My husband, Steve, is a master gardener. He has created wonderful beauty in our gardens in every house in which we have lived. Most of our marriage, I did not contribute anything to the gardens. My shame would not allow me to even participate because I had no knowledge of how to grow things. Part of my Recovery has been discovering “what I like”. I had been so focused on meeting the needs of others that I had no idea what I wanted or needed. During my years of early recovery, Steve and I stayed at a beautiful Inn in Charleston, S.C. Our breakfast was served to us in the gardens of the house. I noticed that the walk was lined with geraniums in clay pots. I remember thinking how beautiful this looked. I told Steve that I wanted him to teach me to pot geraniums for our side porch.
He was thrilled that I wanted to participate in our garden. Over the past decades this has become a tradition every spring for us to go to our favorite nursery and pick out red geraniums. I am also in charge of maintaining them for the summer.
One day as I was pulling off dead leaves and wilted blossoms, I realized this was a great metaphor for my recovery. I am responsible to weed out old resentments and shame that linger inside of me. Like my geraniums, I will not grow if I am waited down with people and circumstances that I cannot control or beliefs about myself that are not true. Also, like my geraniums, this process is on going. I have to intentionally take inventory of what hurts are lingering. When I identify the hurts, I need to look at what is keeping me from letting them go. My spiritual growth depends on weeding out the old. Telling a close friend or mentor is a good way to start talking about our hurts. But sometimes we know something is wrong, but we need a therapist help us unearth hurts that are still hidden but are affecting our life with unwanted consequences. Then healing can begin.