Tuesday, July 03, 2018


I am a relentlessly driven person.
This is not a positive thing or a negative thing.
It just is my thing.
I have always been this way since I became me.
When I am interested in something-
and I am always interested in lots of somethings-
I will use all my energy to get after it. 

In the past three months, 
I've taken a class with one of my heroes,
started working with a phenomenal transition coach,
turned my side-dream into a real thing,
been a vacation bible school teacher,
participated in three monthly or bi-monthly small groups,
run 3 miles consecutively for the first time since I was 22,
designed a logo, a website, t-shirts, and four new gardens,
led groups to plant two of these four gardens in very public spaces,
listened to approximately 70 podcast episodes,
re-stained my deck,
maintained 6 separate landscapes,
planted 10 large container gardens,
hosted two kid's birthday parties, 
written 10 public blog posts,
read 6 super-chewy intellectual books 
and 4 fictional, non-intellectual books.

I'm a wife (job #1) and a mom of two (job #2 and #3).
Also...I have a day job (job #4).
One that is actually pretty demanding by itself.

Most people go cross-eyed by the time I list a couple of my projects.
I am aware that people don't operate like I's a lot.
My energy level is not normal.
I only wrote down some of the stuff I do so you'll understand 
my pace and drive.
No one makes me do this stuff-
I am self-motivated, self-driven and in love with my life.
Each of these items fuels me, fills me up and is my work 
(or is required education or support so that I can do my work).
As I said...I am relentless.
It is how God made me.

However,in spite of loving the pace that I set for myself
and understanding how I operate in the world,
I've been struggling with something for the past month.
My personal target is to write a blog post a week.
I also have a couple of books that I've framed out and will
write a few chapters of each by the end of the year so that
I can decide which to tackle in earnest.
And yet....writing is not happening in the normal way over here.
It has been a struggle to push through it.
Writing is my canary in the coal mine-
the thing that helps me find my center, 
the practice that enables a lot of the other growth.
I usually have about 8 different projects going with writing
and they pull me like nothing else.
Not writing tells me something is up.

Notes from a conference....

Right about now, you are probably saying....
DUH! Sweet girl-anyone with that playlist
would struggle to find time to focus on writing.
Or maybe you're saying something less kind.
Either way...the obvious culprit for not writing is some combination of 
over-scheduled, over-burdened or over-stimulated.

That was my initial thought too.
I am the absolute worst when it comes to 
accepting my own limitations and humanity.
I have definitely been a person in the past who took on too much
or set myself up for a big fat face plant by not culling the priorities.

Which is why I have a process now to check in with myself so that I 
(hopefully) avoid driving myself off that cliff.
I'm a recovering perfectionist...what else would I have?
I have four pillars of self-care that I want to achieve daily-
sleep 8 hours, pray, exercise, eat well.
They sound simple but for me, they are the hardest.
I actively track them because I just do not know 
for sure when I'm going off track until I'm waaaaay off track.

When I noticed that writing was not happening,
I did a system check-in.
I was slightly out of balance but not in a degree that would be worrisome.
Still-to be on the safe side, I took some action.
I cancelled some of my small group meetings,
focused on self-care, and snuggled more with my people.
It helped in a general way but still.....
no writing.
Instead, I have filled my time by re-watching
four seasons of Elementary 
(Joan's wardrobe alone is worth a re-watch).

What in the actual heck?

This was proving trickier than usual.
Writing is something that I adore and also something that I need
 to do in a fundamental way.
Like some people experience flossing their teeth or folding laundry (I'm told).
Writing is how I process and integrate my experiences-
it's how I find my own cognitive dissonance, see my own biases or 
just understand what on earth is happening under the surface.
Writing gives me context and permission to feel emotions that 
are scary, boring or even petty.
I often do not understand an event or a complex concept until I write about it.
It is important and essential and yet....
I have been steadfastly and consistently avoiding it.

Here's my assessment:
I've been breathing into something that terrifies me...
and I wasn't ready to process it yet.
Avoiding writing was helping me avoid the scary thing.

What is terrifying me?
Well, like a lot of seemingly crazy people, 
I have recently decided to do what God has told me to do.
No, I have not decided to sacrifice a child or 
take all my sheep to a new land already populated by indigenous people.
God has been telling me to start something for a few decades.
And I have been successfully ignoring that same nudge for a few decades.
It's not that I didn't hear it...
it's that it didn't make sense, that I am not qualified,
that I needed to be safe and feel capable,
that I needed to learn other skills and find some grace.
That is just some of the script I told myself.
Life would be easier in a lot of ways if I could just ignore this calling.

God says I can ignore it if I want to, 
that it's 100% my choice (because God adores me absolutely).
God also says...I made you for this work.
This is your work and only you can do it.
If you don't do it, then it won't get done.
Your dharma, your soul work, your path.
God has been saying this to me for a long long time.
In small, gentle ways that have been making me increasingly 
less comfortable as I grow up.
There is a pea in my mattress, a grain of sand in my shoe.
My comfort has become uncomfortable.
God is more relentless than this daughter.

Even though I really don't understand what God is asking me to do,
even though I can't see the whole path,
I finally gave in and took the next right step.
I started Bloomin.
This has been terrifying-but not in the ways that I imagine
 most business endeavors are scary.
Although I do intend to charge a fair price and make a profit, 
I don't plan to use Bloomin as my primary source of income....maybe ever.
The terrifying part is that Bloomin is not a traditional little business.

It would be very easy for Bloomin to become another landscape service
or a unique boutique service offering.
I could focus on several niches, market these services 
and build a successful brand.
Those pulls are real-they make sense in this world and
I feel them every time I sit down to work on this project.
However....God is very clear that this is not the point of Bloomin.
Financial success is a by-product maybe-kind of like the shade that trees give.
But not the purpose or the reason.
Not even close.

What is the deeper purpose?
Thanks for asking...God has been fairly clear about it.
Delivering the reason to me in a gift wrapped little piece of poetry
disguised as a mission statement.
Here it is:
Cultivating connection because growing and nurturing 
bends our story towards the light.

Got it?
Me either.

What the heck does that even mean?
I only know that if it doesn't achieve that purpose, 
then I will have failed in all the ways that matter.
It's my work-to drive that deeper vision and meaning....
to find a way to shape this platform to do that work.
With flowers and vegetables and....manure.
I feel very, very unqualified at the moment to 
take it where it will eventually go.
So I avoided writing so I could stay in the safety of the
'not knowing' or 'not looking' for just a little bit longer.

 The next right step...
that's all that I need to take.
And then write about it so I know that I took it.

1 comment:

Robin Merrrell said...

It's going to be great. The things God tells us to do always are. That's how I'm still a legal aid lawyer after 18 years. It's the hardest and best thing. And it's not too big or hard for Him.