Wednesday, April 11, 2012

To Garden is to believe in tomorrow~

This is it, my empire of dirt, my garden. Every year around this time, I start dreaming of growing things- planting spuds, like any good Idahoan, and peas and lettuce and such. So I’m in my garden, assessing the scene of last year’s crime. In 2011, my garden was a disaster. I was away from home, working another job, and nothing was planted at the right time. No soil was tilled, no weeds pulled. As I sweated with my shovel yesterday, digging out crazy-huge weed carcasses, I realized I didn’t have much of a veggie garden last year, but I was growing something else instead. I’ve been growing myself. And the more I dug and thought, the more I realized I’ve grown more in the last year than I have in a long time, stretched myself in ways I didn’t imagine I would. What did I do?

I took a class.

I’ve blogged about this before, but I took a leadership class through work. The value of the class wasn’t the actual training, although it was excellent. The real value was that I met some incredible human beings who were and are on the same journey I’m on. To be able to share that experience with them was truly an honor. And though I’m not physically close to any of them now, we keep in touch and I know they’re thinking about me.

I self-published two books.

I’ve blogged about this too. I wrote a fairy story nobody in publishing wanted and I couldn’t let it lie in a drawer. I never expected it would be a best seller, but I wanted to share it with people, so I did. I overcame a fear to do it and I can’t help but feel proud of it.

I placed among the finalists in a writing contest.

As a result of that placement, I got a request for a full manuscript and threw myself into an unlikely writing project. I took the project to a novel revision retreat and met the indomitable Wildcats, another new tribe I had the privilege to join. The Wildcats are a group of ladies whose zest and enthusiasm for writing outshines my own, and it’s contagious. I let myself be critiqued and learned how to become a better writer for it. At least I hope I have. So I have worked hard at writing this year, giving up almost all TV in fact.

I started social networking in earnest.

I don’t social network to the degree that some do, but at my own pace. On Facebook, I reconnected with people I knew eons ago, who actually remember me and graciously allow me glimpses into their daily lives as if we never skipped a beat. And I connected with new friends too, with Wildcats and leaders and writers.

On Twitter, I’ve made friends truer than I ever would have thought possible. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 people now “follow” me (for some reason I cannot fathom). I can only assume they, too, are compatriots on the same journey I am, to reach out to others, to pay it forward, to share joys and sorrows with, to laugh and cry with. Twitter has been a wonderful reminder for me that there are kind, gentle souls on this planet like me. It’s restored my faith in humanity.

I traveled.

Because of the class I took and the retreat I attended, I was fortunate enough to visit Denver, Phoenix, Washington DC and Ashton, Idaho. I also went to Salt Lake City last fall and Albuquerque this spring. I’m convinced every American should see their capital at least once. For me, traveling meant not only new places and new sights, but new joys and more new friends.

I connected with my dad again.

I’ve talked to my dad more in the last four or five months than I probably have in the last four years. I’m not proud of that, but I’m thankful I have the opportunity to talk to him. Love you Dad.

I don’t tell you all of this to brag, but maybe just to encourage you to stretch, to move, to go somewhere you’ve never been, to friend someone you may never meet and to love life like crazy, to grow your garden.

I’m about to submit that manuscript. Maybe the agent will want to represent me. Maybe not, but that really doesn’t matter. What matters is I grew my garden and I blossomed. I hope you will too.