Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gardening Meditation: past successes can be dead weight

I have beautiful "Fairy Roses" in my front garden.  The rosebush, about 4 feet in diameter, was in full bloom when I took this picture in June.  Aren't they gorgeous?  I have never seen so many blossoms and flowers at once on this plant.

For most of June and July, the blooms kept coming and then dying away...  and I became secluded in my office as I wrote almost non-stop to prepare manuals and documentation, to do research and to tune-in to my Higher Consciousness and Spirit as I prepared for my new Lightworker Development Program. I did neglect my garden during that time.  The vegetable patch in the back was overrun by weeds and the gorgeous rosebush in the front looked grey, faded and heavy.

Now that I have put my books and writing aside for a few days to enjoy the sunshine and the success of last weekend's training, I put energy back in my garden.  Gardening is a wonderful time for me to feel connected to the Earth, to the food I eat and to the beauty that surrounds us.  The hours I spend weeding and pruning bring me great satisfaction as I reconnect body-mind-spirit.  It's a wonderful time for active meditation.  As I tell my students, meditation is not just about sitting in lotus pose and trying to avoid the thoughts that come to your mind; meditation can also be active, when you garden or cook or do dishes.  It's when you allow your thoughts to ebb and flow while being a distant observer of your mind.  And it's about grabbing on to a thought that feels like a lesson when you recognize it entering your consciousness - and then releasing it with the other thoughts.

My "revelation" today came as I pruned my rosebush.  It looked so tired and faded.  It looked flattened, all branches flat on all sides and nothing in the middle.  It looked sad.  As I pruned away the heavier branches and removed the dead flowers, the thought occurred to me that past successes can be burdensome, just like a spent flower can weigh down a plant.

Have you had instances in your life when you felt you had to live up to a past success, and its weight, or the fear of never doing as good again, was almost paralyzing?  Or are you stuck in a thinking pattern where things were much better in the past, and even the difficulties have almost a saintly glow while the present looks bleak and the future even bleaker?  Or maybe you can recall a child prodigy with tons of trophies and certificates or movies and achievements, who is living a very seemingly messed-up adulthood for lack of being able to outgrow the "rut" past successes have carved?

In spiritual circles, we often talk about cutting away karmic cords tying our energy to negative life events, people and emotions.  Perhaps it would also be good to look at our attachments to the good things in life, too.  Maybe at times we are too attached to past successes that we forget to live happily in the now time.  We forget to create beauty now for fear that it won't be viewed as good as the beauty of our past.  We go dormant and are unable to bloom in our present because our energy is still drained by the past, that we are reliving daily in our mind like a nostalgic movie.

I have experienced the effect of this nostalgia in my public service career.  One of my mandates was to develop a change management tool and training for a nation-wide initiative.  One of the personality types I encountered was the "Everything was so good 20 years ago, and then you changed it all to this new initiative, and then changed it again.  Things were so good then I don't know why it was ever changed in the first place.  And now you're changing it again with so many elements from 20 years ago.  It's just ridiculous." This personality type resisted change.  And sometimes this personality didn't go as far back as 20 years; I've noticed it in a still-green manager for whom things "at her old place of work" were much better, the team was more friendly, the projects were more juicy...  Although going back to the past to learn lessons from experiences - successes and failures both - can enlighten the present, being stuck in the past - however good it was - is not helping the present at all.  Commiserating on the past is not bringing solutions to present situations.  Being in the grips of the past is disempowering and can stop someone from evolving and growing.

How can I apply this lesson in my life?  Well, up until last October, I was working in corporate world until my body and mind could no longer cope with a job that was not in resonance with the call of my higher self.  Although I LOVE and am so happy with the life I am creating now, everyday, a part of me is still stuck in the past.  That part of me is the one who really enjoyed the stability and security of steady income.  Whether I was busy or not, productive or not - I still received the same good paycheque right in my bank account every other week.  Income is much more fluid now as I start and grow my own business and draw upon some savings...  Remaining stuck on the "it was so nice when my paycheque was so stable" might be a roadblock, or a road-sign in my journey.  If I stay stuck in that energy, I might feel I have no choice but to return to a stable income in the corporate world.  Will I be able to see the opportunities for growth when the risk of an unsteady income can be so scary?  Am I ready to dead-head that bloom of the past?

I also realized that one of the problems I experienced in my last job was that I felt undervalued.  I felt that my managers did not recognize the wealth of experience I was bringing to the team.  I felt they treated me for less than I deserved.  In previous jobs, I participated in inter-departmental committees overseeing the policy development for the whole country, and now I was relegated to a cubicle with my opinion questioned at every turn.  I realized today that because I felt I had more value in the past, I felt disengaged in the present.  And I was very likely a tid bit arrogant - how dare they question me?  How could they not know the knowledge and experience I have?  Oh the stress I put my mind and body through for living more glorious days in the past and not fully embracing the present...  And as I complained about "their" ego, here was mine going full steam ahead...

And I continued to trim away dead branches and spent flowers from my rosebush.  I felt its energy return - and it did help, I think, that there was a mist of rain falling.  The rosebush perked back up, looking like a bush again and ready to produce more buds and beautiful flowers, its leaves a deep green and resilient, shining in the warm July rain.

I put my gardening tools away, and now am working on my spiritual tools to cut away those past blooms and dead branches that I am still holding on to.  It's through pruning - the bad AND the good - that we can feel revitalized and healthy.  We can honour our past, and yet be fully present in the now; now is the time we have to co-create our reality.  What is done is done.  What we can do in our present and in support of the future we want depends on our thoughts and actions in this moment.

How about you?  What spent blossom are you holding on to?  What past glory are you ready to cut, so that you stop feeling weighed down and start feeling revitalized, whole and healthy?

How can I support you and help you?

I am sending you much Love and Light, on a carpet of fresh roses.