"The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”
― Alan Watts
Ideas, the ones we really attach to and act on, are always pregnant with hope. Visions of new creative endeavors, new relationships, new recipes or new lives always contain a spark of enthusiasm, and yet in the moment of conception they are simply fantasies, conjured up ideals by the ever creative human mind. Our dreams and visions are precious gems that should be nurtured and cared for, yet because we live in an abundant universe, meaning there is no shortage of insight, sometimes we need to let go of old dreams and make room for the new.
I had the idea a few years ago to plant a hydrangea bush in my backyard. I bought the little guy in the fall, following the trusted advice of the garden specialist, and intentionally planted it in the cooling earth as soon as I brought it home. I envisioned the most beautiful 6-inch hydrangea flowers to appear in the spring. They would grace my garden with boisterous purple or green flowers (I’d be happy with either) for the entire summer, bringing me and my visitors smiles for days. What a beautiful vision this backyard was.
The next spring I eagerly awaited the hydrangea flowers. I felt the first spark of joy when I saw the tiny green dots emerging from the branches, and I watched patiently, according to nature’s rhythm. The little green leaves grew and grew to about an inch or two, and then the process slowed down to a concerning pace. The leaves stopped growing, and, while I was no expert, I did know the hydrangea bush down the street had gigantic leaves. There were also no signs of flower buds anywhere to be seen. By July, I knew this bush would not blossom.
At least not this year. Fall came, it went dormant, and I read that the flowers on hydrangea don’t always bloom the first year. Hope resurrected! I would wait for the 6-inch flowers to arrive next spring. Well, I’ll spare you the same story. One inch leaves, no buds, no blossoms, no flowers. This happened three or four years in a row, and eventually I lost all hope, but allowed the bush to stay in this space, this place, this magical real estate in my garden bearing nothing but one inch leaves and a disappointing reminder that the sacred space had been reserved for a big vision.
I held on, because I felt bad letting go. I held on, because I was too lazy to do anything different. I held on, because I forgot- except on those days when I would look out my bathroom window onto the space that I wanted to see big, brilliant flowers, and all I saw was a boring green bush that was unappealing to me and did not make my heart come alive with joy.
(Just to be sure you’re following me here, this is a metaphor for our dreams and visions in life.)
So, the other day I made a brave decision to make a change. I had a bunch of pansies that I had planted in full sun in the spring and realized very quickly that they were not going to survive the hot summer heat. These beautiful pansies were full of life, full of possibility, full of color. I had a new idea, one that brought me joy. I would put the pansies… next to the hydrangea. This would be safe. I could keep the hydrangea vision alive, even though it was uninspiring, and build my new vision around it.
As I started to bring life to my new idea I realized quickly that the old vision simply had to go. There was no room for the new vision, it was still crowded out by something that continued to require nourishment, space and attention. I could no longer hold onto the old vision if I wanted to create a new one. I grabbed my shovel and uprooted the hydrangea. It wasn’t easy, but I knew what I had to do. I made space, sacred space, for my new vision to come alive. I happily enriched it with some fresh organic soil (think new practices, new habits, new thoughts) and now I have a beautiful pansy patch that I believe is more in alignment with what I want for my garden. I feel excited to nurture this vision with the new found energy that it is giving back to me. I feel inspired to check on it everyday, to watch the little plants grow and express their color. I feel that this space has come alive again.
Is there anything in your life, any visions that you once had that may not have blossomed that are ready to be uprooted? Dreams that may have suited you at one point in your life, but now that you've grown you see they don't represent who you are anymore? Do you have little pansies of ideas waiting to be given sacred space? If so, what’s stopping you? And are there any baby steps you can take in the direction of your new pansy patch (like my idea to put the pansies next to the hydrangea) that might get you one step closer to making a change? If so, I encourage you to take that step today.
(PS Photo above is footage of the actual pansies in the pansy patch ;) )