August 13, 2015

On Becoming

The Becoming

It started with a reaching out, and turned into a reach within,
And led me to another, who’s light was outward shining.
It took me past the edge of safe - the place becoming can begin,
Through length and breadth and depth revealing - each re-birthing and refining.

I felt the stir of life returning,  from that place so long suspended.
Then the tiny whisper of a voice so long without a sound.
Moving slowly out of shelter feeling safe as hurt rescinded,
Toward the distant light that beckoned - hope of trust profound.

Endless days flowed into months as months flowed into healing.
I learned the gentle blessing, of sharing hearts and laughing tears.
So it goes - the moving forth - from darkness into hope revealing.
Laughing, crying, sharing caring, holding hands against the fears. 

(c) Anita Stout 6/2/07

So. I write poetry. This particular poem was written from one of the darkest places life has yet to take me. See how I typed yet? That's because I can't begin to know what's right around that curve ahead. Also note that I wrote one of?  There have been many dark corners to date and I anticipate that there will be more of those as well. Those facts, however, are not the topic of this post. The topic is the "becoming" that happens as a result of those and every other life event - good or bad. 

Each experience carries within it a seed - a seed of becoming. The seed is always the same. What it becomes depends on the person nurturing it. We can water our seed with bitterness and discontent and misery will grow. We can water it with anger and resentment and disharmony springs up. We can also choose to water our seed with patience and contemplation as we seek to understand its potential to transform us and from that sprouts any number of beautiful potentialities.

Becoming is our own personal evolution. It takes us from point A to limitless points of possibility - some of them awesome destinations. Others less so. 

I like to stop sometimes and take notice of clues that tell me toward which of these directions my life is moving. One such clue presented itself while I was out in the yard today with my dog. As I looked around my usually well groomed space - realizing that it's gone completely Jurassic as a result of my knee injury, a strange thing happened. Actually the strange thing was what didn't happen!

Let me take you back two years to give you some perspective. Two summers ago, there was a day where I had a complete emotional melt down - over some weeds. I'd spent a lot of time that week working outside - trying to restore "order" to the chaos that is nature. (Because that was my job in case I've failed to mention that. Yes, it was a lot of work but someone had to do it. Does it sound as crazy as believing that actually was?)

Exhausted, I stood to admire all I'd accomplished. Feeling like balance had once again been restored to the universe, I headed inside. On my way, I passed the area that I'd groomed earlier in the week. What I saw was horrifying! In the very place where I'd left clear ground, new weeds had dared darken the space. 

What happened next scared the kajeebers out of my husband. I ran into the house in full blown sobs carrying on about how I'd never be able to manage all of this. (I should have checked myself into some kind of mental rehab that day - but I didn't from sheer lack of self awareness.)  When I calmed down enough for David to finally ask what had wreaked all this havoc, and I told him that weeds were growing where I'd just finished clearing, he wasn't sure what to make of it. HE should have checked me into some sort of mental rehab at that point but, strangely enough, he somehow manages to love me around all of this. 

To say I felt discouraged would be to laugh in the face of reality. I behaved, at that moment, as though all of life had reached critical mass and complete annihilation was imminent. Can you say DRAMA? (David sure can!)

Fast forward to today - out in the yard with my dog. I looked around noticing that nearly every spot where something was not intentionally planted was still covered in a blanket of green. (You guessed it! WEEDS! 

Then, a strange thing happened! I didn't melt down. Instead I looked at the weeds - some of them lovely in their own right - and realized that all of nature was not out to get me after all. Nature, in my time of being unable to tend my garden, had done it for me. It filled the voids with oxygen producing, ground cooling greenery. From a distance, it all looks green and beautiful. (Sadly, my next door neighbor might need a bit more distance to appreciate this.)

At that moment I was keenly aware that I had evolved on some level. I've moved, at least some distance, away from the perfectionist that could only see weeds to a new creature who can appreciate the whole instead of only its unsavory parts. I breathed in the smell of it all and it was intoxicating. (Excluding my pup's recent contribution.)

This tiny moment felt better than all the victory dances I'd ever done after all of my weed killing frenzies combined. My neighbor may see it differently. He may wonder if I've lost my marbles. It's a valid question - they'd be hard to find in all of that over growth. I would be hard pressed to explain to him how only now I have actually found them - and how wonderful it feels!

How about you? Do you watch out for small glimpses that you're watering your seed with the right stuff? Are you nurturing what's truly important in your garden? Are you giving it the care and love it needs to produce a beautiful crop of wonder for you and those you love? If what's growing there doesn't delight you, it might be time to check what's pouring out of the can and begin again.


  1. I feel society loves to impress its rituals and regimes upon us, ultimately bending and shaping the way we think and view life. Some aspects of this control exists on a subliminal level and thus certain areas of our structured behaviour develops without us ever being aware of its presence until a trigger brings it to the fore.

    Symbolically, I think the weeds were your trigger. Your pressure point. And once that pressure had been released you were able to de-construct the restraints of nurture leaving you in a position to appreciate the beauty of the larger picture, weeds an' all. In essence you've moved beyond your 'dark corners'...well done you!

    I enjoyed the varying emotions your poem evoked and your piece in general helped pull me from one of my own dark corners. Thank you Anita. All was a pleasure to read. x

    1. Thank you Lynn! I think you're right. I'm not sure where I picked up the idea that I'm not allowed to enjoy anything that isn't perfect (I'm lying - it was my mom!) but it sure has caused issues. Perfectionism really isn't something to be proud of, aspire to, or strive toward. It's a ruthless bully that sucks the joy out of life.

      There are still times I let the "suppose to" demon darken my door - but I sure don't let him hang around and rule me the way I used to. It's so freeing to "decide" not to stress. Really - who ever died over a weed - or so many of the other things we let trouble our peace?

      I think that stopping to measure our progress is an important part of progressing. When we can see how far we've come, we're inspired to go a bit farther.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I love reading your posts! They make me laugh really hard and you can't buy medicine that good at any price!