Some people slip easily into new ways of being. I am not one of them. It takes me some time to find out where I fit. I am cautious. Those critical voices in my head crank up the volume when I am on the edge of a new thing. Sometimes those voices are so loud that I am frozen, immobilized by fear. Paralysis sets in when whatever I am about to do, to try, to undertake must answer to all of those interior nay-sayers.
Cautionary tales begin early. We are taught that the world is dangerous, that people cannot always be trusted. How crippling when a child is taught that she cannot trust even herself, but must think very carefully. She gets hamstrung by what might happen, what might be, what black and murky result could be her fault. Her fault even without her intent.
Religion can deepen the grooves, especially when the ground has already been softened by authoritative voices that correct, caution, warn. Seeds of self-doubt carefully planted by others grow into weeds that are poisonous, thorny -- and they choke out those that sprout freely, without complicated thought or deafening warnings. Original sin is a horrific concept, and to lay it on a child? Murderous to the spirit.
Still there are those urges towards wholeness, towards healthy growth, that take nurture from the most unlikely sources. It is my thought, today, that being able to take a lift in the heart from rainwater on grass, or light breaking through clouds, or the smell of baking bread, can be powerfully transforming. Those sparks of joy transform into seeds that can grow in spite of the poisonous weeds that others have planted while trespassing on our spirit.
I am seventy-two, but I am determined to continue to work to clear the weeds, encourage the good growth of my heart, my creativity. I don't even know what seeds have lain dormant. I am excited to see how my garden changes, how I will care for it, and what will make it thrive.