Monday, September 20, 2010

Seven Year Cycle

"The number Seven was esteemed holy, as is well known, by reason of the six days of creation, and of the seventh, which is the celestial man, in whom is peace, rest, and the sabbath..." - Swedenborg A.R. 657 The last post was about my dying smoke tree. Well, I looked out the window today and every single branch is dying. I resigned myself to letting it go through the winter and then cutting it back in the early spring and feeding it very well to encourage new growth and another year of life. And then it seemed to me that maybe I am being selfish. Maybe I should just let nature take its course and allow the poor thing to die peacefully with no life support of any kind. It blessed me this summer with the most beautiful blooms I have ever seen it its lifetime. And the blooms lasted throughout the rest of the summer and into the fall. It was breathtaking. And it should have reminded me that I certainly know that when a plant blooms this heavy and for so long, it is saying its farewell. Such a sweet thank you I received and didn't pay enough attention to. I planted that tree around 7 years ago. The Seven Cycle Year is the time to rest, to deepen your philosophy, to reflect and build inner reserves. It is the start of the fruition cycle. In the plant stage the plant rests from growth as it puts its accumulated reserves of energy into the blossoms which causes the flowers to unfold. The seven-year cycles are an evolutionary spiral. They belong to every being that has ever been created. There is no one who does not go through them. There is a natural release of energy every seven years which encourages you to move forward and make changes. Every seven years there is, within the system, a total change. If I look back, 7 years ago I had left my position at Garfield Park Conservatory. My swan song had been the county fair of September 2002. It was a glorious finish to my career there, an event coordinated with the City of Chicago's World Music Fest. Over 4 thousand people attended the one day event. It bloomed for a day and then I was gone.
And in the past seven years, I have changed careers, opened a business, lost two parents and other loved ones, lost some friends, and weathered an economic nightmare!
But I have also gained some wonderful new friends, been blessed with a business that allows me to create and expand in so many other ways. I don't know if the last seven years have been restful but they sure have been thought inducing, full of reflection and I have had to build major emotional and energy reserves to keep it all together! All to become the flowering/fruiting process. And that is what my tree did. It spent 6 glorious years building to that last gorgeous bloom and is stepping aside for the next tree, plant, project, etc. As for me, the last seven years have been of change, transition, building reserves, so that the next seven will be fruitful. I do feel that itch. It is an irritation that has no name yet. Just a funny little feeling that started this year, the sixth year. I've felt it before. It is that final push before the next big thing pops up. It used to bother me, that funny little feeling, and it still does. But I get it. I understand. Or at least I know it is temporary. And I look forward to what unfolds next. Because many seeds have been planted in the last seven years. And being a gardener, I know that not all the seeds will germinate. I will have to sit quietly and wait to see what pops up out of the ground. Who knows, maybe it will be a new smoke tree sapling next spring. Oh, I will tend to my dear plant as it fades. If I am diligent, I may be able to steal another year out of it, but I don't think it will bloom as it did this year. And if it quietly goes permanently dormant this winter, I will mourn the loss but celebrate a new season of growth, of change, of awe for the ever changing life around me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Season of Change

