Making Room for New Growth

Last year's cone flowers

Today my husband and I spent the day clearing out the garden beds, cutting back shrubs, and tidying up the yard. If we wait any longer the new shoots will start tangling up with the dry old stems from last year and the job will become much harder.  As I yanked and clipped away at the old growth, I had some time to think about making room for the new: new ideas, new possibilities. Sometimes clearing out the old beliefs is a necessary step before the new ones can take root.  If you asked me just six months ago what I thought was possible for me and my creative work, I would have a very different and more limited answer. I wonder what I might tell you six months from now?  The most limiting old belief I needed to rip out was, “There is not enough time for all my creative projects.”

Fennel- Old and New

I’m starting to understand that this belief is really an illusion. I have lots of time and need only to make choices about how to spend it. Yes, there are givens like my 30 hours of day job, preparing meals, walking the dog, sleeping, etc. Spending time with my family is important to me, so I choose to do that. But there are still an amazing number of small moments leftover that keep adding up, moments that I didn’t even realize I had, until I believed that I had them.  Sometimes you just need to ask for more time.  When I told my wonderful husband how important my studio work had become to me, he started helping out more around the house, shopping for groceries and making dinner.  When I committed to doing this project, my whole orientation with time shifted. Activities that I used to view as stealing away my art time (like yard work) now become opportunities for inspiration.  I am more appreciative of all the things I need to spend time on. When my time for art arrives, I am ready.

Patio Pots: Before

Patio Pots: After

Once the shrubs are cut back and the pots are emptied, everything looks so bare. The pruned butterfly bushes look so bony and awkward in this stage, just waiting to once again shoot out their arcs of silvery leaves and purple flowers.  The beds are a blank page, just waiting to be filled with color.  After accomplishing so much clean-up, suddenly there is so much more to do!  Filling the pots with annuals, adding more perennials, working in compost, mulching, planting the vegetable garden. (Do I even have time to garden this year, with all the art projects I have going on??) But this is how it always goes. No matter how much you do, there is always more to do.  In fact, the more productive I am, the more I want to do, the wider my possibilities become. As these ideas grow, they threaten to overwhelm me. I have learned that the best thing to do after defining my larger goals is to just focus on the next step in front of me. Change does not happen in the past or the future, but in the continually unfolding present moment.

There is always enough time and a time for everything. I am learning to ease into this new belief. I work hard and I stay committed, but when life pulls me away from my artwork, I am allowing myself to realize that maybe this other thing, whatever it may be, is an important experience. Can I give up control and have the spacious awareness to let life unfold?

There is Always Enough Time and a Time for Everything

Here are some more things I discovered unfolding in my yard today, each in their own time:

The Pear Tree in the front yard, ready to bloom

Camelia under my studio window

The Oregon Grape Holly blooms for the first time!

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4 thoughts on “Making Room for New Growth

  1. I have been feeling torn between garden clean up and making art, both of which I love to do on sunny days like today! I love your idea of using necessary activities as “opportunities for inspiration”.

  2. The realization that’s given me the most peace since I left a teaching career to become a stay at home mom is that absolutely everything I do is an opportunity to be creative. Imagine the potential if you’re washing the floor with brightly colored single socks, swirling the bubbles to create mosaics, flowers, dog faces. I love that you’re looking at the mundane with new eyes.

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