This blog post was actually written last summer, though it seems apt to share with you all now.
We have a passion flower in our back garden. Over the summer it’s been flourishing with beautiful blooms. Without even noticing it’s quickly claimed ownership of a corner of the house wall, threatens to engulf the neighbouring fence and desperately needs another trellis to support its ongoing ascent up the house. But it wasn’t always like this. A few winters ago heavy snow fall claimed it as a victim. It struggled along in its pot but by the end of the following summer it was clear that it had died. Or so we thought. Little did we know that a root had embedded itself in the ground and, although the area was now clear, the root held on. So without us even realising the plant made a comeback and with no help from us has turned into a specimen more abundant and healthier than it was before.
It reminds me that sometimes, something needs to ‘die’ or retreat back to its roots to regain strength to start again. Using our passion flower as a metaphor it reminds us that sometimes the apparent death, loss or failure of something is actually a necessary step to enable what we seek to flourish. A few weeks ago we decided that we could no longer maintain our allotment, however much we wanted to. Too much was happening in our lives and we simply couldn’t do everything…something had to go, however resistant we were. I undertook a shamanic journey to my Helping Spirits to ask what we would learn if we relinquished our lease. I was told that, “Failure is in the eye of the beholder.” Whilst one person admires a Cubist Picasso painting for hours, another walks on by completely unimpressed. And so what may be a failure from one person’s perspective is a necessary release for another to enable them to move onto new and better things.
So we now have our garden and a few vegetable grow-bags at home – what we felt was overwhelming on the allotment inspired us to look at what we can do at home and already we look forward to Brussels sprouts (they may have a reputation but to me they’re delicious), beetroot, carrots and the like. This, in my view, reflects a fundamental aspect of shamanic practice: the ability to perceive the bigger picture in all things (or perhaps more appropriately, being comfortable with not knowing) and realising that sometimes part of the process entails letting go of something either to make way for something new or to enable it time to retreat before flourishing better, healthier and more sustaining than it was before.
Oftentimes we spend so much of our time and energy distracting ourselves from pain or keeping it all together and being resistant to not processing our emotions and inner turmoil. Shamanic healing gets to the fundamental root of an issue and so challenges us to release and be open to change, whatever that change may be. Such a process can be a challenge for those around us particularly as reactions to life and our worldview starts to alter in subtle yet profound ways. People may question you, try to stop you in their own way or fear that you are heading for failure with your new found enthusiasm for life. But, “Failure is in the eye of the beholder,” and whilst you go through your own inner healing and transformation process you are like the passion flower root, resting, healing, nurturing yourself so that you can re-enter the world healthier, more whole, more you, ready to flower and share your inherent beauty with all around you.