Bookstores and Compost

Have you ever had a day where you think, Gosh why can’t I be this person all the time? Today was one of those days for me. I would totally be willing to live today over again a few times without complaint.

I had a lot planned today, then I woke up and realized I wasn’t going to be able to show up for my life that way today. I cancelled my plans and went back to bed where I read my book for an hour next to my husband and pup.

When hubs and I got up we decided to go to a local park/shopping district not far from our home. We had lunch on a restaurant patio and then walked through the park, me stopping at each planter to feel tree trunks and smell flowers.

We sat on a bench for a few minutes and people watched while talking. We were near one of the planters and watched all the bumble bees hover from flower to flower. I was convinced the flowers must smell amazing, I stooped down to smell when we left our bench and was disappointed to smell nothing at all.

From our bench we also watched lizards catching insects for lunch.

The weather began to turn and we knew we did not want to leave without first visiting the little bookstore in the alley so we moved along. We wandered around the bookstore, my husband pointing out titles he knew I would enjoy.

As we walked back to the car the wind picked up and sky grew dark. It was the perfect introvert day out. The sun was concealed behind the clouds which meant reprieve for my pale blue eyes and for once I was able to be outside in daytime without sunglasses. When the storm blew in everyone took cover giving us the park to ourselves as we walked quiet and blissful back to the car.

On the way home we stopped at the grocery where I found the most beautiful mini heirloom tomatoes which inspired our dinner this evening.

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We collected the rest of our groceries and headed home where I got to work making soup. I started with the carrots, the celery, and the onions. I rough chopped and put them in the pot with lemon juice and sprigs of left over rosemary and thyme from when I made my summer solstice cookies. I let this steep until the vegetables and lemon juice were infused with the herbs. The steam filled every corner of our home with the inviting smell of herbs and lemon.

While my base steeped I went outside and joined hubs and Lu in the front yard. He was doing yard work and she was laying in the shade of a tree on a blankie in the front yard. I picked up my push broom and started sweeping cut grass and leaves from the driveway (one of my favorite chores).

When I was chopping I was left with nubby ends of celery stalks and carrot tops, I started talking to hubs and asked if I could start a compost pile in the backyard. To my absolute delight he said Yes without hesitation! This led to a conversation about gardening.

I have wanted (and tried) to garden since we moved into our home years ago. I have failed. Every single time I have failed. And with every fail has come emotional fall out. It has been my desire since I was a girl digging up radishes in my parent’s bountiful backyard garden to one day have a vegetable and herb garden of my very own. My life would feel incomplete no different than if I missed out on my dream of becoming a therapist, or being a mother, or traveling to see the great sequoia trees in California. There are somethings in my life that I know I am called to do and be, and a gardener is absolutely one of them.

My husband has been patient while not overly indulgent. He has bought me basil and cilantro, helped with my lavender and marigolds. Yet over and over I experience the same result: sad dead plants. He gave me plenty of room to try and then he set a line. The rule was I had to keep an herb plant alive for at least a month before I could graduate to a vegetable plant and if I was successful with the vegetable plant then we could begin to discuss a garden. My hopes have really been dashed I must say. None of it worked out. And so for now I have been buying my produce from the grocery like everyone else and dreaming of a garden that may never exist.

When I mentioned the idea of a compost pile I did so timidly, sure to be shot down, because after all to agree to a compost pile would possibly mean being open to my one day garden. I did not think he was willing to entertain any of this at this point. My sweet husband proved me wrong and I could not be more grateful.

He was completely behind the compost pile, from a recycling/conservation perspective, and informed me that the city will even provide the composter free of charge – Hooray!! Then he said that we could buy a pack of inexpensive seeds once our soil was ready and try again, from scratch this time so I would not be killing anything but instead growing something.

I think that feels more right to me anyway. Maybe I should have been starting there all along. I am a girl of shadows who has bloomed and grown from dark places, that is my magic, that is my gift. I am sure that I can plant a seed in the dark with love and intention and help it bloom and grow from that dark place. I am sure I can, I am just sure of it.

