In the last few blog posts I’ve shared several initiatives I’ve instituted in an attempt to grow, learn and trust. It’s time for an in-process update to hold myself accountable and hopefully inspire blog readers along the way.
First, in the area of growth, my garden is coming along well. It is crazy how far it has developed in the last month. My tomato plants are sprouting flowers, the onions are shooting to the sun and my potatoes are coming up faster than the weeds. To date, I only have one zucchini plant growing, have not located an actual bean plant and out of 100 seeds of carrots, 3 that have sprouted.
This little garden of mine is quite the life metaphor. While some plants are growing extensively and have every promise of a large harvest, many seeds have failed to show any promise. It may be that beans and zucchinis won’t take to this soil or that they need more time or that there was some sort of operator error—who knows. What I do know is that not everything thrives in one given environment. Perhaps zucchinis prefer soil that’s less dense to the thick clay available. I can’t blame them for that.
Unfortunately they can’t uproot themselves and find a better place to thrive. They will have to deal with the cards they’ve been dealt. Thankfully if you’re reading this blog, you probably aren’t a plant. You get to choose where you want to grow. If you’re starting to wilt—time to move on. If you’re sick of the gray days and your soul cries out for more sun, time to move or take a sabbatical. We are such gloriously creative creatures, with the continued opportunity to create our own environments or move to places that better foster our growth.
I also completed a few great books last month, including Italian Ways and How to Survive without a Salary. I choose these two books for entirely divergent reasons. The first being, I’m super excited to go to Italy and want to learn about the culture. Second, I’m quitting my job and not sure when I will be able to make a steady income again.
Italian Ways shares one Englishman, turned Italian’s journey throughout the country via trains. He provides his observations on how the trains have influenced and been shaped by the culture of Italy. I loved his insights about how people interact on trains and how different North and South Italy are. The juxtaposition between the North and South is fascinating, with many young adults leaving the South to gain an education and solid employment, but being drawn back to the soul of Southern Italy, with it’s laid back nature and focus on tradition and family.
How to Survive without a Salary shares one family’s “conserver” lifestyle, based on reducing costs and material needs and using “casual income” to meet their remaining need for cash. I loved this book because it explained how to take advantage of the used market, grow your own food, trade with others and make a living creating unique value for others. Overall, it was a great book on how to live creatively frugal and meet your needs in uncommon ways.
Last weekend Ryan and I had the privilege of sharing his metal art with Cincinnati at Coney Island’s Summer Fair. Although the forecast wasn’t promising, it turned out to be a beautiful weekend, full of great people and sales. Following reading How to Survive without a Salary, as well as pondering other ways to save, it felt almost blasphemous to sell people things they didn’t necessarily need.
As the sales slowed at times, I thought to myself, well this is because these people don’t need this stuff. Yes, it is well made and has a unique style, but is it necessary? Given my thoughts and lack of sales, as I stood in the booth, I was convinced that Ryan couldn’t sell anything while I was present.
Then a lady stepped into our booth and told us a story about a piece of art she bought a few years ago, the deep sea diver. She had purchased it for a friend who lost her husband, a grandfather that had loved to dive. She told me how charming it was in their house and how all the grandkids kissed it and said “I love you grandpa” each time they saw it.
Reflecting on her story, I felt humble. Humbled by the fact that so many people have found joy in appreciating the wonderful things Ryan has built. Perhaps some pieces were frivolous purchases, but many meant a lot to people and came with stories of gratitude and love.
This was my time to learn trust. In the mist of giving up an income, I often feel like I have to hold onto every dollar dearly. It’s a scarcity mindset that is continually challenged as money continues to flow into our lives as we provide art and service to others. Whenever you are truly passionate about something and it comes from your heart, there will be a buyer ready to honor that energy.
This weekend, create an opportunity for yourself to grow, learn and trust, you never know what it will expose you to and how you may start to create a life you more deeply love.