I had just gotten off at the wrong stop for the second time that evening.
Tired and in the middle of a city I didn't know, I lugged my bag of paint and supplies up the hill, backtracking the route the bus had taken, having overshot my stop again. As I came to the crest, my attention was stolen by those golden rays of twilight that hit us as the sun is setting. Magic hour. At that moment, I had two choices: continue on, ignoring the beauty blooming to my right, or stop to appreciate the moment and find joy in the middle of confusion and frustration.
I chose the second path.
Before me was the Berkeley Rose Garden, a sunken crescent of winding paths and blooming roses, breaking free of that bud we all find so painful to stay ensconced in. As the sun set, people began walking in from all around, taking the paths hand in hand or exploring the woods nearby, beyond a metal gate. But looking up, oh, the view was a breathtaking vista of the bay and San Francisco, the mountains of Sausalito rising to the right of that iconic red bridge. They were cast in black as the last rays of sunlight shone around them, and nearby, a street musician played the most beautiful, simple music on some sort of modified gong.
"Wow," I breathed, putting down my bags near an older woman enjoying the view, "I guess there was a reason I got off the wrong bus again."
She smiled at me, then looked down at the huge bag I was carrying. "Where are you headed?"
"Oh, close," I replied, rattling off the cross streets.
She nodded and said, "My car is right over there, and I don't mind taking your stuff. Just let me enjoy the view for a few minutes."
And that is how I ended up hitch hiking in Berkeley with a professor who was honoring her 11th anniversary without her husband.
I am finding two things are true about the Universe:
- It may not put us where we want to be, but finds a way to get us where we need to go (just like the TARDIS in that respect);
- Life manifests under the surface, and often takes its time.
Some plants take longer than others to bloom, and we need to remember that when looking at our lives and wondering why some things have already happened, and others haven't manifested. It isn't that they won't, but that they simply need more time to germinate. I learned that in that garden, tired and lost but so full of joy. I had wished for months and years for this moment, and I was damn well going to enjoy it while it happened.
We can grow so impatient with life! Try to order it around, send out wishes and prayers hoping for what we want to happen, and now. If it doesn't, we feel the world is working against us, that maybe nothing will ever go right, that we're always going to be stuck in the tunnel chasing that dot of light that began to glow when we came out of hibernation.
We don't see what's happening under the surface, or behind the scenes. But here's something else I've learned -- only the seeds you water begin to grow.
A lot has happened in the month since I found myself in that garden. Life's thrown a curve ball that keeps me up nights, worried, or striving to care for another. The brilliant thing about it all is that my mother sees this as a lesson, sees that it is the step to something greater, something bigger. A wake up call, she says. I wasn't living before.
It's time to plant some seeds in my life. I may be adventurous and brave and living a life full of things I love, but I need to plant a garden of intent.
Seeds can't grow without water. Without forward momentum as water and joy as sunlight. We need to make space for these things to happen, clean out the cobwebs that have collected while we indulged the Shadow Self, de clutter self-defeating behaviors.
We need to nurture the ground the seeds are planted in by showing self-love to ourselves. Flowers can't grow in an acidic environment; it will kill the seed before it even has a chance to drink that first drop of rain. The same is true of ourselves; if we are disbelieving, if we aren't open, aren't daring or adventurous, nothing has the room to grow. We can hope with our whole hearts, but kill those seeds with self-dislike.
It's a hard cycle to escape. We've been under a spell, angry with ourselves for not doing all we should, for not achieving or being able. Waking up not only exposes us to the good possibilities out there, but to the negativity that may have grown up around us.
Blogging every day has helped me develop forward momentum. Has quelled the fears and pushed me past anything I was worried about. Earlier this month, I emailed friends about what to do about new work coming out of me, full of fear. Now, I just create because I know I have to do something each day, and that leaves little time for self-doubt.
It's been a gift and a privilege to speak with you every day this month, and I hope you stick around. While I don't think I'll be posting each day, I'll be around three days a week. I can promise you that. But I like writing here, pontificating, clarifying, creating. I hope you enjoy reading/viewing it, too.