by Wendy Keller, author, blogger, workshop leader
One of my lifelong best friends called me last night. She was sitting in her car in a parking lot a few blocks from her home, crying because two of the people she loves most were being unkind, disrespectful, even cruel to her. It’s not the first time she’s called me in this situation over the last 30 years.
But she always goes back.
And I always wonder why.
Is it that she thinks she doesn’t deserve to be loved or treated with respect?
Is it that she believes if she just endures long enough, the situation will magically change?
Is it fear of the unknown – what her life would be like if she cut off those two transgressors and put a stake in the ground for her own happiness?
Maybe it’s all of those things – or none of them. How many times do YOU go back to something that causes you great pain…because you don’t know how to escape or are too scared to try?
I have some plants on my shady deck. The deck never even gets partial sun, yet I continue to buy flowering plants that require full sun. I know what will happen. The majority of them somehow manage to struggle along, although they quickly lose their vibrancy and drop their blooms. Meanwhile, the ferns and the coleus (shade plants) take over with incredible, joyful energy. They triple in size! They thrive. They love it! Why? Because they are in the right environment for themselves.
The faltering plants are not in the right place. I give them water and fertilizer, but just the basics aren’t enough for them. Does that make them wrong? Are they bad plants? No, it’s just that they are not in the optimal environment for themselves. Since they can’t move to the sunshine, they just eke out an existence. But you and my friend don’t have to put up or shut up. You can move.
Unlike the plants, you and my friend have the ability to make changes that would put you in an optimal environment, the one you naturally flourish in, the one that brings you exuberance, joie de vivre, growth.
Of course there’s a price to be paid for taking responsibility and deciding you will work in harmony with nature and find your own optimal environment. But the price of not finding it is never knowing the fullness of your self, never allowing yourself to blossom with joy in your optimal habitat. And after all, isn’t that what you are on this earth to do?