Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities; it is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend. Sarah Ban Breathnach
Several months ago, I was on a business trip in California.
We had met with interesting and influential people, accomplished what we’d hoped to, and I couldn’t ask for better business partners. It was a perfect business trip until…
Until a chance conversation with someone I’d known as a child.
And in the space of moment, my capable, in control-of-my-world adult self had dissolved; I was again a young girl who felt incompetent, fearful, and out-of-control.
I was undone, and terribly sad.
As I tried to make meaning of what had happened, talking it through with several of my trusted friends, it became clear I was going to have to choose how I would remember, or frame, this snippet of time.
Yes — I’d had several hours of profound sadness and loss. But hadn’t this unexpected juxtaposition of my childhood and adult self allowed me to see my trajectory — to see who I’ve become?
Was the trip a disaster? A success? Both?
My choice — my secret garden.
And what of our current economic environment, and its impact on our net present value?
Nearly all of us are worth less today than we were six months ago. But isn’t it good to have a legitimate reason for belt-tightening, for teaching our children to prioritize. Relatively few children in the developed world have any sense of what it’s like to scrabble and scrape, to really hunger after opportunity.
Is our forced floundering a disaster? A success? Both?
There’s a marvelous quote by Martha Beck which I’d like to share with you. I’m ambivalent about her because she’s spoken so negatively about my faith…but in the context of this post, it would be a disservice to us all to not share what she’s written.
You get to decide…whether your toughness will look like unreachable bitterness or unstoppable resilience; your tenderness the raw vulnerability of a never-healing wound, or a kindness so deep it heals every wound it touches. Regret can be your worst enemy or your best friend. You get to decide which.
Our choice — our secret garden.
What are you going through that is difficult? Or have gone through? How are you framing this experience? If a disaster, where’s the success?
In what areas of your life are you unstoppably resilient? What experience did you have that helped you develop this resilience?
In what areas of your life, or to whom, is your kindness so deep, it heals every wound it touches? What experience fostered that kindness?
P.S. Several of you have mentioned that you have thoughts, but don’t want to share them in a public forum — I hope you will. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so, please let me know what I can do to make this feel like a safe place? In the meantime, perhaps you can post anonymously.