Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Growing in the Dark

Now that my days of formal schooling are over, I find I continue to learn from the natural world. Even houseplants.

Take my cala lily, for instance. This dark, leafy plant arrived at my mother's funeral from an absent relative three years ago. The plant would have been tossed out, so I brought it home. With its delicate white blossoms, it seemed to symbolize the sacredness of spirit passing into the light.

This summer only one flower sprouts, straight and tall, from its center. I prune the plant, trimming and discarding all the dead foliage. To my surprise I see three tiny blossoms nestled beneath, gathering their strength before they emerge.

They remind me of our hidden talents and abilities - the potential that many of us never get to realize. Like plants require soil and sunlight before they can flower, our gifts need to be nurtured. Our society does not encourage us to develop talents with no guarantee of monetary gain; we are told not to waste our time.

Yet by not doing what we love - whether it is singing opera, acting in a play or stringing words together - part of our spirit shrivels and dies. Like the new blossoms on the cala lily, our talents want to grow.

Storytelling has always fascinated me and brought me joy. I devour romantic films and novels. To date I sold 35 of my short stories to magazines and I am still mastering the novel in all its complexity. When I give myself over to the writing, I feel I am living two lives - my own and that of my story world which is often far more exciting.

I cannot control what happens to my creations in the marketplace; I can only do my best and hope they emerge fully into the world. I don't want to die regretting what I did not dare.

I hope you will honour whatever is calling you and nurture it for its own sake. It's the gift you give yourself now and maybe one day will be your gift to humanity.