Here we go again…
Funny how a year passes and it’s “deja vu all over again”, only in a slightly different way. Here I am, 11 months after my last blog post (what can I say, I’ve been busy!), and the theme of “letting go” is emerging once again in my life, and I think also in the lives of some friends too, some who have been or are about to, be moving across the country or from one country to another.
As I keep peeling back the layers of the amazing onion that is my life, (weird-smelling metaphor, I know), looking for that heart of me and the work that truly jazzes me, I find once again I am having to let go in order to make space for that which I want to emerge.
For the past year I have immersed myself in a course of study called Strategic Intervention, a life coaching modality (or assortment of techniques and theories), from Robbins-Madanes Training. It was created by coach-motivator extraordinaire, Anthony Robbins, in conjunction with psychotherapist Cloe Madanes, with coaches Mark & Magali Peysha. It has been a fascinating exploration. There is so much to glean from their work, so many revelations about the way people respond to their world and the people in it, myself included. Doing the program, as in most coaching schools, means doing a lot of study of, and work on, oneself as well.
On a very practical level, not associated with the study, is that I have recently come to some certainty that … gasp… “I can’t do it all”! As anyone who has followed me in my previous blog (which still languishes in obscurity over at my old, soon-to-be-dismantled photo site, marydixon.com), or in our newsletters from Co-Creative Healing Arts, Edward and I have created extensive gardens over the past 7 or so years on our little piece of country paradise, the land being our painter’s canvas and the plants our palette.
We love the creative exercise of making beautiful spaces and growing some of our own food. Along with herb beds, perennial borders and vegetable gardens, I went so far as to create my mini (or “petite”) Provence, inspired as I was from a long-ago trip to France and the views of great fields of lavender. While our wetter Nova Scotian climate does not quite support some of the larger lavender hybrids seen in huge plantations over there, it does allow for some of the hardier, traditional varieties to flourish, with some care and attention. Between 2006 and 2009 I planted over 500 tiny plants, including about 8 different varietals, acquired from various nurseries here and in Ontario and Manitoba.
Most were planted to offer a view from the house of a small field, about 20 rows 60 feet long, each with 25 plants or so. At one point I also created a “medicine wheel” concept garden, which still survives, ringed with lavender, as well as two gardens attempting to employ “sacred geometry”. One featured a raised bed in the centre shaped like a large 5-pointed star, with various perennials in the centre and lavender at the points, surrounded by a 30-foot diameter raised-bed in the shape of an octagon, all filled with lavender.
The other beds consisted of two inter-facing spiral shapes, not mathematically correct but loosely drawn along the proprotions of the Golden Mean. Alas, the area in which these two elaborate beds were created suffered from poor drainage, and for a couple of years I was replacing rotting lavenders until I threw in the towel and removed my geometric creations.
The biggest enemies of lavender are “wet feet” as they often say in the “how to grow” guides, as well as weeds, which contributes to the wetness by trapping moisture around the crown and roots, as well as chokes the plants and steals nutrients. In 2009 I replaced over 200 small plants due to a very wet winter with lots of freezing and thawing. And while the past couple of years have enjoyed good growth, this year’s rainy spring and early summer, and then a heatwave, created incredible conditions for weeds…weeds like I have never seen before!
Spikey, thistle-y weeds that stick you with needles, flat weeds that travel and form an almost impermeable mat and look like some kind of alien life form, and everything else imaginable, have been growing….well….like weeds this year, finally sapping me of my will to continue the battle to keep the lavender weed-free. This was reinforced by last year’s decision, after trying a couple summers at farmers’ markets, that, “no, this is not going to be a business, this is a hobby that creates beauty at my home.”
Well, this year the thought finally became, “What’s the point of creating this beauty if I never have a minute to sit and relax and just soak it all in, enjoying my ‘Petite Provence’ with a glass of wine in hand? How can I enjoy it while fearing it would soon turn into a huge, ugly, tangled mess??”
It also became a huge distraction from my coaching studies and practice. For the past couple of years it seemed that everything I was working towards in that career, including my existing work as a Soul Coach and Interior Alignment® (feng shui) practitioner, got shoved to the side while “gardening season” took over my life. Remember, it’s not just the lavender crop, but all the other beds too, needing attention.
So…the choice is clear. Last week I gave notice on Facebook announcing my decision to sell off the lavender plants piecemeal. Like the market vending the year before and the photography gallery the year before that, I am once again in a space of letting go. And each time a little bit of my identity goes too, which is probably the hardest part.
Actually for me, this letting go is more about feeling that my labour and financial investment was a waste, but mostly the labour. As I have already been thinking of myself as a coach for a few years now, the identity of Lavender Farmer is much easier to shrug off than my former cloak of Photographer. More people knew me in the latter context for much longer.
And as with pretty much every change I go through like this, I have to draw on my own coaching skills, (and sometimes those of others with more objectivity), to remind myself that we are all so much more than what we do, or what we have. I know a few people have called me “The Lavender Lady”…. not my favourite moniker, conjuring for me as it does some kind of romantic English waif in a flowing dress, which I feel anything but! But it’s harmless. I am, for sure, a font of good, practical information about growing the stuff after this experiment.
But I am so much more than any label, and yet that is how we generally make ourselves known to others isn’t it? I am not much of a student of philosophy but I do remember Kierkegaard’s quote from university, “Once you label me you negate me.” Labels are inherently limiting.
Our careers force us to wear labels to identify our skill set or products to our potential clients and customers. But it is always a danger to wear those like armour, because someday it will rust, or an arm will fall off or a joint will be pierced and we will change course or get fired or retire and then…who are we? Some never find who they are without that career identity, and struggle with diminished sense of self while trying to get mileage out of who they used to be or what they used to do.
I am glad “Lavender Lady” has not, in spite of several years, infused my blood with its essential oil! It’s beautiful stuff, lavender. It smells great, tastes good too, but it is not who I am in my ever-evolving and unlimited Being. Letting go once more allows “letting in”!
Have you ever had trouble relinquishing a label? How did you do it? Had trouble changing careers or lifestyle or habits because you identify so strongly with being that thing you have been? Have you experienced challenges starting something new because you have been hanging onto something that no longer serves you because your identity is so intertwined with it?
We can chat about these ideas over on our Co-creative Healing Arts Facebook Page. LIKE us on facebook to continue the discussion. And for more information on what my husband and I offer at Co-Creative Healing Arts, please check out our web site, co-creativehealing.ca