Growth Happens During Darkness

Travel has always been my reset, and with each adventure I can tell you the magical moment of shift and release.  With all the trials (both personal and world-wide) of the last year, I needed a hard stop between then, and whatever the future holds.   I've spent the last 2 months living with my brother, and being super close to the waterway, and not too far from the beach. A few weeks ago, I felt like I was tapping my toes waiting for that magical moment of relief. I started to question rather I had taken too much time away, because that left more time to wait for the release to happen.  A lot of my work happens while sitting in the floor, and staring out the window is my pause. With the proximity of the waterway, my backyard has been a nonstop source of inspiration, amazement, and random nature sightings.  Fun Fact: I've learned a lot about random animals, bugs in particular, due to my studies at UNCC under Dr. Stanley Schneider, the local honey bee expert.  Current Creature Count:

  • 2 Blue Crabs

  • 1 Black Snake

  • 1 Cute, and Diligent, Mouse

  • 2 Terrifying, Tree-Jumping Rats

  • 100's of Sunning Lizards that Scatter 

  • 2 Giant Green Lizards Who Finally Found Their Perfect Partner

  • 1000's of Mosquitoes Who WON'T Ruin my Good Time

  • 1 Neighborhood Cat Who Leaves us "Presents"

  • Too many Dragonflies and Butterflies to Count

But the most amazing phenomenon has been the nocturnal blooming of the cactus in the front yard. 

Fun cactus facts:

  • Cacti don't bloom until mature, if at all (some take up to 35 years)

  • Cacti only breathe (and bloom) at night to conserve energy

  • Cacti and Ants have symbiotic relationship. The cactus produces a nectar to entice the ants, and in turn the ant protect the cactus from smaller invaders. 

Back to the story! This particular cactus had NEVER bloomed before, and I had never seen a nocturnal plant, so I quickly became obsessed with checking in on the buds to guess which night was THE night.

The cactus had 7 different buds, which spaced out opening over a week, with 2 nights of double blooms! Each flower was fully alive for less than 12 hours. The flowers were their brightest in the dark of the night, and they shriveled up before 9am.  The most magical moments happened just after dawn, when the bees gathered the pollen!!  Each day, more bee friends would show up, each one so excited and wiggling their little bee butts. Fun Fact: Bees communicate through wiggle dances! The direction in which they dance, and the ferocity at which they wiggle give clear directions as to where to find the good stuff. 

Between the love-making lizards, the mouse on a mission, and the contrasting flower against the night sky, the slow miracle happened! I started to wake up, my senses were renewed, and the the child-like wonder returned.  All this free time, uncertainty, and upheaval created the perfect storm for my mental health to take a dive, and I was reminded of the most challenging part....caring enough to do the things I know make me feel better.   I've been on both sides: the one in my friends' faces telling them how amazing they are, and the one being bombarded with love only to feel even more revolting and undeserving.  When these dips happen, it can be too late for me personally to do the work. The real works happens in between the dips, a fortifying of my tool belt, so hopefully the next time won't be as intense or that I will be better equipped.  This valley made me realize how stubborn I've been in regards to letting people help me when I'm down. I can write in my journal, stare into the unknown dark ocean night, but the thought of having someone else see my pain has never made sense.  So I did something revolutionary, I asked for help. I put my best google skills to work, and found an affordable option for therapy. I haven't had my first session yet, but the simple steps leading up to the real work has already created some ease.  I'm sharing all of this in case my story inspires you to take some baby steps for yourself. One of my teachers in this realm has been Anana Harris Parris, and her book Self Care Matters A Revolutionary's Approach, special thanks to Jasmine Hines for leading a dynamic workshop that led me to this work. Anana says: "The sweetest most revolutionary self-care step anyone can take is the first one. Take it over and over and over again." Permission to begin again, granted!

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