Each time we begin something new in our life, we need to insure our new endeavor is protected from all manner of intruders that might threaten the thriving of our new idea, commitment, or action! All growth and change require time and a certain amount of sacred space to become firmly rooted and have the time to grow to fruition and fullness. As a mentor for women committed to make a change in their lives (even when that feels ‘against all odds’), I’m sensitive to how difficult it can be to nurture and protect our tender and vulnerable commitment to change.
This post is about tender plants, hungry bunnies and my growing awareness of how Nature offers all kinds of solutions to life’s challenges. We just need to take some time to be aware and observe her offerings.
This year’s longer-than-usual summer has the upside of extending our fall planting season. I decided to take advantage of our unusually warm weather and the local nursery’s ‘stock reduction sale’ to upgrade my front yard rain garden. There is still enough time before the first frost for my new plantings to establish the strong roots necessary for survival of our unpredictable winters and be prepared for abundant growth come spring. Previous poor planning and design of the rain garden has made it necessary for a complete do-over (This would be Nature’s offering #1—the effect of imposing my ideas and wants over what is needed for good results).
I’ve spent the last three years learning to step away from my reliance on doing everything myself. This is true in all areas of my life, not just in my work world; the Muse has definitely had some positive influence. Sometimes, I think I can hear her trying to be heard over the din of all those voices in my head: “Wait-Listen to me!” I am increasingly more willing to hear her, listen to her, and follow her guidance). Now, I notice the changes I’ve made in taking time to plan and do things in a more thoughtful and ‘right timing’ way in my work life has spread into other areas of my life—as in how I care for my Self and my surroundings. In terms of listening to the garden muse (who came in the form of a staff member at the native plants nursery), I found out that how I had arranged and planted my original rain garden was a set up for an over growth of Black-Eyed-Susan and for a failure of rain and water management. (Nature’s offering #2-seeing the usual mess resulting from an excessive amount of self-reliance)
Armed with this new information and clearly written guidelines for laying out a new and functional design, I came home with my little truck filled with seedlings and a few small, but guaranteed to be hardy, bushes. A couple of days later the garden had been reconfigured and replanted. It looked great. Every morning I’ve been coming to sit in my front courtyard for my morning meditation, always taking a few moments of smug admiration of my handiwork! (Nature’s offering #3-An invitation to be nourished by Nature’s beauty)
It all looked so lovely until one morning I noticed two of the tender seedlings in the front of the garden had been stripped clean of their feathery leaves. Arggh! An interloper, feasting on the fruits of my work, was threatening the survival of my whirled milkweed and purple prairie clover! (Nature’s offering #4-Sometimes S*&T happens, despite our best efforts)
I could imagine this little, grey-brown puff-ball bunny –maybe a couple of them, blissful stripping my plants of their tender leaves, leaving behind bent remnants of barren stalks! My first response-anger followed by an immediate feeling of helplessness. I had purchased the last of the plants, and even if I hadn’t, replacing them would just be inviting more bunnies to a new feast. As I stood looking on at the damage done, a picture came into my head: the image of a just-the-right-size, fine meshed ring of fencing encircling each set of seedlings. Protection was definitely needed if these little plants were to be able to recover from the onslaught of a hungry bunny. (Nature’s offering #5 being with what is and allowing for what could be to come to consciousness—I.E. not over-reacting)
The next day, with the help of husband and a pair of wire snippers, my fences were in place (evidenced by the picture above). A week later, having noticed new growth sprouting from the previously stripped stalks, I am again sitting content and satisfied in my front yard. (Nature’s offering #6-Recovery is not only possible; it is Nature’s way of being)
My take away from this parable: There are times we need protective fencing in our life. This is especially true when we are starting something new in the garden of our lives; be it a new exercise or eating plan, quitting an addiction, a commitment to a daily meditation or gratitude practice or anything that takes us outside of our comfort zone; the success and growth of our commitments need protection! In planting something new into our life, we need to be sure we have created an environment in which it can grow, become well established and thrive. In turn, our endeavor will support and bring more richness and beauty to us. Sometimes this means we need to create a protective boundary to keep our metaphorical ‘hungry bunnies’ out of our growing space. (Nature’s offering #7)
Self-Reflection: Do you know who your ‘hungry bunnies’ are; the ones who threaten your efforts and hard work?