It’s quiet in my garden. Cold too! Bundled up I lean against the huge oak tree that holds space in my backyard and watch my breath escape in billowy clouds amongst the bare branches.
I feel fully supported by her strong trunk and allow myself to relax into her embrace. My boots sink into the snow cover and I feel grounded, rooted and so very peaceful.
A few deep breaths later I am fully present in my body, my mind letting go of all the to-dos and shoulds I have been distracted with. I can see my tracks down to the tree and I marvel at how I was so lost in my thoughts that I can’t even remember making them.
Our minds are so adept at keeping us distracted such that we move through our days on autopilot, completely unaware of all the magic and beauty surrounding us. Unaware of the living, breathing Earth beneath our feet, the life giving trees watching over us and the flowers singing to our souls. Unaware even of our deepest desires.
Beneath my feet Speedwell, lies dormant. I bend down, and in my imagination take a closer look at her little iridescent blue flowers—they look just like teeny satellite dishes complete with little white antennae that tune into my busy thoughts.
“Slow down.” She whispers. And my mind finally lets go of the minutiae of my day, making room for my heart to speak.
You have to be very still and quiet to hear the whispers of your heart. You have to be fully present.
The ego voice, by contrast, is loud and bossy, like a testy macaw echoing all the judgments, stories and labels our families, communities and culture so graciously bestow upon us, it’s seemingly rational authority muffling our creative hearts.
It takes a lot of conscious practice to be PRESENT!
One more breath and I can feel my heart expanding—vibrating and “singing” with joy and recognition. After many days fruitlessly considering (read mentally thinking) about what it is I want to bring into my life this new year, when I finally allow the quiet space for my heart to speak, she instantly pipes up clearly letting me know that my word for 2020 is PRESENCE.
I like to think of my word for the year as a seed of what I most desire to feel in my life, what I most wish to grow.
Of course, practicing PRESENCE is the foundation of my daily practice. I can’t “hear” the voices of the flowers, or my heart, if I am not present and I know this is the ongoing work of many lifetimes to “be here now...”
Speedwell interrupts my wandering thoughts and (politely) asks me to "expand my definition" of PRESENCE.
“What would it feel like to completely drop the safety of your security blanket?” she asks. “How would it feel to really share your heart with the world with your full presence? What would it be like not to hold back for whatever reason, or excuse, your ego concocts?”
My heart feels lighter than air. My whole body is floating, no dancing, and also very still. My heart is resonating a huge yes to actually BEING a loving and peaceful presence. You know physically present, visible.
My soul wants to be seen! I desire deeply to experience myself outside the sanctuary of my own little garden. I wish to create and hold healing space not only for my virtual community but also for my physical, in-person, community.
My heart wants me to open the garden gate and venture outside. It is time for me to bloom!
Eeeek! I stand up straight, startled by the depth of the yes I am feeling.
It’s not like I haven’t been taking baby steps in this general direction...I have...baby, not-so-risky, steps wrapped in my wooby and generally hiding in the woods or my garden behind my phone, or some other interface that keeps me safe. The full body realization that it’s really time to show up...feels out of control scary!
Speedwell pipes up again, reminding me to breathe and slow down my crazy what-if scenarios, reminding me to ground so that I can actually feel the difference between my rational, pragmatic, responsible (and frankly boring) ego and my wildly creative, loving and dreaming heart.
What would I create if I truly listened to my heart, rooted into the ground and leaned into my fear?
What would I create if I chose not to withhold my soul, my light, my spirit or whatever you want to call it, from being seen? What would you create?
I believe you would create your deepest desires. You would create an external manifestation of your true self, and the whole world would rejoice in your creation.
You know you have touched upon your deepest desires when you can feel it in your body—a joyous, buzzy mixture of excitement AND fear. It’s certainly NOT a comfortable feeling! It feels huge, expansive and you know you are going to have to grow to fit.
Speedwell helps me gain insight into my life by reminding me that the way we connect with the wisdom within is to put our hands in the dirt, our bare feet on the grass, literally grounding and rooting ourselves in order to awaken and understand the ancient wisdom of the Earth that resides in every cell of our being. This is PRESENCE.
I know I have so much to learn and experience, but I also have so much to share if I can just lean into, just trust the process, trust my body, trust my heart.
Growth may be uncomfortable, but the flowers, the fruit of our efforts, however fleeting, are always SO worth it. This I am sure of.
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On our metaphorical dance floor that is life, we are faced with many choices every moment about what steps to take next. Lady’s Slipper asks if our steps come from within, guided by our connection with our higher selves, or if are they choreographed by others?