Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lessons from a Tea Rose

Each January I find myself making resolutions. Lots of people do. They vary, these resolutions. Eat less. Workout more. Lose weight. Drink less alcohol. Write more. Sometimes I'm more ambitious. Last year I resolved to make 2012 my Year of Creativity. (Talk about resolutions taking over your life!) But NINETEEN creative projects later, something inside me was different.

This year, I've made my resolution a bit simpler. My decision to do so was inspired by a book I started called "Simple Abundance" by Sarah Breathnach. See, each year I select a study book for daily inspiration and direction. I read and reflect on a selection from this book during my early morning "Quiet Time." I have read this book before. But for some reason this year it seems to resonate stronger with my spirit.

My reading today spoke of linking our search for contentment or happiness with personal authenticity. To be truthful "authenticity" hasn't always been a word I've paid much mind to. Not that I walk around being dishonest, but because digging deep inside and uncovering my true, real, honest, base self is uncomfortable at times. It's much easier to wear the facade and go with the flow as the woman everyone expects me to be. The authentic me isn't always pretty. It isn't something Others want to see ... or something I want to share with just anyone. It can be uncomfortable to be real. I might tread on some toes. Or, maybe people won't like me.

 But for 2013, I've decided to let Sarah take the lead and guide me through this exploration. Who am I -- really? What motivates me? Attracts me? Challenges me? Moves me? I guess it's time I knew.

I have a little plant. Nothing fancy. A tea rose that a friend gave to me. I've done my best to care for it. Last summer, it outgrew its original pot so I selected a lovely black and white ceramic pot and transferred it safely to a new home. At that time, I noticed some small bugs. So, I changed the soil, watered it and cared for it -- like you do for a plant. I've never had a green thumb, but I did what I thought needed to be done.

In August, I went on vacation. Before I left that week, I noticed some dust on the leaves. Spider webs. Weird. Thinking it was dry, I watered it. After all, it seemed to be flourishing otherwise ... there were three rose buds just waiting to bloom.

A week later, I came home to find the leaves falling from my rose. I was horrified. It had been watered and cared for in my absence. What could be wrong? I carried its woebegone remains across the street ,,, my neighbor works for Bordines so she would certainly know what to do. She informed me that my plant had "spider mites", and this prognosis, though common among tea roses, was usually terminal.

Wait ... water, sun, care, new soil, new pot ... all the effort in the world and my little plant was doomed? She gave me a treatment option to try and instructed me to cut the rose down to its bare bones ... trim it down inches from the soil. The beautiful blooms I had looked forward to were now in the garbage.

I followed her instructions. And this little rose and I started over. I focused on what was truly important now ... paying closer attention to indicators and healing measures. Becoming more intuitive to the plant and its actual needs.

See, I had looked only at the surface of this plant for so long. To what I expected. To what I knew. I cared for it based on typical needs of plants. But this rose wasn't typical. To thrive, it needed me to go deeper. And despite signs it had provided, I was still only looking "leaf deep."....And, as a result, I almost lost it.

This plant has become kind of a symbol for me. See, the authentic me has some "spider mites." At times I bloom and at times I struggle. At times I outgrow my surroundings and need something new to help me evolve. There are aspects of me I've ignored or been unattentive to. But when I do that, I don't grow. I can't bloom.

But not this year. This year, I've cut myself back and am going to embrace the quirky, unique, crazy, fun, joyful, creative, dark, and sometimes imperfect and ugly parts of myself. They are all aspects of me. The spider mites can bite, but they can teach too. I mean, when did you ever truly grow when everything was peachy keen. Our greatest opportunity to shine comes when we find ourselves in the darkness.

And my little rose has a new lease on life. Growing slowly and easily. No blooms yet. But it's strong and steady. It's grounded and strong. It's growing ... reaching to the sky to find what it needs. Comfortable in its surroundings but evolving ... Like Me. Maybe even like you.

Do you have any Spider Mites? Are you going only "leaf deep?" Perhaps you'd like to join me on this journey. If so, for the next few days, let your spirit guide you to discover what makes you smile. See what draws your eyes. See what color you feel best wearing or what beverage tastes best. Open the catalog and cut out pictures of clothes or places or things that draw you. Don't try to guide your choices. Let it happen naturally and don't judge or force it. You may find out something about yourself.

As for me and my little plant, we will continue our journey together. I won't judge it for lacking blooms. I will just accept it for what it is ... today.
                                                                                                                  -- Jenni