Blazes and Cairns: Week of July 12, 2017

Patience is not my forte.

I like quick outcomes and immediate feedback.

In all areas, really: new hobbies, relationships, emotional processes, other people’s processes.

Come to find out, most of life doesn’t work so quickly and immediately.

I sometimes joke that the world of academia broke me. By which I mostly mean: I felt deeply unprepared for the “real world” when I left the structure and certainty of higher education.

As someone who works well within clearly delineated expectations, predetermined outcomes, and a constant stream of feedback, academia was a dream.

As someone who struggles within systems–especially as a person with little power within that system–academia was a nightmare.

Thank you, complexity. Thank you, Gemini sun sign.

For all of the things that were really difficult about academia, I loved it. I ate it up. I felt invigorated by it.

It was challenging, I was always learning new things, and I was constantly receiving feedback about how I was doing. The path was pretty clear.

Being an entrepreneur has some of those same qualities: it’s challenging, and I’m constantly learning new things. What’s been hard for me is the absence of the last two items: the constant feedback and a clear path.

I’ve been working on building and flexing those muscles.

I’ve been working on showing up for my work because I love it and believe in it and not for the external feedback and praise I receive for it.

I’ve been working on breathing through the lack of certainty around the way this current chapter of my life is unfolding. I am working on being committed to showing up and doing my part. And, as I noted in last week’s post, I am really working on trust. Surrender. Letting go.  

It’s hard work to stay the course when things feel challenging or difficult. When there isn’t a copious amount of external validation for the work I am doing. To show up for my work and for myself because I believe in myself and the importance of the work in the world.

For me:
It’s about creating a daily routine.
It’s about learning how to work more efficiently.
It’s about learning more about social media channels that are less familiar to me.
It’s about networking and meeting people and putting myself out there again and again.
It’s about remembering that roots take a long time to grow into the earth.

This week, the 8 of Roots reminds us that building something new takes time, and that we need to start at the foundation, the roots.

We need to build from the bottom up.

We may be in the midst of building something, or we may be about to embark on a new journey or endeavor.

In contrast to some other cards that speak to outside influence on our good fortune or outcome, the 8 of Roots is all about the work we are putting in.

We are the ones that need to show up for ourselves here, whatever the work may be.

What area of your life could use some tending to right now? What are you at the beginning stages of, or what needs more work and attention?

If you’ve ever tended to something that needs to take root in the ground to grow, you know the importance of nurturance and a careful eye. You know the importance of commitment and of showing up.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching people in my life grow and nurture things recently–put in the work–and I’ve been lucky enough to reap some of the rewards.

My bextie planted a garden this spring. I’ve watched them nurture it with loving hands and a thoughtful eye. I know it’s taken regular watering and pruning. It’s taken commitment.  

And I’ve been a recipient of the bounty: fresh lettuce that tastes like sun, joy from watching the marigolds begin to bloom, and delight in seeing peppers begin to take their form.

Another good friend has been raising rabbits–meticulously following a breeding schedule. I’ve greeted adorable adult rabbits in their backyard cages. I’ve held tiny bunnies in my hand. Nothing is like holding a baby bunny against your chest. Believe.

I’ve been growing things too, although they take a different form and feel less tangible. Again, as someone who appreciates pretty immediate outcomes and feedback, it has been harder to acknowledge the ways I am cultivating the new home space I moved into in May. The ways I have been growing my business. The ways I am shifting and transforming and moving through the world differently.

But I guess if I was standing over the lettuce or tomato plants everyday, it would be pretty hard to discern the growth that was taking place.


So: trust. Trust is a part of this process as well.

But we shouldn’t delude ourselves: only trust the foundation if we’ve put the work in. Don’t skimp. Don’t take the easy way out.

We have the opportunity this week to show up for our work and for ourselves. Show up wholly for that work.

Build the foundation with care but watch the urge to be meticulous or a perfectionist about it–we can do our part and then let the rest go.

Let the drive for an external reward or outside praise go, too. These roots are for us. For our foundations. To hold us up upright when the strong winds blow.

Questions for reflection as you move through this week:

  • What area of your life could use a (more) solid foundation?
  • How can you show up with commitment to that work?
  • What rewards have you reaped from other things you have built in your life?

May you show up for yourself.
May you let go of outcomes.
May you build from the bottom up.

With much gratitude,

P.S. If your spiritual life needs more roots, consider joining me for “Exploring Spirituality as Queer and Trans Folks: Reconnecting with the Divine.” I’ll be leading this weekend workshop on August 19 and 20. Click here for more info.

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