What if you slept?
And what if in your sleep you dreamed?
And what if in your dream you went to heaven,
And there you plucked a strange and beautiful flower?
And what if when you awoke you had the flower in your hand?
S. T. Coleridge
Six years ago, I attended a Take The Step Intensive Women’s Retreat in Aurora, Ontario, and this poem was our welcome message. I never fully understood it until now.
For the past year, I have been avoiding myself, trying to be someone I’m not, trying to make my family, my friends, my co-workers, my employers, everyone else in my life happy. I forgot how to make myself happy; you know…how to take care of myself before taking care of others. It’s been such a long time since I took care of myself that I’ve actually forgotten what makes me happy, which activities I enjoy, what it’s like to laugh and smile and actually mean it. I’ve forgotten that spark that puts a fire in my soul and makes me want to live. I forgot what the flower from the poem looked like, smelled like, felt like for me. I’ve been avoiding listening to my heart and sometimes, all it takes is a good heart to heart talk with old friends to help you realize that you’ve been sleeping and it’s time to wake up!
After talking with my friends and finding my binder from the retreat, I read the welcome message again and I realized that the strange and beautiful flower that I picked in heaven is myself…not just the material me, but the whole me. It’s my hopes, my dreams, my goals, my beliefs, my loves, my passions, my thoughts, my experiences…ME! If I don’t take care of it, nurture it, then that flower is going to die and never fully be aware of the beauty that it possesses.
I’ve been struggling a lot with what to do with my life, how to take care of this flower, but for some reason it just got clear one day. I started taking better care of myself and not thinking about others first. I nurtured my flower and I’ll be honest…it feels good. I realized what I want for myself and that I can’t keep letting other people stop my flower from growing. I started thinking about what to plant next in my garden, you know, what goals I want to see grow, what other flowers I want to pick in the future, so I decided to plant a flower for health, a flower for education and a tree for friends and fun. I’m truly looking forward to watching these flowers and my tree grow and continuing to landscape my garden and help others with their landscaping as well.
So tell me, what types of flowers will grow in your garden? What do you want to do in the future, near or far? What flowers do you want to pick?