Thriving: Listen to Your Heart

DSC09805 (2)The above picture is a great example of me not really listening to my heart.

This past fall, I had this idea to set up a green house and grow some plants for the yard. I had a metal decorative gazebo in the back yard where I thought I could set things up. Under the gazebo, is a long since dead hot tub that I turned into a planter a couple of years ago.

My first thought was to maybe put a simple cover of clear plastic over the hot tub to protect any new flowers I might grow. When I got my seeds, I did a fall planting.  I didn’t get a cover at that time, because I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. When you fall plant, nature just sort of does its own thing and doesn’t need help. The plants emerge on their own good time. And since it wasn’t a big project, I thought I would play it by ear.

In January, I was bored. I had all of these thoughts and feelings running through my mind about what I didn’t get done in my garden last year. I wanted to make up for lost time. So, I made big plans.  What if I did a plant sale? What if I made a sturdy greenhouse, using the gazebo, with good plastic reinforced sheeting and planted a lot of seeds? I would be able to sell my plants and make some money to pay off some bills and still have plants for the garden.

That idea took root.

I sat down and figured out the costs for soil, seeds, extra pots, and the plastic cover. I came up with the number of plants I would need to grow to break even. If I grew more, I’d make a profit!

Then I decided that I could make some plant related decorations to sell at my plant sale.  I wasn’t sure what, but I had lots of ideas!

I could also find garage sale things to add to my sale. It could be a Plant and Yard Sale!


So, I bought more seeds and soil. I measured and remeasured the gazebo, then found some really sturdy reinforced plastic and pots. Greg helped me set up the plastic. We twisted and folded and tied things down. It wasn’t quite right, but I was eager to get started on my project and we called it good.

I planted lots of seeds in my little pots. There were herbs, flowers, and veggies. I watered and watered.

I studied my project books to see what garden related items I could make to sell.

I struggled.

I couldn’t come up with what to make with what I had on hand. I started to look for yard sale items to sell.

Then I grew bored. It was cold and wet outside. I made another list of things I needed to do in the house to keep me busy: spring cleaning stuff.  I set to work on that. I paid less attention to the greenhouse. I would water all the plants, but nothing really thrived. The greenhouse was crowded with pots.  With the hot tub planter in the center, there wasn’t much room to move around. I didn’t have enough seeds planted to make my earning quota yet, so I started bulk planting seeds in clear tubs, which made it more crowded.

I grew stressed. I was tired. But mostly, I was sad

My heart had said let’s enjoy our yard and grow flowers. That’s all it had said.

My brain/ego kicked in and tried to make my heart’s desire “better.” My mind said it wasn’t enough. It needed more.

Ah … no. It didn’t.

You see, I was forgetting some really important things.  I hate selling things. I mean I really hate it. I would rather give and share my plants, my things, my ideas, my knowledge, than sell them. Selling is not my thing.  It brings me no joy.

And if I had not been spending money, not buying things for this project, I would have saved money that I could have used on the bills I wanted to pay off.

I know these things. I really do. But for a moment (okay, for two months), I let my head and my fear of not having enough, push my heart aside.

Like pretty much everything else, it’s taken me awhile to pay attention to my heart. Whatever you choose to call it: your inner voice, your conscience, your spirit, or your heart, it will tell you what you need to know, what to do, to thrive. You just have to listen.

In your heart lies your core values, the essence of who you are and your true north.

You can ignore your heart. You may even temporarily bloom a bit while doing so. But eventually, going against your nature will have an impact. Your heart will make itself known. You will get cranky, sick, tired, exhausted, or just plain confused and angry.

In my case, just yesterday in fact, not following my heart made itself known with a crashing bang.

We have windstorms in Reno; really, really, big windstorms. Living on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada means that the 100 mile an hour winds that pummel the mountain crests, tumble their way into our yards. The trees on the slopes help to slow it down to 40 miles an hour or so, but we still get regular gusts to 50-65. The wind (aka Mark Twain’s Washoe Zephyr) almost always proceed our rain/snowstorms. It takes down wood fences, trees, kid’s playsets, portable garages, and yes, my greenhouse.

I’ve lived in this house for nearly 20 years. I know the weather and the wind. Some 12 years ago it blew in a child’s stuffed animal, a dog, that stayed stuck in one of my trees until 16 months ago. It finally had dropped low enough to where I could take it out of the branches with a rake. It was faded but in one piece. I figured anything that had been through 10 years of Washoe weather had earned a place in my life.  I washed him up and he sits in my office.

My neighbor regularly collects tin siding that blows into his yard from somewhere in the area. He’s gotten enough to use to repair the roof on one of his sheds.  It’s sort of nature’s own form of recycling.

So yeah, crazy windstorms.

Getting back to the greenhouse…  Just yesterday morning I was talking to Greg about my frustration with the plant sale, how I was struggling with a lot of stuff and I was thinking about quitting the whole thing. After our chat, I was reading a book and listening to the wind howl outside. I thought I heard a crash. The wind was so noisy though, it was hard to tell.

A little while later I looked out the back window. An empty pot rolled across the deck. I remember thinking “oh, I guess I missed putting it in the greenhouse.”

Then, I looked over at the greenhouse. Or at least, what was left of the greenhouse.

I was oddly non-plussed.

Just like that my plant sale was gone. Pots were crushed. Plants were sucked out of the dirt, pretty much none of the January plants remained.

“Oh, all righty then,” I thought, and shut the drape. I wasn’t upset.

I was relieved. My heart was relieved. I went back to reading my book.

Later, after wind had died down, Greg and I tucked what plants were left,  back under the plastic for now. This week, I’ll see what is still there and keep them covered until I can plant them somewhere in my yard later in the spring.

Oh, and you know what else was still left? Those tiny little seedlings from last fall’s plantings.

I’m back full circle to what my heart wanted me to do in the first place.











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