This month we are focusing on bees and Florida pollinating plants. Below are the schedules ’til the end of the year. The classes are free! Please consider joining me to learn more about the world we live in and for some fun hands-on activities.
I’m fully aware that today’s post may not resonate with everyone. It may dive further into the psyche than some of you are ready for or are even aware exists. But for those of you who are familiar and ready, this post may help you relate to your spiritual journey in another sense. And if you’re not familiar, take a chance. Perhaps this post will take you to a space you didn’t realize you were ready for.
I hope to transform something that can feel a little crazy and confusing into something slightly more tangible and worldly.
Many times when a person awakens, explores their spiritual life, or begins asking questions about their life’s purpose, they choose to make big changes in their life. Sometimes it’s a job change or a move, but for many it’s an inner change – a change to one’s perspective on how the world works and what a person needs and wants in life. This is personal and can vary from how people should treat each other, what is important in life to how you choose to live your life and where you choose to live it. Either way, these changes mean many times that you are leaving behind something, someone or some place.
At the core this is a loss.
We may not see it as a loss like we view a death. Yet, it’s still okay to give yourself the space and time to grieve for that loss (whatever it may be). Actually, it’s very healthy to do so.
It’s a chance to release and let go – a chance to say, “Goodbye.”
This concept is a bit philosophical, but stay with me.
To what are we saying goodbye?
In recent history, I have said ‘goodbye’ to a lot of things in my life. I reached a point where I needed to release things, people, and situations that no longer serve me in my life. Some of these things are physical – clothes I don’t wear anymore; books I’ve already read; well-worn shoes. You can read about my path to minimalism, which spurred this movement.
Other things aren’t tangible at all and live on a different plane.
For example, I have an entire document dedicated to saying goodbye to the old me. I’ve written to myself and it’s different versions. No, I’m not crazy or suffer from multiple personalities. But like all of us, I have parts of me that no longer serve me. For me, one is the scared little girl who comes out when I’m mad. She is not mature. She does not know how to handle her emotions. And she is mean – tear your eyes out, scream in your face kind of mean. You can imagine how unhealthy she is for me. I kindly told her that I no longer need her. I got this. Afterwards I felt lighter, more balanced and a little closer to peace. You see, she represented a fear I no longer needed to protect. That fear was being rejected for choosing to be an authentic version of myself. And she’s been sabotaging relationships (which really means I have been sabotaging relationships.). I had to let this little girl go.
You may be thinking this exercise is crazy, silly, or not useful. But try it. No one has to read it. No one even has to know you wrote it. Write and delete it. Write and burn it (so healing). Write it and hold onto it. Tuck it away to read at another date. Either way, WRITE IT!
It’s a moment to acknowledge something uncomfortable about yourself and then take it further and allow yourself to sit in that feeling.
This takes courage. A lot of courage. Do not trivialize what you are tackling. It’s big. Be proud of yourself for having the courage to face this loss. It’s gonna be painful, but at the end you will find healing and peace. Guaranteed.
How many of us run from our emotions? How many of us are in denial that they even exist?
In a previous post on self-love I wrote about pulling all my junk out from under my bed. The metaphor reflects on the thought that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And “the only way out is through.”
I know, I know sometimes the path through feels like a black hole in Hell. And you may feel completely lost, uncertain and confused. Guess what? THIS IS ALL NORMAL. And you can find ways to cope with this process.
First, label it for what it is: grief. Again, we’re referring to the loss of something while on a spiritual journey. I’m going to use the example of the loss in the perception of who you thought you should be; who your parent’s thought you should be; or who you were. This is a big loss. And one that can occur for everyone at some point in their life.
Imagine, you’re excited to become a new, healthier self; yet, something keeps blocking this flow. I believe it may be that you haven’t taken the time to grieve.
Let’s move through this process.
What are the stages of loss/grief?
You may be in denial that this past version of you didn’t mattered. It did.
You may be angry that you allowed yourself to live in that space for several years. Own that emotion. Then forgive yourself. In that moment or for all those years, that may have been all you were capable of handling.
Maybe you think you can let this past version of yourself creep out among certain friends or certain situations. How does this serve you?
This change is hard and overwhelming. Sit in these uncertainties.
This past version of you in harming healthier aspects of your life – aspects you want and need to succeed. It’s time to let go. To say, “Goodbye.”
