I have always been sensitive to spaces and places and aware of the emotions and energies of people around me. When my children were little it was my job to figure out what they were communicating, anticipating and tuning in to their needs and helping them navigate their emotions and experiences. I do the same with the animals I care for. For my friends too and others that I come into contact with. I can empathize with their feelings and often times see solutions/ideas and connections that they may not be aware of themselves.
So why then is it so hard to tune into my own needs and emotions?
I'm not sure when exactly I lost myself, or rather the connection to myself. But making sure my world was ordered and running smoothly, and that everyone (else) was happy, has always been my focus, my priority. Until one day it wasn't. At first this was just an awareness. A discomfort. A feeling of mild resentment. Why should everyone else get to do what they want all the time? What about me?
My body was trying to get my attention too, and it was getting louder and louder. My headaches were becoming more frequent and intense. It started to become impossible to ignore. Apparently I really needed to take some time to care for myself. I couldn’t ignore my needs and desires any longer. The trouble was that I had forgotten who I was. I had forgotten what made me happy. I had forgotten what was in my heart.
In my journey towards health and self-discovery I have found, through my gardening and art, that I am drawn to the plants and flowers that will best support my journey.
Making this connection began my journey back to authenticity.
Often, without thinking I went to the garden. In the garden I found peace. In the garden, I was able to recognize little bits and pieces of myself that I misplaced. I began to remember who I was. I was even able to forget the pain in my head too while I was absorbed in my work. It was just me and the earth. Perfectly peaceful. Perfectly content.
I talked to the plants all the time. It’s not like they talk back but somehow I have conversations with them just like I do with my animals and my children when they could not speak.
It’s communication without words and I just create my own internal dialogue. There is a clarity there that I feel in my heart so that I know what I am “hearing” is something that comes directly from that connection with the plants. I felt the plants have consciousness and personalities too. I knew about some of their medicinal qualities but I became interested more and more in their energy picture. Their essence. Their soul qualities.
And that’s when the universe stepped in to give me a little nudge.
My husband lost his job. The cash flow that sustained us was running out. I really needed to consider getting back into the work force. My homeschooled children would have to go to school. It was all super stressful.
Turns out I need not of wasted time worrying. The children adjusted well into their new schools, I opened up my own design studio, where I began to pick up a handful of clients and in my free time I painted. I spent a lot of time in the woods and in the garden, contemplating life, and the relationships between our emotional and physical bodies. Contemplating balance in my life, or rather how to balance my needs with those of my family and my work.
It was right at this time that I discovered Hellebore.
She was growing in a beautiful courtyard garden at an art museum I was visiting. I can’t say how long I spent there but the luminous chartreuse color of the flowers, the way they grew, the form of the leaves... I was totally in love. I took many photos, I made sketches and I spent a long time sitting with her. "Talking" with her.
She was medicine for my soul. My heart was singing. I could feel in my body the way her flowers softly hung their "heads" with humility and grace and then eventually opened up fully towards the sky, as they embraced their power and full glory. It felt as if I finally remembered who I was and what really made me truly happy. Not in fine detail but it was like a knowing, an understanding, like a door opening and a breathe of fresh air flowing in after all the years of the door being shut. The words she was whispering?
It's time to stop hiding. It's time to follow your heart. You know what to do.
And so comes self-awareness. Or the seeds of it. Awareness of my thoughts and actions rippling out and affecting the whole. Awareness of my thoughts and actions rippling out and affecting me, my body, my health, my life. And I knew what I had to do.
I don’t know who wrote this prayer so I can’t credit the author but I have carried these words with me as I learn to accept responsibility for my own personal journey, my healing journey, and my journey towards understanding the true embodiment of who I AM.
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Each flower is a mirror that reflects back at me something that I have forgotten, or something I need to remember, about my essential nature, my true Nature. All relationships are mirrors.
Growth and understanding and change can not always be understood in material form, although we can perceive it more readily that way. Instead it is more of an inside job. It happens in the dark. In other words, growth is not necessarily just about getting bigger it can also be about feeling better. Feeling more like myself.