Dig Deep to Grow Strong


Image: pinterest.com/sandyhibbard

It seems like I am always writing when I travel….lately more than any other time!  It is fun to sit on the plane, unload my Macbook, and take a look at what I had written from the previous trip.  Occasionally I am delightfully surprised to discover something pretty cool I have written, and other times, well, I just find ramblings, or unfinished thoughts put to words.  It’s no different on tonight’s flight to NYC.

I have been looking for my muse lately, but he has been very quiet and a bit melancholy.  He usually comes around when I am suffering from that pathetic longing to be with a lover, or when my heart has been broken or misunderstood – or their memories.  I have come to learn that love and the lack of it (unfulfilled desire), and all things soulish and sensual, will usually bring on the muse.  Harsh little bastard.  But when he does come, there is a flood of thoughtful, organized, and well sequenced emotions.  Followed by an intense desire to see things deeply, to understand more clearly – love more completely.  A strange and powerful thing begins to happen, clarity comes, a resolve to embrace all that is happening takes hold of me, and I am ready to take it on – fight the battle, kick the shit out of love, and bring on my power!  The lost and longing feelings seem to get put on the back burner and are replaced by a strangely welcomed feeling of total abandonment from the world – a warming hush wrapped in tears and pain (my god that sounds masochistic!) and pouring out of my soul.  Out of these museful moments will flow some damn good words, giving me direction, clarity, courage, and insight.  These are the things I like to discover when I open up my MAC on a plane.  It’s like finding a treasure in the tiny play-closet where I would bury myself in fantasy when I was a little girl.  But that sly muse, he has been playing games with me, keeping me tottering between disaster-desire-fulfillment-release.  It has been quiet lately.

In a rush today, he smiled at me.  Ever so briefly, but he smiled and I felt it.  There was no conjuring or cajoling, just a simple idea he popped into my head as I sat out by my pool for a quick respite to assess what else needed to get done before I could leave for the airport and get on this plane.  I looked across the pool and noticed “Lacey” (yes my plants are given names) standing straight and strong blowing in the breeze and being kissed by the sun.  The muse said “She’s learning to be a tree”.

Lacey is a fine little lady. She is some type of ming plant.  She has spindly limbs that I braided into a single trunk when she was a baby, and small delicate lace-like leaves.  She was originally a house plant, given to me by a dear friend before she moved off to London on a great marriage adventure about 13 years ago… and she (Lacey, that is) has been through hell.  As for my friend who gifted Lacey to me, she’s ok too, but had her own hell to endure.  She returned from London within the year heart broken after learning that her MR. had other MRS.’s scattered about the world!

Through the years Lacey has adventured with me through corporate life, self employment, love affairs, marriage, divorce, moving, rehearsals, dinners, and even survived my traveling.  As Lacey began to grow, she really began to take shape, taking on her own sexiness – long arms and legs, delicate features.  But shame on you if you didn’t do her just right!  She would pout, drop leaves and even wilt like she was depressed (sound familiar ladies?).  But a little love and a whole lot of water always made her beautiful again.  When I moved her to her first new BIG pot, she flourished, took over the entire corner of the house where she stayed.  Next pot, even bigger, she grew so fast and so tall that her top limbs had to bend over at the ceiling.  It was like she was trying to sneak a peek at who was on the couch in the atrium and spy on what they were doing…

As a women I can testify that the first taste is always the best.  It also seems like it is what  “gets” you!  Remember the first kiss?  The first time you really made love?  The first sip of a fabulous glass of French wine, the first bite of chocolate, the first time he touched you?  The first time you “got by with it”?  Lacey had her first time 2 years ago and she has never been the same.

Being a house plant that had been sheltered from the harsh extremes, Lacey had virginal skin.  I never thought I would need to move her outside…until she outgrew my house.  I would give her hair cuts frequently, trim the tops back, prune her limbs, but yet she would grow fuller and taller.  Finally two summers ago, after a painful winter of whining, Lacey made it clear that she was not happy in the house anymore.  So with careful thought I decided to let her try it, I will move her outdoors. There was a perfect place for her under the eave in the back by the pool, north exposure and next to the back door and windows.  I thought this would be a great spot for her since you could see her through the atrium window, and she was so pleasant to look at.  I struggled to get her outdoors by myself, but I did.  After loosing a few minor limbs and lots of leaves (she was really about to freak out), Lacey had a new home.  I sat her in her big pot on top of the soil in my flower bed, knowing that the moisture from the soil would keep her roots happy and entice them to find their way from the hole in the bottom of the pot to the dark, rich Texas soil of the flower bed.  And they did.  That summer two years ago I think Lacey was going through puberty.  She grew with lightening speed – her trunk large and stout, her leaves greener and bigger – she was turning into a tree!  She was the prettiest I had ever seen her…

Without event or problem, Lacey took root and made her new home in the soil by my back door. But I was afraid.  Afraid that when winter came she would not be able to handle it, afraid she would die.  After all, she was just a house plant that grew.

