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spring is here! life is growing all around us.  i mean, i suppose it's always growing--the rest of dormancy being so necessary for the cycle--but right now i can really see it happen over the course of the days.  we have four pots of tomatoes shooting up on our front porch, salad greens thriving in the  back balcony window box, and our ledroit park plot is filling in with spicy radishes and mustard greens, among other things.  i love it because  it was my dream for years to garden.  i wanted to dig in the dirt and wear rubber shoes and eat from my own efforts.  that dream seemed complicated and far away for so long, but like all dreams, now that it's here nothing seems simpler.  i just put good seeds in fertile soil and stand back.

it's important to remember that, right? when the time is right for something to happen, it feels incredibly simple.  the next step is always the easiest one and the secret is always faith.  one of my favorite yoga sutras is 1.14. "practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness."  i do believe that we can create what we want through shifting our perspective from lack to fullness and seeing the world through a filter of gratitude.  i also believe this can be a really long, arduous journey that will bring up a lot of muck in the process.

last night i finished reading brene brown's new book, daring greatly.  as a social researcher who studied vulnerability and shame over the past decades, she began to notice that a small group of people set themselves apart as "wholehearted" (her word to describe them).  she found that although we all deal with the muckiness--shame, low self-esteem, compulsion, etc--the people who seem to grow from it are the one who "dare greatly" and reach out during their most difficult moments.  the courageous act of reaching out in those moments and laying it all out helped those wholehearted people to see that 1) we all deal with this stuff so we can be compassionate with ourselves  2) even if we do bad things or if bad things happen to us, it doesn't mean we aren't also worth of love, joy and connection.

i love this idea and try to practice it as much as i can in my life.  it asks me to do on a daily basis what feels counter intuitive to the happiness i hope to receive.  instead of impressing the world around me with how perfectly beyond fault i am, all i have to be is honest and truthful about what i feel.  this is difficult for me.  it makes me think about my time as a sensitive fourth grader who just wanted to read during recess in the shady spot, leaning up against the cool brick wall.  after a few days of doing this, my teacher told me she was worried for me and i had to start playing games like four square and HORSE with the other kids.  squinting in the sun, i slowly walked out to the blacktop and started following other peoples rules.  this went on for a good long while in my life.

over a long practice of self-inquiry, i have come to remember that i am introvert who loves connecting at my own pace with people i trust.  when i get overtired and overstimulated by the world, i start to doubt myself and try to compensate by trying to give others what they want.  brene brown calls this our worthiness "hustle." that word feels really right to me because of how mechanic and exhausting it can be.  in those moments, it can be really hard to figure out what i am actually feeling.  yet when i do interrupt that process with the honest space of a yoga class or a cathartic journaling session or by talking to my short-list of confidants, i have no choice but to just be with my messy self.  once i am there, i am surprised by how accurately i know my feelings and how cleansing it can be just to tell the truth.  what's more, i find when i am willing to be in this honest space, i am so much better at being there for the people that i love during their difficult moments.  looking back at my life, i see how crucial these moments have been for my own growth and how much sharing them with my confidants has bonded us together.

yay truth! yay connection! yay brene brown for having the courage to give it all a name! although i think it will take me the rest of my days to fully learn this lesson, i am content for the long practice ahead.  the deep sweetness that lurks amidst all the the sweaty ardor makes walking this path well worth it.