Archive for April, 2011

Allow yourself to be nurtured

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

As women, we’re often better giving, than receiving. Taking care of others, rather than taking care of ourselves. Is that genetic hard-wiring or the result of cultural conditioning?

The question came to mind this weekend when my daughter-in-law Saraswati said to me, “I’d like to give you a facial.” Saras, as we call her, was eager to provide a relaxing and nurturing experience, using training she had received in a course called “Hobby Massage.” I felt a moment of resistance.

What about my wrinkles? Sun spots? The disappearing jaw line? Was I willing to surrender to this kind of close attention, even if it felt good?

Despite my hesitancy, I said “Yes,” and put myself in her hands. Soon she was massaging my face, applying face cream and rose water, and a scrub and mask.

“Before long you will be glowing!” she bubbled.

In the next hour, I became a plant soaking up nature’s rain and sun. Accepting what would help me grow and blossom. Acknowledging someone else could help me in a way I couldn’t help myself. Grateful for the opportunity to simply be in the moment.

If you’re in a planting and growing mood this spring–whether in your garden in the world or the garden within you, contemplate the balance in your life between giving and receiving.

Journal or draw a response to these questions:

What do you want to create?
What value does this have for you?
What resources do you have in your garden tool kit?
What will you need from others?
How will you ask for help? Accept what is offered?

Note how you feel about receiving, about being nurtured. If you sense resistance, take this in as information about balance in your life. Independence is good but so is connectedness. We need both. Diane

Cultivate the Courage to Grow

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you truly are.”
—e.e. cummings

It does take courage to grow. A tendril pushing through the soil knows nothing of what awaits it—rain, snow, sun, the trampling of feet, a mower, or a gardener ready to nurture its blossoming. Before emerging as a plant, it was a seed that had to break open before its unique potential could reach the world.

We human beings also cannot anticipate or control what happens when we risk change. Will our intent to build a relationship, promote an idea, start an enterprise or put our innermost thoughts down on paper meet with acceptance? Rejection? Help? Encouragement? Indifference?

With courage, we reach out anyway because something within us wants to grow. We may not even know what that is until we witness it ourselves.

In my life growing has meant leaving behind a lucrative corporate career out of desire to be healthier—physically, emotionally and spiritually. As I opened up to the sunshine of a new life of freedom, a commitment to help others discover who they truly are and what they want to express in the world emerged. Tending Your Inner Garden® was born.

So have I discovered this purpose? In many ways, yes. I’ve learned the power of listening, really listening, to others as a way of bringing to life their gifts and desires. In my work as a spiritual director and companion, the power of being a calm and caring presence for others becomes more apparent each day. As a former do-aholic, I’ve learned to be a force for change by the way I simply am in the world.

Yet this invitation to grow never subsides. We’re called to continual conversion—letting go of the past and opening up to the present and future. We’re challenged to harvest what we’ve learned and give it back to the soil to enrich it for life’s next season. That’s happening in my life right now as I ask, “Whom am I being called to serve?”

Perhaps unknown to me, a seed within has broken open and something new is about to grow. Like the bald eagles that have tended three eggs and captured the attention of a nation through a video cam (, my job is now to patiently wait and watch.

What’s happening in your life as you enter spring? Is something new wanting to grow in your life? We’d love to hear from you!