We have a huge yard now.
I am from the city where we dig up the patch of grass between the sidewalk and the street just to have a garden. Seattle is famous for its gardens growing everything from artichokes to edible flowers in such spots.
And now I feel somewhat lost in all this space. I know how to garden in small spaces, how to tuck lavender along the edges of a garden box and how a butterfly bush will in a few years take up more real estate than you imagined.
I went out to attempt my first moments in the earth here. I had some cat mint and lavender, simple.
My new gray felt hat was on and the grass was wet from the rain the night before. I knelt down on my kneeling pad and started to dig. I could smell the dirt, the time that only earth can hold in scent.
I looked down and my shirt was covered in ticks. The big ones, the lentil ticks.
About 7 ticks in a clump.
I jumped up and ran inside pulling them off and drowning them in the toilet. Then I saw them crawling up my legs towards the others. At least 4 more.
I was kind of freaking out. I know we have ticks here. I've pulled off three on the boys so far.
But this was like a hostile take over of my body. I was in the grass for all of 3 minutes before this happened.
As a kid I would have nightmares about these little creatures with crazy legs.
I got in the shower and prayed that I had found them all.
I spent the rest of the day itching every time my skin felt the slightest sensation.
I posted something about getting the yard sprayed for ticks and other bugs on Instagram. It never occurred to me that it would provoke any feelings from others. I just was telling part of my story, which is how I stay connected with my tribe, especially in times when I am inside of a long program and feeling a bit hibernated with them.
There were some automatic feelings that I was doing something wrong. There was also some really good discussion around what people use themselves to spray or put on their kids.
The thing was, no one asked what we were spraying with. Maybe the majority assumed chemicals, I have no idea. But regardless, it was a rather crazy opening of thoughts from others.
I love engaging in social media conversations that teach me and teach others.
I will admit, I don't like to be told what to do or not do or feel judged.
Both were swirling.
I had this moment of clarity of how easy it is to shame or assume or judge based on a few words and a photo. Without asking. Without letting the other person have their space, even if it is opposite of what we believe.
This is why I never talk politics.
This is why I don't engage in debates around things that are crucially important to both sides of an argument. (I used to, I was a wildly opinionated teenager.)
This is why when our 5 children who all have different faiths and religious or non-religious beliefs talk about God I remind them God can be for one and not for another but that we are all born to love and to allow others to have their own mind. And then I tell them that I have believed everything and nothing and the woman I am today is built upon that journey.
But wait, the story gets better.
I have this feeling after feeling kind of lectured and accused of doing something I wasn't even doing, this feeling that the women I work with have expressed.
This fear of social media. Of being judged. Of being shamed. Of the small itsy-bitsy things they share being taken as offensive to others and then feeling like crap about that.
I understood the vulnerability that these women feel when they try to share more of their life (as I ask them to) on social media so that they can build trust and love with their tribe.
I have worked for 9 years to create safe boundaries around social media and I take for granted the beautiful pink bubble of safety that surrounds my space and my sharing.
Being struck by this vulnerability and seeing how easily something we say can make someone have such strong feelings without them asking for any clarification, I wrote another post.
About just that.
I am a pleaser, or reformed pleaser, but honestly, I really do want the people in my life to feel happy, good, amazing.
It would have been easiest for me to let it pass, to not care about it.
Confrontation makes me weak in the knees, and not in that I've got a crush way.
I decided to talk about how some of the responses made me feel.
How easy it can be to make these assumptions about someone or push our beliefs on someone with so little information.
People who had simply been interested in what I was doing, and actively engaged in a beautiful conversation around treating and dealing with ticks thought that I was upset with them.
Assumed that they had done something wrong.
Oh, my gorgeous Highly Sensitive Tribe. I could not love you more.
More assumptions were being made. On yet another post.
My heart started beating fast. I had a panic attack.
I felt like an asshole.
I used to blog 3 times a week and write a newsletter. My sharing was deep and wide and now it is smaller in the public eye but crazy wide open in my courses.
There is so much vulnerability and truth telling through my work that I forget I am not telling it all to the world.
I forget that saying a few sentences about something is not enough.
And yet, isn't that enough? Isn't that OK?
Isn't it OK if you don't agree with me?
Because I may not agree with you but I can still love you and honor you.
I can still blast you with silent love even while holding true to what I believe.
I'm sorry if I made anyone feel bad with my post. That was so not the intention.
My intention was to remind us all that we don't know the full story, ever. These sharings are a glimpse into someone's inner world.
And I will still adore you even if you spray your lawn with chemicals so that you have no ticks (which I don't choose by the way, we are using organic essential oils, a little detail that I was happy to share if asked).
I choose to teach through my learning and through what sharing feels good.
This taught me so much about assumptions and how quick we are to push our opinions on someone else. To assume that we are right, that everyone else is wrong.
Doesn't this past Presidential election alone highlight how terrifying it is to know that not everyone agrees with us? And fear is powerful.
My sweet friend illuminated this all for me when she said, "a mama's gotta do. and whether its w chemicals or ess oils or straight vodka.... we should just offer one another the space and freedom to do as she damn pleases.. amen, amen."
Thank you sweet friend. Being Mama is an incredibly powerful and exhausting and loving job, a little space to be who we are inside of it feels like freedom.
We can fight for the earth, against chemicals or whatever else it is we believe in by using love and compassion as our guiding mantras.
I'm off to have a Bloody Mary and think about how we can all find more love, compassion and empathy. It starts right here.
We have a huge yard now.