In Voltaire’s philisophical tale “Candide“, he concludes the story with the famous proclamation “Il faut cultiver notre jardin” or, in English “we must all tend to our garden”. After the main characters miraculously survive literal storms and incredible atrocities, they end up living in a little farmstead where each works to hone their god-given skills: baking, embroidery, teaching and of course, gardening. Life takes on a new rhythm on that farmstead that’s infused with getting into alignment with their gifts and pursuing a simpler lifestyle that allows their talents to grow.
Candide has taught me a lot about my life. Although I have not endured nearly as awful of a hero’s journey as did Candide, Pangloss and Cunegonde, I have been through an incredibly challenging sojourn these past three years which is evidenced by my unkept garden (and garage!). My “jardin” is a reflection of my inner world and it is time for some tending.
Change is in the air
In a few days I will say goodbye to my role as a high school French teacher, where I had the honor to teach Candide to a group of incredibly gifted French students this year. It has been a career that I have loved, but my inner voice is telling me that it’s time to move on, so I will be taking a leap of faith out into the unknown world of spiritual entrepreneurial work. Two things that I’m hoping to gain from this new way of life is what Candide and friends experiened at the end of their travels: alignment and a change in pace. Yes, it is time for me to move on and to tend to my physical and metaphorical garden.
My Artist’s Date
Last Friday I was burnt out. If you’ve been in a state of overwhelm lately, you know what I’m talking about. I was feeling tired, grumpy, sad, angry, frustrated and (my least favorite feeling of all) lonely. I had a decision to make: I could continue to stew in my sea of unhappy thoughts, or I could take myself out for an an artist’s date.
Julia Cameron, from the Artist’s WayThe Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore
something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly
“artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the
imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the
play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well
of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask
yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.
I chose the latter and my spirit was rewarded with a magical afternoon of pure joy!
My date began at my favorite park along the river where I hung out with a lone goose and listened to my Goddess Series playlist and just sat and breathed. The goose and I shared a connected moment of alone-ness, yet togetherness. He reassured me that I was going to be okay because of course I looked up the Spirtual Meaning of a Goose and this is what I found:
Spiritual Meaning of a GooseGoose represents determination, purposeful movement, and being an able pilot for our life’s journey.
Other key energetic traits for Goose include reliability, productivity, new ideas, joy, guidance, teamwork, quest fulfillment, watchfulness, and wisdom.
Thank you goose!! When I felt the urge to move on, I asked the goose to lead the way and shortly thereafter I was greeted by a whole flock of geese across the street from a parked Lime Scooter which called out “take me for a ride!” I traveled along the Boise Greenbelt, heart-opening music in my ears and a soft breeze on my face as I smiled at everyone I passed.
Eventually, I arrived at an outdoor music venue along the river where I parked my scooter next to a tree that bears the inscription “And remember what peace there may be in silence”. Yes indeed. I popped the earbuds out, embraced the music of the local band, sipped on a refreshing IPA and wrote in my journal of the sweetness of that serendipitous afternoon alone.
When I arrived home that evening, refreshed from following my bliss and full of inspiring new ideas, I turned to my garden. Yikes. What a mess!! In a flush of inspiration, I grabbed a pair of sheers and started to cut back a dead rosemary bush (RIP) and brought the branches over to my outdoor fire pit where I set them aflame later that evening. It’s then that I had the idea to host a Full Moon Goddess Garden Brunch to welcome in the Summer’s change of pace and to bless upcoming travels and aventures. The brunch and the Strawberry Sagittarius Full Moon will coincide with the monthly gathering for Soul Growth Book Club, where we are discussing the first three weeks of The Artist’s Way and I’ll have an exciting announcement about my upcoming Goddess Series, a combination of classes, workshops and mini-retreats designed to rekindle and uncage your inner divine spirit!
I am endebted to Voltaire and Julia Cameron for urging me to tend to my garden. And I am endebted to Sage International School and the students there for six life-changing years. As I prepare to say goodbye, it’s only fitting to acknowledge the student awards I received this year…
As you will notice, there’s not one recognition for teaching French! LOL. This is further confirmation that my compass is pointed in the right direction as I venture off to my new path as a spiritual teacher.
How are you tending to your garden?
As the pace shifts from the busy-ness of the school year to the lazy days of summer, how are you tending to your garden? Metaphorically speaking (and perhaps physically too if that’s your thing). Where, when and how are you making intentional time to care for your spirit and to engage in activities that light you up inside? I encourage you to share your fun adventures in the comments below! And if you’re not tending to your “jardin”, what’s holding you back?
In closing, I want to share a song that I’ve listened to since childhood. It was a favorite then, and the soothing voice of John Denver continues to be one that fills my spirit with joy, as I hope it will yours!
May your adventures this summer be full of joy, self-discovery, and a taste of the sweetness of life!