This process can be painful and lengthy or take a matter of minutes. It depends on what is happening inside. It’s okay to be afraid. Many times this process triggers more. Each layer offers an opportunity to heal deeper. And all this is movement to more balance and peace in your life. It’s up to you how far you want to take it. You can do it today or wait until you feel more ready. Though, most often it hits at less convenient moments. Even then, sit in the process and let it unfold. You will thank yourself later. Give yourself permission to let go and say goodbye, and then watch yourself grow.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ―
I’m happy to announce that Pineapple Acres kicked off National Clean-up Day by digging in at a community garden offered as an outdoor educational space. This project is one of those opportunities that I never anticipated and has grown into a wonderful collaboration with a local park. We plan to install a permaculture-based mini food forest with native Florida plants. This space will be used for our Mommy and Me Garden Club and our most recent program: Regenerative Gardening. It’s a space meant to integrate community members at all ages.
Today young volunteers from the park’s after-school project helped initiate our first phase, which was sweaty, hard work. We cleaned up our space; pruned overgrown trees, which we transformed into green manure; and laid down cardboard and organic materials, including: cow manure as a natural fertilizer and oak leaves. Once we finish clean up, we will set our design and begin installing plants – the fun part!
“Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.”
~ Mrs. C.W. Earle
Co-dependent. Ick…I hate that word.
Recently, I read a book entitled, “Co-Dependent No More,” by Melody Beattie. I hate that book too. Really hate that book.
If you’ve been following me for some time then you’re aware that I’m on a journey. It’s an awakening, an awareness, a dive into my spiritual body, and a self-discovering journey at full speed – sometimes it feels like a spiritual journey on steroids. It’s forced me to heal and grow in ways I didn’t know needed to happen. I haven’t fully disclosed all the details, and I only share what works for me and my audience. This post is uncomfortable for me. A vulnerable moment that I feel is important. It’s been a massive breakthrough on my journey and an awareness that I hope can help someone else.
So what is this word I hate so much?
According to Wikipedia, co-dependency is a controversial concept for a dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.
According to “Co-dependent No More,” it’s a person who developed unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with a loved one’s more serious issues.
Why do I hate this word so much?
Honestly, I’m ashamed.
I don’t drink excessively. I don’t do drugs. I choose to live a healthy lifestyle. I didn’t feel as if I was doing anything wrong, yet I suffered. It was such a subtle shift in my life, I didn’t realize I was suffering. Until one day a man I hardly knew saw it. He recognized something in me that I denied on the spot. I made up excuses for why my life was the way it was. That’s how co-dependency works, I’m not sure the co-dependent realizes it until they break.
Even then, I didn’t truly know what was wrong. I just knew something needed to change.
I had reached a point where things got turned so upside down I had to do something.
I decided to seek help from a therapist. I walked in thinking I was stressed dealing with other people’s problems. Now nine months later, I realized it’s been my issue all along. Oh, other’s have played their part, but I am no innocent. I taught people that it’s okay to use me, to abuse my responsible initiative and compassion, and then to pretend I meant nothing. But I’m not okay with this. I never have been. I’ve made so many decisions in my life based on other people’s emotions that I couldn’t discern what was mine and what was another’s. In recent history, I even played out another’s internal battle as if it was my own. I began to resent people, situations and myself. I became a ball of rage barely hanging onto my sanity.
It turns out I didn’t value myself enough to show others that I didn’t deserve to be treated poorly. Wait, how can someone do that to themselves? For me, it has comes down to love. I felt that if I didn’t do something, the other person wouldn’t love me. And then it became such a habit that I was choosing not to love myself. I spent many years believing this is how love worked. But it does not.
First, you deserve to be treated with compassion, understanding and love. No excuses. If a person doesn’t show you these attributes, they do not deserve you. Not only that, you need to treat yourself with these attributes. If you keep showing people it’s okay to treat you with any less, they will never change. And if they never change, again, they don’t deserve you. Because you are worthy of love.
So choose you. Choose to love yourself. Solve your own problems and let others make mistakes and solve their own problems. They will be okay. And, even better, you’ll be more at peace. I promise. Mind your own business. This is still a practice for me. Daily. It’s really difficult when you’re face to face with a familiar situation, and you can feel yourself shrink. In that moment, take that awareness and make your shift. I wake up every morning declaring to love me, and I feel the progress. It’s slow some days, but it’s happening. And, yes, it has to be a conscious choice EVERY DAY.
Then through the entire process, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not knowing any better, for suffering for so long, for letting other’s emotions control you. Because now you are more equipped. As am I, and my life has already changed.
I will not let anyone solve my problems. There is no pride involved. I got this. I need this. Exploring my own problems toward a resolution has helped me discover what I need and what I want. Those were questions I asked and truly did not know. But I now want to know. You see, I want to understand me to the point where I can say yes and know it’s me.