Today I found out my beloved smoke tree has verticillium wilt and it is dying. It started this decline two years ago and I was able to give it a dose of "help" that got it through another couple of years. This summer it bloomed so profusely and it was breathtaking. Unfortunately, I know from years as a horticulturist, that this type of bloom is a plant's last ditch effort to "seed" before it dies. And I believe this is what is happening.
Why am I bothering to tell you this? Well, several things. Attachment is one. I coveted this tree. It is a rare variety that I searched for and finally found at Rich's Fox Willow Pines. Instead of the normal burgundy bloom from the common variety, these blooms started pink and turned rose and then a dark rose and they are so large and last from June through August. I loved that tree and cared for it as I would a child and reveled at the spectacular show every year. And it grew twice the size it's supposed to grow which made me even more proud. I became very attached to that tree.
As many religions will tell you, attachment is not good. And now it is dying. Oh, I will try my best to do whatever I can to save it another year knowing it made its final show for me and now needs to go. And I will cry. And then I will release the pain, rework the yard and find another plant to take its place. Unfortunately, I cannot plant another one like this in the same place as the disease is in the soil would kill the next one as well. So I must say goodbye to my dear friend.
A few weeks back, I said goodbye to another very good friend (human.....) and it hurts badly to do this. But the time had come and change is due. Out with the old.....
It makes me look back to a jade plant I propagated back in school about 22 years ago. One tiny little jade leaf was planted in my basic horticulture class when I was just learning the basics of horticulture. This was when I had made another huge transition in my life and was changing careers and went back to school. I cared for this plant and it grew into a huge jade tree from that one leaf. It would have gone for over $300 in a retail plant shop. I was proud of the work I had done for those 15 or so years.
Five years ago the pot broke and the plant fell out and broke in a million pieces. My huge jade tree was now scattered all over the floor. I was crushed! I took care of that plant for 15 years, grew it into the huge beautiful specimen that it once was!
I then realized that it had served its purpose in my life. I was changing careers again and was saying goodbye to my horticulture career. So I replanted the few pieces into a new pot and started fresh. My life was once again transitioning and with that, death of some sort is inevitable. You cannot start new without the old dying. I let go of that plant, that life period, and faced a whole new season of my life.
So, as much as it pains me to lose my beloved tree, I believe once again it is the season of change. Losing things dear to you makes way for newness, new people, new events, and yes, new trees. Once again, I must let go of the old to make way for the new. And it isn't easy. If it was, we would never change.
Hopefully we learn from those things we must now let go of. My new "old" jade plant is growing nicely. It came back. It is different, but I still have it. And if the people I have had to let go come back, they too will be different. We will be different. And that will be good. And they will be welcomed. As will my beautiful smoke tree, someday....

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Tonight I gave away more supplies from my last incarnation. Boxes and boxes of dried herbs, candle making supplies, pots, dried flowers, left out the back door and entered into a car that would drive them to a not-for-profit organization who would recycle them into the same crafts I originally bought them for.
It's funny how life cycles, down to flower picks and adaptable tools from 20 years of horticulture programming. It made me feel good to know that these items wouldn't go to a landfill, that some child or person with a disability would benefit. And so my work continues, work that I left behind two years ago now.
Work that I will probably go back to some day. Don't' we all do that? In some form, in some recycled way. Life keeps turning itself over and over. Nothing is new. It may look and feel new, but if you look closely, it is just a shiny new coat of paint over an old and comfortably worn job, or idea, or hobby. That's why it is so comfortable and feels like home.
And when we learn something new, it is woven into our old, comfy ways of doing things. It all becomes part and parcel to our wonderful selves. Yes, aging can have it's aggravations, like stiff joints and a few extra whiskers where there once were none. But it also gives you more patience, more wisdom, more skills.
So now, as I wake each morning with unease, I know I've been there before. Oh, yeah, transition. Done that before. Yeah, it's tough. It doesn't feel good, this out with the old to make way for the new. But I know it will pass. It always does. So now I look at it with wonder and excitement (after I've dealt with the early morning panic!) and know there is some exciting new stuff that is out there brewing. And it's brewing with some of the old stuff, which seasons the pot and makes for a better outcome.
I'm just one big recycled life. But no one picked up my old life in their car tonight. Just some old stuff pushed out of an old life.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Clearing Out to Make Way for New