After some yard work we came back in and I fished the herby sprigs out of the soup base. Then I collected the remnants of soup ingredients and created my very first contribution to our compost pile.

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I am starting a pile in the backyard while I wait for our composter to be delivered.

After dinner we rented The Zoo Keeper’s Wife, a movie based on a book that I am sad to say I was unable to finish after 10+ years of ownership and multiple attempts. I just do not like the way it is written. I do, however, like the actual story. I am so glad they made it a movie so I can finally experience this story. I do not know how it ends as I never got that far.

It was a good day. One for the books as far as I am concerned. I am grateful for this day.

 

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Exploited

Today was a day let me tell you! Not only did I have this self-care experience that ended up being the antithesis of self-care, my husband and I had one of our relationship check-in conversations and in doing so we identified a shadow that we are each showing up in, in our relationship; exploitation. I was not in the mood to get to know a new shadow today. This was not the day for this. I was so emotionally spent from my earlier experience I just wanted to spend the rest of the night writing, and meditating, and maybe even painting as a way for me to process and release the energy from earlier. I still plan to do all of those things, and I am even as we speak, however now I am working through the emotions from early and the emotions surfacing that are attached to this new shadow.

When a new shadow presents itself it arrives with lots of emotional luggage. The first suitcase to unpack is always shame. I have to sit in my shame with the ways in which I show up in my life and exploit others, specifically and especially those whom I love most.

This shadow surfaced in a conversation my husband and I were having in order to clear the air after an exchange last night resulted in hurt feelings.

We were honest, took turns being heard and empathizing, and then talked about what boundaries needed to exist going forward to avoid further incident. Rather than instate new boundaries it was more an issue of being mindful of boundaries that already existed and respecting ourselves and each other with concern to those boundaries.

What we both realized as we closed up the conversation is that we both show up in our relationship and use/take advantage of one another in the relationship. We were both clear that this exploitation that takes place is done with nonmalicious intent, it is happening none the less though and it was time to shine some light on this shadow.

For both of us exploitation shows up in places where we don’t feel like doing something so we use the other person to get that need met. It is attached to the shadow of avoidance for both of us.

Our work here as it pertains to our relationship is for both of us to speak up when we feel the other person operating from this shadow. Personally my work is to invite these two shadow pieces home, avoidance and exploitation, and get to know them better. My work with my shadows is always to seek to understand their motivations from a place of objective nonjudgement, and then working on building a relationship with them ultimately shining the light of self-love upon them.

It all sounds pretty and whimsical, it feels more like trying to hug an unwilling porcupine in the dark.

This is where I am tonight though. Trying to separate myself from my experience early so I can where I exist in this place of disconnection I encountered AND welcoming in my shadows of exploitation and avoidance.

You Can Tell Everybody This is Your Song

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A very special part of mine and my husband’s love story is the part where he asked and I said yes.

When my husband and I first began communicating online I made it clear that I wanted to take things slow and get to know him through email before meeting up. My husband respected this boundary and one month later when I asked him out on our first date he asked, are you sure you are ready? and I said Yes. My husband never made a single decision without me whether it was surrounding our first kiss or moving in together. He always asked and I said Yes.

I love this man because he has always understood that love is not about taking, it is about asking. Something I believe many people do not do because to ask is to allow yourself to be vulnerable, you have no promise of the outcome. That never stopped him though. He always asked. My kind of love is vulnerable. It is honest, without armor, it is built on trust. Trust that when you are standing there naked in your vulnerability asking, the one that you love will not leave you stranded, even if the answer is not yes. There can be love in answering No as well. Sometimes that love comes from within, it is how we show up in our self love. Self love does not take away from the love of the other which is why there is love in answering No as well.

In our story more often than not when he asks I say yes, and we both know that when we do say No that is coming from a place of love as well. What is important and what makes this love story special is not the reply but the fact the he asked.

I love this man because he has always understood that love is not about taking, it is about asking.

The song lyric that popped into my head when I first considered writing this post was I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.

If you ever read this, you can tell everybody this is your song.