I’ve recently had this feeling, a calling maybe, toward gentleness and finding ways to be increasingly gentle. As silly as it sounds, it started with my cat and a plant. A couple of spins around the sun ago, my father closed up shop on our family business and in the process of cleaning out the office/warehouse, a pothos plant was left in some of the last things to be cleared out—they were going to throw it a way. I took it with me because I adore pothos; they make me happy with their vines and the varigation in the leaves. And this one deserved to live—it still had healthy leaves and stems even if the dirt was a little gross. I also think there was something in me wanting to remember something beautful from that office. So I saved it from the garbage and then saved it again as it started yellowing when we got it home. Then I went through a whole process of clipping and repotting and bringing it back to life. That was the first plant I’d been able to save like that as its roots came back and happily transferred to new soil. The other day my cat nibbled on one of the new leaves, bringing me into panic. I know it will survive with a little TLC. So I want to talk about gentleness and tenderness in survival.
Many of us don’t even recognize that we are in survival. It feels like such a part of who we are, the routine we hold, that we don’t recognize the dysfunction. Like a nibbled on leaf, we can survive with scars. The point is to do the healing first and then grow from there instead of finding ways to cope around the wound. I recently had an incident at work that brought out some additional trauma I didn’t realize I had. Side note, the brain is amazing at both rejecting and recalling incidents from the past. When this event happened, I found myself spiralling into a painful, lower level vibration, and getting angry for allowing myself to fall into that behavior again. Then I went through the blaming thing, which at the end of the day, helped me identify not the blame necessarily, but the trigger behind it: being left behind and devalued and only used for what was needed in the moment. I told myself a long time ago that I wouldn’t ever allow people to make me feel worthless again. I took some time to pause and remember my worth and to find a way to be gentle with myself. Here is what that looked like.
Having an honest conversation and putting all the cards on the table. Allowing thoughts to surface. Being present. Taking the time to learn what the issue really is. To receive another’s point of view. Allowing myself to be supported. Offering that support to others. Really hearing other people. Breaking beyond the limitations of society. Stepping into who I am, no one’s expectation of me. Being intentional. Breaking off of auto pilot and making a decision to not follow the leader. Becoming the leader in my life. Seeing the similarities in others and connecting with them. Lessening distance between us emotionally and cognitively. Calling a friend. Buying a friend something I knew they would love. Buying myself a little treat. Brainstorming the life I love and what I want to do with it. Spending time with my husband and then spending time with my son. Working on my projects. Trying to develop clarity around next steps. Going to therapy. Making nutritious, whole food for myself for the week. Doing yoga every day. Sharing my cards every day. Lots of writing.
So, the same tenderness I continue to bestow upon my now scarred but still beautiful pothos, I will give to myself and I too will heal. Healing doesn’t come in pushing, it comes in allowing and being open. That tiny leaf is opening and I will love on it as much as its full brothers. It’s my survivor. I wouldn’t let the environment bring it down, and I certainly won’t let the environment around me bring me down. We have so much light to offer, so much joy, there is no reason to allow anyone to dim it. Sometimes when you shine to bright, the world recoils because they can’t handle it. They are afraid their own demons will be seen, or even that their pain will show through. All we need to do is offer a little compassion to those darker sides and allow the truth of the matter to be seen. You can’t fix what isn’t visible and sometimes, as painful as it is, things happen to bring that light to it, not to hurt us, but to bring us closer to who we are inside. Closer to allowing ourselves to be seen in our entirety. We are amazing, resilient creatures who sometimes need a little more attention. I’ve read before we are big houseplants with complicated feelings. So, try applying some of those principles and let’s bring ourselves back to life.