Shaking Out the Roots

I keep poking my head in here lately, wondering what I will find. Strangely, though, I’m not looking for anything in particular. It’s less that I’m uninspired to write, and more probably that I am ankle-deep, knee-deep, waist-high, maybe even in-over-my-head in the life around me rather than the one within – as if there is really a distinction. They are, of course, one and the same. But I realize there are indeed cycles, and I find myself on the creating-building-doing side of that turn lately, which naturally seems to translate to less presence here.

I remember a consult I had just about exactly a year ago with a wonderful local astrologer. She said many things that were both accurate and insightful. And then she said this, or something like it: “The next few years will be all about working very hard – both personally and professionally.” I am pretty sure at the time I groaned, inwardly at least. Hard. Work. Not very appealing words, and not because I don’t love working hard, but because they came at a time I associated them largely with another word: struggle. Where was the joy?

If you believe Alfred Adler and passionate teachers of his work like Vicki Hoefle of Parenting On Track, work is nothing short of worth. Work is how we engage in the world. Work is a vehicle for contributing – whether you’re cleaning toilets (as Aviva did this past weekend), editing a report (which Greg is doing across the couch from me), hauling a giant tub of locally produced tofu (as I spotted a client doing at the grocery store a few days ago), or helping a child with a transition into her day (as our kids’ teachers do on a regular basis). Work can be an expression of our values and/or a way to nourish ourselves both literally and figuratively.

My work journey, as you probably know if you’ve been hanging around these parts for more than twenty minutes, has been a searching one – and I have found my way to a role where I support others in their searching journeys. I have worked hard, yes, with clients. God knows with kids. And marriage. To maintain friendships and to be a good neighbor and community member. And I have worked to move through my own fears, worked to get more comfortable in my own skin, taking up room, being still. These are my themes, well-worn by now. Sometimes, I’ve worked hard at writing about them, and someday I hope to return to the hard-working task of that elusive book project of mine…

But in the meantime, my energy is going into piecing together the different facets of my coaching work into some kind of mosaic, like the tiled bathroom floor in the Buffalo house where I was a young girl. It was beautiful, complex, and unified.

**

I am so excited to be joining the staff of the new Vermont Center for Yoga and Therapy:

We are a multidisciplinary group of practitioners oriented toward the goal of supporting clients as they journey from illness to healing or simply discover themselves in a deeper way. Our common goal is to provide a safe, comfortable space for this journey.

Beginning in May, I will be there part-time as an independent contractor, both coaching individual clients as I do in my home office as well as offering a variety of group coaching opportunities through workshops.

**

On Sunday, my parents came up for a spontaneous overnight visit. We enjoyed a walk by the lake, flew a kite with the girls, strolled along the boardwalk, and then stopped at the market on the way home to pick up a few things for dinner. We also got a bag of potting soil, as my mom said she’d help me re-pot my houseplants.

When we got home, we carried them all outside. One by one, we took each pot, lifted out the plant, shook out the dry soil and loosened the roots before gently placing it back in the pot and pouring in the rich new soil. Once they were all done, my mom hosed them all down. And there they stood in the sun, practically smiling.

One of the plants had become rootbound, meaning its roots had become so crowded that they were growing around themselves. They had nowhere to go and were growing instead in circles, limiting the plant’s growth if not strangling it altogether. Roots apparently like the coziness of a container – like a child being swaddled – but also need to shake loose sometimes.

As for me, I have been growing here in my sweet cozy home office for a few years now, and I’m ready to extend my roots further out into the community, to plant myself in some rich new soil, to shake loose a bit. Like the plants themselves, you can practically see me smiling in the sun. Sleeves rolled up, hands in the dirt, ready to work.

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