Monday, May 26, 2014

When you least Expect it....

I had a flat of flowers sitting on the table on my deck for a few days. My plan was to plant them in the pots that were already overridden with clover and weed, this late May day. It had been in the 60's by this time, so it was safe to plant them. I just hadn't yet. Since we were going away for the weekend, I thought I should get them planted before we left.

One by one, I began releasing the Portulacca from their little plastic market packs.  I love their mini little rose-like appearance, and the varied colors in which they come, and the fact that most are not in bloom when you get them, so you really never know what color they'll be. They may be multi colored or you may get a plethora of white or fuchsia. You just never know. But I have to admit, another reason I love them so much, is that they're drought tolerant--and since we go away for a good chunk of the summer, I know they'll be alive when I return, and I can water them till their heart's content, content myself in the knowledge that they'll come back, brighter and fuller and happier when they're renewed by the nourishment they need once again, despite the challenge they faced.

Another reason  I love them is that they reseed, and throughout the season, new little spouts are always emerging. Inevitably, then again, in the spring, new sprouts arise again from last year's fallen seeds. The first time I planted them, I didn't notice that the fallen seeds were coming up concurrently  as the original flowers grew, and are hidden below the established flowers, so seeing them sprout in the spring, after a winter of dormancy, was an unexpected surprise. Tiny, tiny, carpets of what look like Portulacca leaves. Oh!

When pulling the weeds  that have also dropped seed from the pots I am about to plant, I am careful not to accidentally pull the bonus seedlings, placing then three of the market pack plants into each of the pots and planters and as I'm nearing the end of my planting, I begin to hear the rumble of thunder. I'm unaware that rain is expected, but before I can get inside, the first of the rain begins to fall heavily.

I move on to the sunroom in my house and use the watering can I had planned to use outside, on my aloe plants inside. By this time, the rain has become torrential and the wind has picked up. I'm not too terribly surprised, because I'm not one to seek out the weather report. I'm enlightened every day by it. It begins to get louder as it strikes the skylights above me and I suddenly realize that it's no longer rain, but hail!  Hail in the month May.

At first I'm alarmed, but I quickly come to realize that it's something to behold. It's an unexpected surprise. I worry for a moment that my poor Portulacca seedlings will be harmed, as a significant amount of hail has fallen. But when it subsides, and the sun almost immediately emerges, I go outside to touch it. I gather it together between my palms, sweeping it into a small pile.

I inspect them and note their varying sizes and shapes.  Some look like the heart wood of a branch of a tree, and some are perfectly round  like the little silver balls you see on wedding cakes.

I'm not one to seek out the weather report. I'm enlightened every day by what it brings.  Perhaps I'd be better served on some days, to have checked the weather report first, and I may end up caught unaware, unprepared. But much like my drought tolerant Portulacca, I am resilient. 

A collection of hail can accumulate around the base of a flowering plant, in an unexpected hail storm in the middle of May,

but being Spring time, the sun is quick to return, and the hail very quickly melts, nourishing the root system, which allows it to flower and reseed, renewing it once again. Perhaps when you least expect it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Breaking through Barriers

When I was little, I played a game on the playground with my friends. It was called Red Rover. Maybe you played it too. Basically, you chose up even teams, and each side would line up, arms grasping arms, overlapping , creating a wall, or barrier of children. Two sides, two barriers of children, on either side of the playing field, facing each other. The goal of the game was to have the strongest held barrier wall. Each side took turns, allowing one person from each side, or team, to run full speed, directly at the opposing barrier wall of linked people in an attempt to break through the grasp of those tightly held arms, thereby breaking the chain in half. 

If the chain isn't broken, then the player changes teams, linking up with them.  The competition  ends when the last person comes to the opposing team, and what's left is one lone barrier wall. 

It all begins with an Invitation. 
The first team chants loudly, "Red Rover Red Rover, let Billy (or Bobby, or Suzy...) Come over! " And they brace themselves for his arrival, trying not to let him break into their chain, their team, their tribe. Inevitably, the chain will be broken, and like it or not, the team whose chain is broken, loses a player  to the opposing team. The teams are now lopsided. The team with fewer players now has an opportunity to break the opposing team's chain. The game continues until, there is one person left. And the invitation's called. "Red Rover, Red Rover, let Terry come over!" In the end, all of the children end up on the same team, the same side. 

In order to get the game going, someone has to take the initiative to suggest the game be played. The second child who agrees to play - he or she makes the first child's idea OK. Without the second child, there would be no game.

Others will be more likely to accept the invitation to play if Two are already committed. 

