T.S. Eliot is back in my life with his beautiful verses:
» What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from».
Three powerful sentences, taken from his “Little Gidding”, where he unravels the generative potential of an ending. To consider endings as opportunities for new and brighter beginnings. Call me an optimistic.
Further down in the poem, and you just have to adore this, another classic in the quotes’ world:
“We shall not cease from exploration.
And the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time.”
Touché. It should be like experiencing a second innocence: you’ve been there already, maybe it was even painful, and yet you’re able to open your heart to the new-already-known. So, if I could make a wish now, it would be to have the courage to return to some of the places where I started, to know them for the first time, and then get ready to rock!
I am back to writing, as I was constantly doing when I was young, only this time not expecting much and writing for the sake of it. I am also back to dreaming big, only this time not just for the sake of me but instead convinced that I have some fruit to deliver to the world and that this may be an exciting mission for me to pursue. Now, the part that feels scarier is to find myself back to listening carefully to my souls’ desire and trying to take it seriously for the first time… Uh oh… Beware!
As my best friend E. often reminds me: “our soul’s desires are the commands of God/the Universe”. Maybe this idea is getting seriously considered, and so I let my desires go out and explore the world. Never too late for exploration.
And in this exploration journey, I am gaining a better understanding of what I call my permanent misfit, that feeling of not really knowing where was I supposed to bloom. I confess: it can get very anxious out there if you do not know exactly where are you heading. But to go deeper into this, I need the help of our dearest orchid and my youngest daughter.
Five years ago, my daughter and I bought an orchid with big white flowers. The flowering lasted 3 weeks, and then nothing for 3 long years, no matter how much we took care of the plant. Then we moved into a new house, where I set the plant on a windowsill in the kitchen. It was now in a new place, with plenty of light. No further tricks were applied, I promise. And that first spring in the new house revealed a miracle: after years of “silence”, the orchid started blooming again!
My youngest and I were so excited that we used to look at the stems every morning to check progress. It did feel like a miracle. I guessed the plant had finally been placed at exactly the right spot for it, and the rest went smooth and naturally.
So, this is the story of how a finally happy orchid made me remember the idea that everything in nature, and we are nature too, has a specific environment or moment where its particular seeds are meant to grow and bloom, effortless and beautifully, for the rest of creation to enjoy its gifts.
That spring, and every spring after, I am reminded by the orchid to please be patient and keep confident. Slowly, but surely, I am also finding my place to bloom creatively. Or the place is finding me. Who knows? Let me just remain open to that wonderful possibility.
And back to my youngest. She finds it hard too to fit effortlessly. She’s a creative type who does not like following the rules of a demanding and competitive environment – just think about our schools… For now, she’s not so good at perseverance and she’s very good at procrastination. So, when the orchid miracle was happening, I proposed her a humble artistic project together: we would record the blooming, taking a picture every single day during the process, yes, old style thing. She would be responsible for the pictures’ part and I promised that I would then take her work and use it to illustrate the first article of my soon-to-come blog (mmmh, yes, this conversation was actually 2 years ago, speaking about procrastination…).
I knew that an “everyday” thing was not the best type of project in her case, but I risked it. Had to insist a few times. Had to listen to some nasty replies. Had to be patient. And about one year after we had agreed on the project, out of the blue, one day she handed me with a USB containing a short video with 2 different scenes of the orchid’s blooming. Voilà!
So, it is now my pleasure to share this story of a big miracle of nature which taught me respect for endings and patience for brighter beginnings to come.
I’d like to dedicate it to my youngest, to the finally happy orchid, to T.S. Eliot and his poetry, to my wonderful friend E., and last but not least, to Bill Watterson, father of my beloved Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, who once said “the truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive.”
So, here’s a toast to Confidence!