Sometimes it takes many tears, conflicts, blocks, challenges, disagreements to realize it’s not everyone else…it’s you. That awareness can take you to a space no one else can. A space of self-discovery, awareness and love. A place to grow. Don’t be afraid to go there. It’s powerful. Very powerful.
Remember you are the only one who has the power to make the shift. This journey is about having the courage to do it.
I’ve been working hard behind the scenes on my career – creating curriculum for workshops; studying meditation and mindfulness; designing landscape; propagating, planting and seed saving; and, of course, documenting my progress. In conjunction, I’ve been experiencing a personal awakening, awareness and self-discovery – some of which I have also documented here. Recently, I have been keeping that part more personal because sometimes our journey takes us to places only we can go. Still, I want to thank all those who have supported me, loved me and pushed me to grow. I’ve blossomed in ways I never anticipated and travelled to parts of myself that I didn’t know existed. It’s been a beautiful challenge. Thank you for joining me and perhaps growing with me.
I’m going to invite you into a conversation I had a few months ago with my permaculture design mentor:
My mentor: “Do not use the term permaculture.”
Me: “Why?” (For the record, in this moment I thought this term was AMAZING and wanted to tell everyone.)
Mentor: “Because if you have to define something you’ve already lost your client.”
I did not completely understand the extent of one’s confusion with this term, but this soon became very clear the further I got along in my business, Pineapple Acres, an outdoor classroom meant to educate in gardening, edible landscaping, and mindfulness. I began to realize most average gardeners (possible subjects interested in permaculture) didn’t know what this word meant even after it was defined. Most home owners didn’t want an explanation to how edibles could be added to their landscape; they simply wanted ‘pretty.’ They didn’t care if you could eat it or not. And I didn’t even attempt this term with my non-gardening friends.
What is permaculture?
By definition permaculture is: the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.
But what does that really mean? I’m hoping to answer this question by not actually answering this question.
So here I was with a word that had triggered a dream, but had the potential to critically confused my prospecting clients.
Why would a word that defines my life and career be a word that I should not use?
Before I answer that question, I’d like to take you on my permaculture journey as a way to show you a glimpse of a permaculture lifestyle in basic terms.
About 12 years ago, I was loosely introduced to the term by a friend who was studying urban planning, but who also had a knack for natural/native landscape design and gardening. He and I had even planned to begin a commune-like homestead where our partners provided money so we could tinkered in the fields. That dream turned into the reality of a shared community garden to a small farm where we spent many hours experimenting. I learned to defend chickens from a healthy population of raccoons; to winterize a bee hive; to install rain barrels to water animals as well as plants; and to prune raspberries and blackberries. I owned things like a dehydrator, pressure cooker, and hot-water bath canner. We were serious gardeners. I sold organic eggs and even invested in a book called, “The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It,” by John Seymour. My farm was fun and comfortable, but I never labeled it permaculture; we called is sustainable living. Yet, it was ingrained with permaculture and taught me skills that have given me the status today as “the one in the room who knows what they are talking about.”
It was a really great time in my life. I’m now trying to replicate this life in the tropics on a smaller scale in a more urban area.
I’ve educated myself in permaculture through a permaculture design course taught by Koreen Brennan with Grow Permaculture. You can read my story here. It transformed my life in ways I never anticipated. Embracing permaculture is not just an agricultural design technique for me. It has become a way of life.
How permaculture became my life:
- I’ve learned to live consciously considering a view that embraces health for the mind, body and spirit.
- I’ve learned to observe what I see and interact with the flow of the reality.
- I’ve learned to see the connections of every element in my life and through those connections see a bigger picture.
- I’ve learned to view a problem as a possible solution.
- I’ve learned to let things be and control only what is in my power. (Sometimes in a design this is referring to the client.)
These are techniques I use in design for a workshop, a garden or a relationship. There is no limit to a healthy holistic view. And that is where I anticipate to take my clients.
Because my clients do not come to me for a vocabulary lesson. And the definition of permaculture doesn’t even begin to share the magic. A definition is just words, but an experience is lasting. So from now on, I do not run a permaculture-based business. I don’t even run an edible landscape business.
I have the ability to introduce you to world that will nourish your mind, body and spirit, but you won’t know it’s through the principals of permaculture.
Because that is not why you will come to Pineapple Acres.
You’ll come to Pineapple Acres ready to educate yourself in nature, but you will leave with sustenance to last a lifetime.
And that is the definition of permaculture.
Remember to keep moving, experimenting and learning. Eventually you’ll discover what you need in the garden, in relationships and in life.