The game requires an even number of children, and the more the better.  with only a few children, the game is soon over.
 Everyone has permission to invite more players. The whole playground is a source. All of the children on the playground can play. The More who are willing to join, the more additional children will join. 

That's the power of an invitation. Whatever it is that you're doing, or enjoy, or know in your heart is inherently good, you have the opportunity to give an invitation to others to join you. They may or may not know how, they may or may not have the confidence. You may or may not know how, you may or may not have the confidence- They may or may not have the courage. 

But if YOU have the courage to offer an invitation, 
the likelihood of inspiring the creation of a team increases. 

Alternate interests and alternate skill sets may only seem like barriers. But with an invitation, there is no such thing as competition, really. Because even tho it may seem we are on opposing teams,
We are on the same team.

It all begins with an Invitation. 
And the Courage to offer it. 

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Every Seven Years, Your Body is Entirely New

I read somewhere once, that every 7 years, your body is entirely new: that our cells are regenerating every day, and that everything from our skin to our bones, to our organs and tissues are entirely regenerated within 7 years. I liked the notion of this. I consider it a notion, because  I'm not sure it's entirely so- at least in my understanding of  it, as I  imagine it to be. As I think about it critically now, I'm imagining a lung, riddled with cancer. Black. The kind they show you pictures of,  from cadavers, when you're in high school, and they're encouraging you not to smoke. If your lungs are completely regenerated within seven years,  then why do people die of lung cancer? The Cancer regenerates faster, than the healthy cells. In yet undeveloped Cancer,  If regeneration is a constant, and smoking is a constant, then I guess they must cancel each other out. But I've also read, that once you stop smoking, within a certain amount of years, the damage-the visible damage, that the tar and nicotine have inflicted on your lungs, can actually be undone. I'm not sure you can undo Cancer, by stopping smoking: but the wear and tear that the  tar and nicotine that each cigarette wipes on your lungs, like muddy work boots wiped on a rug, I guess that kind of sullying, that kind of soiling, can in time, with consistent introduction, of air that is clean, and consistent subtraction of contaminating factors, regeneration can occur; new living, breathing  structures.

I'm thinking about these things, as I read the posts each day on a leadership blog. I'm thinking about the things I read, which resonate with me: things  which may be new to me, yet immediately ring true- things I might have already caught wind of, but haven't yet been able to incorporate, or make habit. Things I haven't been yet able to manifest. I'm thinking, that in order to make anything new; in order to create a regenerated me, I might have to start totally fresh- I might have to completely let go of  many many things: ideas, beliefs, labels, resistance. We shed cells of  our skin every day. I've read somewhere that the majority of the contents of our vacuum cleaner bags are skin cells. I  don't want to envision what we'd look like if we didn't shed our skin. At least it happens without our really knowing. At least we aren't snakes. Actually, maybe it would be easier- if we didn't have the subtlety of growth- the growing pains- but bam! There we were, all of a sudden, in a completely new skin- pink, bare, smooth, without shade nor sun screen, under the blazing sun, straight up fodder for sunburn.

I read somewhere once that skin cancer, which  appears on your body as an adult, began, in fact, in your childhood. Maybe I didn't read that one somewhere-maybe my Mother implanted that one in me. Not as a child, because there was no such thing as sunscreen then- but as an adult. But raw sunburned skin, has a tendency to regenerate quicker. Or perhaps just more noticeably. It doesn't have a choice.

I said that I guess you can't undo the Cancer, once it's turned Into Cancer, but That's not entirely true. Cancer has been known to recede. I've read that somewhere. I've heard of these spontaneous healings.
Without the assistance of chemotherapy or radiation.

I guess the body, a collection of cooperating cells, makes a decision- and gets to work, ousting those cells that are threatening it's thriving, and  forces itself to become stronger. In order to do it, it has to lose the old notions which allowed the Cancer to invade from the start. It happens, by some concerted agreement, among a collection of cells, who decide it's in their individual, and collective interest to do so. And they had to decide that the alternative to the Cancer was much greater. And they did, and they do. Instead of  focusing on fighting the Cancer, they decide to accelerate the regeneration process to the point where the ratio of healthy and thriving cells to cancer cells, far exceeds it. And  before long, those healthy cells engulf the Cancer, leaving no trace of its wrath. I didn't read that anywhere, I just think it might be true. So I will try it. In order to make anything new; in order to create a regenerated me, I might have to start totally fresh- I might have to completely let go of  many many things: ideas, beliefs, labels. We shed cells of  our skin every day, I must shed resistance too, and build something entirely reborn, and new.