Old Dogs/New Tricks
Garden Reports and Rejoicing – March 12
When we pay attention we might see that out of the blue the same information often concentrates and threads repeatedly through our lives. Have you noticed that? You might have remained blissfully unaware of Zumba workouts, and suddenly it seems to be popping up everywhere. And it’s not just in popular culture.
I’ve repeatedly seen times when the universe seems to be tapping me on the shoulder and saying “Ahem! Pay attention here!” Recently I’ve been in a cluster of messages about old dogs and new tricks.
As my regular blog readers know, my mother-in-law recently passed away. My husband cleaned out her apartment and one of the things he took out was several new bras and pairs of underwear I purchased for her about a year ago. I thought it would help her to have new undergarments because she was washing her old ones out by hand every night so that they’d be clean for the next day. At 91 years old it might be nice for her not to have to hand wash every evening, right?
She thanked me for the new items but didn’t wear them. Not once. They were still on hangers from the store with the tags when she died. For whatever reason, she wasn’t able to embrace the concept of putting on fresh underwear and putting the dirty items in the laundry basket for a machine washed load once a week. For me this was shoulder tap number one: get in the habit of changing old habits now, while I’m still able to do so.
Shoulder tap number two came when I complained on FaceBook about their new timeline format. I don’t like it. It seems too busy, I said, and I want to go back! Many friends responded with sympathy but Tim Wood said “I think you will love. Think young. Be flexible.” How many times have I said in a talk “Blessed are the flexible for they shall never be bent out of shape?” Thanks Tim, for reminding me to walk my talk.
Over the past two days I attended training sessions at the garden center that were presented by Kathryn Dager of Profitivity, Inc. She spoke at length about how we resist change because of the physical makeup of the brain. No, it’s not just being stubborn or lazy that makes us resist the new and unfamiliar. Our minds aren’t built for cooperating and adapting to changes, which means we have to force the issue. Shoulder tap number three.
Gardeners are, I think, better prepared to embrace variations and transformation. Seasons change, plants die and we watch cycles and modifications happen all around us. Nevertheless, it’s clear that a message is being delivered and my experience in these matters is that if we ignore the first shoulder tap, the next reminder may not be so gentle. Being in the garden constantly calls our brains to build new pathways around the subject of adapting, bending, and growth.
“Flexibility and change are important, get it?” I get it and they are qualities I’m willing to cultivate. Remind me as I get older, OK?