There is a saying I once heard, we overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year. After losing Mike last year, I’d never have believed I’d be here, at this point, eighteen months later – on the brink of publishing a garden journal.
For months after his passing I gave myself lots of space to determine what would be this next season of my life. My mantra became if today were the last day of my life, how would I want to spend it. And in that culling many things fell away, as other things rose from the depths more forceful than they had been before.
I knew from the beginning of this journey of grief, that my creative expression, be writing or performing, would be one of my lifelines. Even if no product or project ever came from it, it would be a way, my way, of expressing this experience in the most truthful way I could. Of processing, comprehending, learning, healing, finding my way from devastation to revelation.
Along the way I grew to trust my inner guidance even more. I followed the impulses, saying yes to what invited and felt light, and saying no to things that felt heavy or stifling. Always, always craning towards space. I needed so much space.
Then earlier this year, a dear friend introduced me to a program she had invested in. It was a series about creating journals. At first, I nixed it, thinking I was a writer, I should be writing stories or poetry. Then I nixed it because there was nothing I could think of that would make for a good journal. And then I sat down to watch the series with her and thought … I could do this. And so, began the step by step process that has led me here.
Unbelievably, I took to this project like a fish to water. The recommendation in creating a journal was to write about what you know. There was a myriad of things I’ve come to ‘know’ over the years, but the low hanging fruit was gardens. My own had been a source of great solace this past year, and I have always been drawn to nature, had had my own landscape design business for years. This was indeed a topic I could write about.
The prompts flew from my fingers; essentially, they were questions I’d ask my own clients when we’d begin the process of designing their landscapes. Then there was the delight of finding beautiful quotes about gardens and nature. And finally, at the suggestion of a friend, I began integrating sketches of flowers to intersperse throughout the pages.
Every now and then I am struck by foresight of my business name, Poetic Plantings, chosen 18 years ago, before I had any idea what I’d be doing. And here I was, blending in such a perfect way, words and gardens.
Of course, it was not a straight line from there to here. I hit a period around the one-year anniversary of Mike’s passing where everything came to a grinding halt. For nearly four months very little motivated me and I made no progress on the journal. I could have pushed, tried to force my way through, but I decided that I wanted this creation to come from a place of pleasure, of inspiration. There was nothing to be proved.
So like my garden I waited. Reminding myself of nature’s own rhythms, everything in its own time. Every now and then through that long hot summer I’d check in, go to work on it, but we were stalled in the water, so to speak, and so I waited some more.
Sure enough, as the days shortened, the air cooled, the color of the sky shifting oh so subtly, I could feel my energy rising. I started thinking about the journal again and how I was now itching to get back to it. I wanted to come back to it. I dug in my heels and got back to work.
Then the spool of the Universe spun out to help me on my way.
~ A friend of mine offered to help me with my cover, got me set up with InDesign, a book layout program.
~ An air BnB guest started a website for me (crazy! And that’s another story)
~ I got a kick in the pants watching another friend sell six copies of his new book in a day without even trying. Surely if he could do it, so could I.
So here I am this morning, on the brink of publishing my journal, “If You Dream It … A Garden Journal.”
The premise is that in order to manifest anything we desire in life, we have to imagine it first. The more detail we can envision, the more we can feel it as if it is already there, the greater the potential for actually creating that desire. The journal is for anyone who would like to create a garden for themselves. It provides a series of prompts that guide the reader in envisioning that garden.
There are questions about how they’d enjoy spending time in the garden. Who they’d like to share the garden with. What are childhood memories that they’d like to incorporate in this new garden.
I also include practical sections that help the reader understand their current garden and what they want to change and what they might want to keep. And there is a final section that provides guidance on making the vision a reality, either through their own efforts or by working with a landscape professional.
The cork is unplugged and the ideas continue to flow. Ideas for the next journals: Creating a Sacred Garden, Creating a Healing Garden, Creating a Children’s Garden
As with the writing, I only want to market it, distribute it, in a way that feels in alignment with who I am, what my gifts are. I can barely stand to receive texts these days, so I don’t think twitter will be the way to go for me! But I also remember that I survived some of the most devastating days of my life, so I am braver than I know. When the time is right, I will be able to put on my big girl pants and see if Home Depot would be interested in carrying it!
One thing (of so many things) I’ve learned from all of this is that I must find my own way through the process. Though we have family and friends holding our hands, our hearts along the way, at the end of the day grieving is a solitary journey. How we find our way through, step by step, breath by breath, is listening to our own deepest knowing. No one knows better than we do what we need.
I am taking that lesson with me into the future, trusting my own deepest knowing, following my impulses, feeling into what creates space and joy. Saying no to what feels tight and unwelcoming.
After all, life is too short to do anything else.
I would indeed love to get your feedback on one of the last steps, the selection of a cover. Thanks to my friend I have several lovely options to choose from. If you were looking to re-do your garden which one of these covers would invite you to look closer?
To your journey, may you be blessed.