eating up our initiatives; sometimes we have only shallow soil to work with where my less endowed root system is challenged. Then there is the thorny anxiety and fear to choke out sunlight and stress us to death.2 That repressed, silent, family was planting in their son the best seeds they knew—family-tested and trusted.
At some point, we get to be our own gardeners (or mothers). We learn better—more regenerative, wiser wisdoms or we continue to loop, unaware, with the old ones until our crops die or we do.
What’s the difference between a weed and a flower? Location, location, location. They could be the same plant—but a weed in one landscape and a prized flower in another. It’s about a right fit. Pampas grass is great in its native Africa, but in Northern California it commonly hurts animals that are not adapted to eating. We don’t see a ‘weed’ as useful because it does not serve us or belong. Perhaps it has harmed us in the past (poison ivy or oak…) or it triggers something in uslike a remembered resentment. (My weed of ‘not enough’ has an unfortunately robust taproot.) These are weeds in my good life—so are fear and anxiety.
My postmortem (post-Betty) life is not the ‘garden’ that I planned to tend. My soil was rototilled by death. It wasn’t until the protective overstory of my grandmother and father fell that I felt the full exposure of the world. The thing about gardening with ‘What Is,’ is that it is not clear until you try a few times, growing a crop, or a relationship, or a business, if it will bear fruit—or if it even belongs to me. Perhaps it’s an imposter’s Cuckoo-egg of a story in my nest.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a ladder, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”--Albert Einstein
While you are there (on your butt, in the muck of grief), you might as well check out the flanking resources—it might be the good manure for the of your dreams. Perhaps plant something different while I’m here? Or should I try again to do over but better this time. I that until I got a loopy. My life stopped working. I got stuck. Grief made me see differently.
I need to Wait Here and feel what needs to be felt—for me right now: the hurt, sadness, disappointment, and the satisfaction and joy. Then I will know what to weed or feed.
Make a garden from what you already have—it’s enough. Watch for the seedlings that will grow a better life for you. Water the happy and delightful; weed the rest. Like those seeds, we are waiting for the conditions to spark life again.