First - a mini progress report. I had an infection and was down for the count for a few days. My fight with the paper tiger is not progressing well and my weight has been yo yo-ing, in essence I'm still at five pounds. Exercise had ground to a halt and depression and anxiety took over my life, I lost interest in everything, but pursued a new project like a maniac, to the exclusion of all else. The obsessive-compulsive monster had a field day with me.
It's been a roller coaster and I didn't like the feeling in my gut or the thoughts in my head for that matter.
While I'm doing the lemon and the water and making a lot of healthy food choices, I was not keeping up with the exercising and those evening snacks are still calling my name.
In other words, I've been stuck and there has been no progress.
I also embarked on various spring gardening projects, which lifted my spirits.
The good news is that in the past couple of days I've felt well enough to get back on track and that is where I am at the moment, back on track.
Not at all the progress I hoped to report - sigh.
Step Eight .............................
Really, I could copy Jerri S. step eight article here, because every sentence could have been written by me, with just a minor tweak here and there.
So instead, I will tell you another story of my life and how my own garden came to be.
You see, I never tended my own garden until I turned forty. First, my mom decided what should grow where in my garden until I walked out the garden gate to get married.
I tended my husband's garden, but I never understood that in order to thrive I needed a garden of my own, not just a patch in the back forty of my husbands garden to call my own. He let the weeds grow until they were too high and too strong for me to yank out. I didn't know how to find him among the jungle anymore. The paths were overgrown. When I walked out of that garden gate, I felt like paradise was lost to me forever.
Twenty years ago, my first garden "literally" came about when I started a new life for myself back in Germany. I still had no idea how to tend a garden, but I was suddenly possessed with the possibility of being able to make my own choices. Not having to consider anyone else for the first time in my life was exhilerating.
This garden was watered every day with my own salty tears. I spoke to the earth like a long lost friend. Indeed, I felt a connection with all things living which I hadn't experienced since I was a child. I caressed the leaves and the flowers with my hands, the dirt under my fingernails brought a satisfaction to my soul which is hard to express.
The universe vibrated within me during those days of new hopes, new dreams and first seeds. Somehow, breathing in the smell of fresh earth, feeling the sunshine on my back, the tears running down my face and looking up into the sky far above gave me a new perspective on life.
I understood the insignificance of my troubles in the big scheme of things. I felt comforted.
Winter came and that spring, I was the biggest fool over the first sprouts of green in the snow. It was a re-birth - life goes on. I was deliriously happy over the first bulbs penetrating the still cold, hard earth. I celebrated the day my first tulip bloomed.
My garden had given me something no human ever had. It responded to my attentions, my love and my labour. I fed it, I watered it and I kept it safe from bugs and vermin and it bloomed - in every color of the rainbow. It was the most wonderful garden, life was good.
That summer I often sat in the middle of my garden, late at night, surrounded by heavenly scents, the moon and the stars above. I felt light and free, like I never had before.
But once again, I forgot the lesson I hadn't wanted to accept and let myself be drawn in to tend someone else's garden. I will not speak of this, it was the darkest time of my life. I emerged from those clinging tendrils and weeds barely alive, barely able to walk out that garden gate on my own two feet.
Life became even darker once I moved to Florida. I cowered in the corner on the floor and had no desire to step out into the sunshine of my garden.
My garden had shrunk to a balcony, but one day I found the strength to place a chair and a plant outside. There I sat soaking up the rays of the sun until the dying embers within me caught fire again. I felt grateful for everything in my life, the good and the bad. Slowly, the Florida sun healed me.
My life changed completely, in fact thinking back now I see my experience in Germany as a trial run of learning how to tend my own garden. I had denied myself many of the pleasures and the indulgence in pursuing my own dreams and honoring and honing my creative talents.
For the first time I ignored those voices in my head who told me I needed to take and stay in a job that would bring in the most money. An office job, preferably one held by men, (I was among some of the first female commercial insurance underwriters trained by Aetna Ins. Co.) because jobs held primarily by men have more prestige and pay better. In retrospect - I had lived my mothers dream, but I felt so drained and exhausted from living up to what was expected of me. Successful, yes - fulfilling, no.
I went back to college at the age of fifty to get my degree in Fine Arts and worked as a freelance interior designer for several years. It was such a relief to leave behind my career as a global insurance underwriter. I lived and breathed color and design and art and gardening.
The new colors in my life came with a new man (like Jerri S. said:) It's not the life I would have ever imagined, yet it is so right for me. I am proud of myself that I drastically changed the direction of my life. My perspective had changed, everything became a new experience, seen from a different angle.
The thing is, there are always weeds that need to be tended to, but this time I have the tools and the know how and I am systematically overhauling my garden. With the help of those who love me, I take care of my garden one day and one patch at a time.
I wish I had woke up sooner, I knew that I wasn't living the life that was right for me. I'm still seeing too many sprouts of fear - fear to live my best life.
Nevertheless, it's satisfying and empowering to know I'm improving the soil (learning and reaching out), trying out new seeds (projects) and keeping the weeds (negative thoughts and people) in check.
Shedding Light has proved to be a valuable tool to shed light into the dark corners of my life's garden. Strange to think, even at the age of sixty you can stand at a cross road in your life. Improving my health is my main goal that I hope to achieve, because it will give me the strength and motivation to take on new plans, challenges and maybe even fulfill a dream or two.
Hang in there shedding light groupies, sistah sheds, you can reach any goal and any destination by putting one foot in front of the other.:) Let's do it together!
Mariana - you can't say I hurried through this - I shoulda just copied Jerri S:)