I planted a garden in Texas, this past spring/summer. It began with raking leaves, after a few strong storms felled large branches in the backyard. I was also raking and pulling weeds as a way to clear my mind, a way to figure out what my next steps and paths would be on my journey.
It was a beautiful April spring day, and during the clearing process I felt inspired to plant a few flowers and shrubs. My parents paid me $40 a week to mow and keep up with their garden and trees when I was younger, but I had no experience planting, building, creating a garden from scratch. But I saw the potential for growing things there and it seemed like a fun and a challenge. After getting permission from my landlady and roommate, at the time, I started planting a garden knowing I was leaving Texas.
It started small, with a few Caya Lilly’s, marigolds, two sunflower plants, some white pansies, and a variety of herbs. They started growing. They started thriving- all except the Lavendar. Still, after a couple of weeks of watching the flowers blossoms and the basil and mint leaves growing larger, I was hooked.
The process of choosing, discovering new flowers and plants was exciting. I had to cut down branches for sunlight, but some of the trees and vines shared the fence with two of my neighbors. They each gave their blessing and said the plants had needed to be culled for sometime. So every day, minus the week of May when I was in Mexico, I gardened. It was cathartic, it brought me joy, it got me outside among the living things every day. I didn’t even mind the 100+ degree days because I knew the plants were growing in the bright sunlight and water.
As Spring became Summer I continued to buy new plants and flowers and the garden expanded way past my original plan. I started growing okra, and peppers. Blue Sativa and Black-eyed Susans. I planted a garden knowing I was planning to leave my job and Texas at the end of the summer.
Certain events and falling-outs occurred which sped up my leaving. Still, I planted and cultivated until the very last day I was there.
I had wanted to leave Texas for years but had a career in social work- that I mostly enjoyed and felt proud of, and the job began to paying better after each promotion I earned and salary bump given to us by the State. I also had/have a lot of friends in the Dfw area- as well as my dad and sister. But as I continued growing and exploring the world more- and seeing the disparity of wealth, of inequality in a newly minted Alt-right state/country that began to undo the care about its vulnerable populations; as relationships began to change; after my dog my best friend, Ranger, ran away for the last time and was never found, as I realized my book was really turning into something important- I knew my time was up.
I honestly don’t know if I would have written this book or left Texas to pursue my expanding desires and purpose- had it not been for the aforementioned combination of circumstances. I had known for a while, for a couple of years that I wasn’t truly happy or fulfilled in Texas. Part of me was still afraid to leave the security of my hometown, my job, free health insurance, friends and venture into the Unknown.
But then it all came to a head when I felt trapped and despondent and took a bunch of pills one night to make everything fall silent, and then drank charcoal once the realization of what I had done sunk in. In a weird way, I was proud I did it- because it showed me the inverse- of how strong my intentions could be when I pursue the things and life I really wanted.
I sought some brief psychiatric help, put in a month’s notice at work, and created a blog and began releasing chapters of Break the Violent Fetters to social media. The response was immediate and overwhelming. I began receiving hundreds of friend request and followers from different places around the world. I could not/still can’t believe it and am so thankful for.
It was in the garden, toiling in the soil, pulling out the weeds, moving Japanese Ivy, coneflowers, and other plants I forgot the name for- that my plans, this new path, all started coming together.
I have come to see that when we desire something more, or feel called to pursue our true passions and purpose- that we will begin to feel blocked or trapped by our current circumstances- because that is Life causing us to expand. Because the ties and jobs and people who once meant so much to you begin falling away. I thought my life was falling a part. I’ve come to see now that it was because the life I had been planning was calling to me and I could no longer ignore its bidding.
Or at least that’s my take away from it. You owe it to yourself have to make the choice to pursue the life we have dreamed. Because we are all in process. Gardens in our own way.
I had planned to publish a book this year. And it is coming out exactly at a time when I truly have broken the Violent Fetters and onto the other side.