The first cold snap came that year and it was time to bring Lacey in for the winter.  I found a place for her in the atrium, an area of the house with tall ceilings so she could stretch out.  The process of moving Lacey and her pot from the patio soil back into the house was painful.  The only way to get her up and off the soil was to separate her roots that had grown into the soil from the pot.  Good Lord, talk about pouting!  I am not sure she ever forgave me for that ordeal, but she made it and back into the house she went!

Lacey had tasted fresh air, sunshine, moonlight, starlight, birds, flowers, bees, butterflies, and water like she had never known before, she would not be the same. That winter after I moved her indoors, she became sick. Anorexic.  She would not drink her water, she would pee it out as quickly as I poured it in.  She grew skinny and weak – but she grew and she grew tall as if to say “see? I can grow taller than this house, you can try to keep me in but I will always grow taller than these ceilings”.

Lacey had made her point.  We struggled that winter indoors but I knew the time had come that I had to let her go.  I had to lose my fears and let her be her own tree. As soon as Spring came and the fear of freezing was gone, I quickly moved Lacey back outside, but this time in a different place for she had grown too tall to be under the eave of the house.  Sickly and skinny, I was concerned that she would not make it, but my worries soon were over at the first sight of new growth on her limbs and new shoots in areas that she had never had before.  Lacey was turning into a young lady.  She had experienced that first taste of nature and knew it was her home.  She was where she belonged.  But the question that was still tormenting me was how can this tender house plant make it outdoors permanently?  She may look like a tree, but in my mind she was still a delicate ming houseplant!

Funny how we grow and change, change and grow.  Our little babies turn from cherub-like creatures to humans who look and act like us.  Lacey was starting to look like she belonged out there.  No longer the tender green-leafed house plant, she was looking like a  tree.   Similar to when we see our baby – son or daughter – began to spread their wings and make their own decisions, grow independent, develop grownup emotions, become sensual, and struggle with the same longings as we do.  Change is inevitable.  You have to let go.  They have to be able to test their own being and become what they are meant to become.  Each individual is in control of their own destiny.   As a mother, lover, friend, daughter, sister, and family member, I can influence, worry, throw a fit and cry, teach, be an example, love, shelter, feed, train and protect all day long – but I cannot control what someone else will choose to become.  Lacey chose to become a tree.

The flight to NYC is quite bumpy tonight, I hit my head on the way back to the toilets because I was tossed into another man’s seat!  The muse has been at work during this flight  and I am again filled with such a sense of “okay-ness” despite the rough ride.  I think Lacey is too.

After two summers in the sun and Lacey’s continued exposure to all the delights that nature offers – this was her first taste of real freedom – I don’t think I can ever take her back inside the house.  I had planned a trip abroad for six weeks, so I had to make a decision before I left the country… I knew that my plants and pool would be taken care of while I was gone but I wasn’t so sure that Lacey would get all the water that she needed/wanted.  I rolled her from her place on the patio and made the life or death decision to let her go.  To go to the wild.  To be a tree.  I dug the hole deep and lovingly planted her by the fence where, after much observation and thought, I had decided was where she would get the best water, and the best mixture of shade and sun.  I stood back  and saw that it was ok, it was good for Lacey. Now faith would have to work.

It’s funny how we worry about things that we have no control over.  Why?  It must totally be a natural thing because everyone does.  But think about it….why?  Why do we concern our minds and our energies with things that we have absolutely no influence over?  I think it’s love.  Because we love, we care.  Because we care and are emotionally attached, we want  the object of our love to be well, prosperous and happy.   But many things that are connected with love and our feelings cannot be controlled, we have to let them have their own natural outcome.  I am trying to learn this in my own life now, how to let go and let things just “be”.  How to love unconditionally and let the outcome flow naturally, unconditionally, without my interference.

It is an unconditional love I have for Lacey.  I am not playing a game with her to see how she does or how she will respond to me.  There is nothing I will get from Lacey but the satisfaction of seeing her grow and the memories I will have when I look at her.  There is nothing I require of her, nothing I am scheming for….just her well-being.  So I serve her.  I feed her, water her, nurture her and do my best to provide the best environment for her growth according to my knowledge.  But what she eventually will become is out of my realm of control.

As I head back to DFW today, I am not sure what to expect.  I will simply have to believe in nature and wait.  It has dipped into the low 20’s in Dallas since I have been gone.  It has rained, the sun has shined, and it even snowed a bit…..on Lacey…will she be ok?  Then I remember what my muse whispered to me before I left last week – “she is learning to be a tree” – so I will trust that.  And in a strange way I think my muse is suggesting that just like Lacey is bravely learning to dig deep and grow strong, so am I.

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