Oh how cliche! How many times have we heard this saying. Clean out the old to make way for the new. But what the heck does that mean? At one point in my life it used to be clearing out the old clothes/shoes/purses/underwear to make way for a new batch that was probably already in the house with nowhere to be stashed.
Or at another time, it was clear out the old boyfriend as the new one was waiting in the wings. Or on a sadder note, clearing out your desk as in you've been fired!
But now, as I move along further towards my "golden years", clearing out takes on a whole new meaning. Literally, I DO need to clean and clear out. A lifetime of hoarding - for what I ask - has led to a pile of junk. Add to that the piles of junk of two sons and a husband and you have what it takes to be a guest on the TV show, Hoarders. I, for one, cannot take it anymore. And I seem to be the only one in my house who agrees!
I can't think anymore. The clutter of a lifetime and the increasing "clutter" in my brain, has made it imperative to start dumping. There isn't one inch of room left to ponder, to wonder, to create, let alone think about the next phase of my life.
They are wrong when they say, once the kids are grown, you will have all this time and space to enjoy life. For me, it has become more complicated. There is a grown son on the verge of something quite large and it excites me to have a hand in that, to help, to guide. A husband, who is also needing to sow some new oats, and a teenager who wants to be everything that has ever crossed the dinner table as an idea! I find it all very exciting but it is taking up a big part of space in my ever decreasing brain space.
So, since I am only one person and no longer "superwoman" (was I ever?), I started with the garage yesterday. After all, it was Labor Day. So I labored. Such a need came over me to clear out my last incarnation with was sitting under the current incarnation. Oh, I gave up horticulture programming for good two years ago but couldn't' quite get the nerve to rid myself of all the supplies stored in every nook and cranny for the last 20 years.
"I just might go back to that, you never know......" I am finding out, too, that there are people and relationships attached to those items as well. So I'm clearing out tangible as well as intangible items. Great, more "stuff".
So now, they lay neatly in boxes and piles, waiting for the lucky person who is in need of those supplies for their own programs for adults or children. Who knows, they might be ridding themselves of their own last incarnation to make more room for my supplies!
And as each shelf emptied, a small space was created in my being. In the past, I might have run to fill that space. But no longer is that necessary. I will patiently keep clearing out till there is nothing left but empty space. In the garage, in the basement, in my head. What a glorious moment that will be. And the feeling of floating on air, weightless. What a great place to begin again from. I would like it to happen prior to my Omega Institute trip end of month. Wow, only a couple weeks away.... gotta run...... more to clear.....

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Funny Times Ahead!

So four of us have decided to create a performance group, kind of a spoken word type of group. And word has it we will take it to the streets, so to speak, and do live performances. I really don't have an issue with this as I have performed most of my life, some in ways I would like NOT to remember!
What is interesting is there are four views on each topic. We all put ideas in a hat and have chosen (from that hat), which topics we will address. One word - four voices. And in a way, we have begun learning about one another. It seems that my life is a tragic one, full of bad mothers and abusive fathers. While I can laugh at all the "tragedies" now, it wasn't always that way. I survived, have lived to tell the next tale, and have made lemonade out of the lemons that were tossed into my cook pot.
It has also made me think about how those stories created themselves and more so, about those that affected them. Yes, we can all say we had terrible upbringings, full of dysfunction and drama. But if you look deeply at the people whom you'd like to blame for that dysfunction, you will also see the sadness and tragedy that formed their lives and souls.
Of course, there are some people who are just evil and brought to this earth to mess up those closest and dearest to them. I lived with one. But can I be so cliche to say that she helped make me the person I am now, more soulful, more compassionate of those closest to me? I think I can. So I can say a thank you now. The difficulties have passed. I can laugh at them. I can also cry at them still. And they continue to shape my ever changing being.

Divine Fate? Angels in my Midst?

So a short time ago, I wanted to attend Omega Institutes Women's Conference at the end of September. And when I went to sign up, it was full and reservations were closed. And there was a contest to win tickets to the conference.
I entered the conference, posted my entry.....and didn't win. I figured if I was meant to go, I would win the contest. So the contest deadline came and went and no word. So I wasn't meant to go. Ok, I get that. I am okay with that. I guess. There is always next year.
A few weeks back I just decided to look at the website again and just tease and torture myself (because that is just what I like to do.....), check out who was speaking and so on. I also decided to see if I could register (torturing myself further) because we all need to get shot down twice, right?
To my extreme surprise, the site let me register. I couldn't believe it! I didn't believe it! Why would I? These things don't happen to me!
Or do they?
So I decided it was a mistake, a glitch in their site software. And I didn't buy an airline ticket. I said if they confirm my registration, only then will I buy a ticket. A few days passed, nothing. Then on the fourth day of waiting, it was confirmed! And I bought my airfare.
So I am going! I guess I WAS meant to go to this! Wow, can't wait. A powerful weekend awaits me. What else can I expect that I wouldn't normally expect? Are there angels in my midst? There have been before. I will call them in again. (I really DID pray to every power I know for help!) And wait in wonder for the magic to happen.