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Evolution of a willing vessel (Why you’re not lazy, or clueless, or careless, or selfish)

I – Noticing the dead places

Have you ever pruned a plant before?

You see the dead places and you clear them away, leaf by dead leaf, bloom by shriveled bloom.

You pay attention.

You go slowly.

If you go too fast you accidentally clear out live growth. You bust weak but well stems and knock off tender blooms and buds.


It all begins with the noticing.

You notice the dead places.


And if you’re like me or many I know, when you get a good look at them you might start to feel some shame – at having done it again, neglected it again, not tended to its needs like you aren’t tending to your own.

And just like that you see the plant reflecting your own self-care practices and shortcomings. Right. Back. At you.


Hot damn.


II – Trying to heal from a broken place

So you water the plant, giving it extra to try to right the balance you’ve inadvertently upset.

(This mostly doesn’t help – again, reflecting so much of your own truth back to you.)

Soon your automatic responses start to kick in. Perhaps you recognize some of these ones:

  • Waves of hope-laced shame and shame-laden hope. But you were doing so well! You can’t believe you messed up, again. You really thought this time was different. When will you just get this shit right?


  • Blaming yourself, doubting yourself, berating yourself. This sounds like all the crappy things you say to yourself when things go wrong, all the very specific and unkind ways you speak to yourself that make it all about fault and place that fault squarely on YOU. If only you had done  X. Why do you always mess up Y? You just can’t follow through on anything, can you?


  • Making yourself a victim of big C or little c circumstance. This sounds like all the ways the fault belongs everywhere BUT with you. You couldn’t do X because Y. You would have done X but Y. Nothing ever goes right for you. You just can’t win. You never catch a break.


  • Forced distraction from your transgression. This is where you get so busy with other people’s needs that you forget about your own. (This isn’t entirely accidental, you know.) You carry on as normal, you pretend nothing’s wrong. The problem continues to grow.


  • Head-in-sanding about the severity of the damage. It’s no big deal. You can manage. Make do. Fix it. Handle it. This is the land of juggling, of settling, of doing without and making do.


  • Frenetic energetic attempts to do more. You try to do all the things, all at once, all the days. You insist that you can and you refuse any offers of help that come forth. More juggling, more settling, more doing without and making do.


  • Last ditch wish-issuing and pleas for resurrection and new chances, made from an unsteady belief that this plant, this project, this relationship, this goal might yet come back to life still, because that’s totally happened before, you know.


Sometimes these innate “strategies” seem like they’re working. They may incite short-term results of one sort or another, but they’re neither healthy nor sustainable, they don’t feel good, and they just plain won’t actually get you what you really want.


III – How to heal for real

One day you get this hit of clarity and realize that the only times the plant ever does come back are when you really tend to it.

Tend to the actual plant in front of you instead of your ego or fears or other people’s ideas of how these things go.

Instead of momentarily over-watering it and then continuing to neglect it again, you take some tender loving time and really look at it. Where the broken bits are, what has browned and shriveled and deadened and collapsed. Look at it closely and respond to what you see, educating yourself on the parts you don’t yet know how to fix, and trusting the wisdom in what you do know.


So that is what you do now.


In other words you do, finally, the work.


And it feels like love, because it is.


IV – The knowing

This is the space where the not knowing turns to knowing.

And listen up, Friend. You must cast aside the idea that you should have known or could have done better. It’s time to allow yourself to feel and then release the anger, the regret, the shame at having made this mistake so many times before.


(This is the pesky part, I know. Don’t give up, Love.)


Just stay here, now, with THIS plant, in THIS space, at THIS time.

Or this slip-up, this transgression, this mistake.


(Because yes, we are talking about more than plants here, Dear.)  


All the parts up until NOW were in the NOT KNOWING.

Even though you thought you knew before, all the parts after NOW are in the KNOWING.

You see… you knew, but you didn’t KNOW.

KNOWING takes time.


Full attention and presence.

It takes a willing vessel.

Which is what you’ve been becoming.

You see, you weren’t messing up all those times before.

You weren’t being lazy, or clueless, or careless, or selfish.

You were just being human, learning how to notice, building up your ability to attend.

Going through the process of unhooking, untangling, disengaging, and dismantling from anything that doesn’t directly recognize and support your beauty, your truth, and the divine wisdom within you.

Recognizing as garbage all the things that hold you back and keep you down and tell tales of your unworthiness, your unloveability, your brokenness. You, my dear, are perfect. In the way that all real things are.


Though blemished, you are not flawed.

Though you make mistakes, there is no mistake in you.


You are right on time and totally ready.


V – The doing

The key to righting everything else is righting the way you relate to yourself.

You can set up all the checklists, read all the books, make all the plans and try all the things, but until you shift your mindset around what you deserve – JUST BY BEING, what constitutes real, true self-care for YOU, and how beautifully powerful and connected to divine truth you are, there will likely come a time when your willpower runs out, your insecurities step in, and your fears rise up and pull you away from the things you really want.

Now, that doesn’t mean the checklists and books and plans and things are wasted… I love all those things!! It just means that until they happen within the context of the KNOWING space, they’re part of the NOT KNOWING cycle that gets you ready but might not always bear the fruit you want or expect.

This state of self-knowing and understanding is an evolution. It’s birthed in whispers and nudges, breadcrumbs and head nods. It grows in toe dips and belly flops, cannonballs and breast strokes. It flourishes in sprints and distance runs, day trips and long hauls. It’s daring acts of faith proven true in practice, giving way to bright bold ownership and whole soul embodiment.


You journey, you arrive, you immerse and embrace, you get readied for the next right destination, you repeat.


This is how you #thriveandbloom.


Instead of looking to others for your answers, you start to recognize how they live within YOU. You learn how to hear them and how to act on them.


Instead of looking to others for approval and validation and love by putting their needs always before your own, you start to realize that you are already approved of, validated, and loved, just by being you, without having to DO anything at all. You learn how to release the need for a spot in your preferred Hall of Fame (be it Mom, Wife, Lover, Employee, Friend…) and how to figure out what it is YOU actually want and need.


Instead of settling for what’s become societally-accepted as self-care, you dare to declare what it is that will really, truly, care for YOU. You learn to identify your needs and wants beyond wine and handbags and pedis and snacks and how to let yourself abundantly meet those needs and wants with a wholehearted, voracious spirit.


This is the foundation for self-TLC: Self-Trust ~ Self-Love ~ Self-Care.


This is the work we do.


Are you ready for it?


















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