21 August 2020

Basil, Flowers, and Friends

This is not a story about plant care. This is a story about friendship.

Basil, Flowers, and Friends

Every Wednesday afternoon for the past few weeks, my friend Monica has come over to teach me how to care for my new plants.

It seems my new plant children are just like their mother: beautiful, strong, and do not like being told what to do. I want them to be easy, smell nice, provide shade and beauty, fit seamlessly into my schedule, and make all my neighbors jealous. Terrace flowers They do not want a specific watering schedule and have completely rejected the fancy moisture-measurement tool which in the past has allowed me to quickly detect how much water my plants need and with zero mess. But nooooo… They want me to check each of them individually, every damn day, stick my fingers deep into the soil, look them in the eyes and inquire (with a loving but non-invasive tone) if they would like a little or a lot of water. Perhaps they’d also like a story read aloud, an interpretive dance, or for me to play that Third Eye Blind song literally nobody knows the name of.

We live in a four-story, 100 year-old house with three terraces, a front porch, and a back garden. For the love of my old donkey knees, what do these damn plants want from me?

So on Wednesday I asked Dr. Monica. Me: “Monica. These plants are assholes. Why are they so difficult?” Her: “They’re not assholes; they just want you to listen to them.” Me: “I am very busy. I need this to be easy.” Her: “It will be easy if you just start listening.” There it was. The hard truth.

I had brought these perfect nature-angels into my life and expected them to be easy and beautiful without honoring them or their needs in any meaningful way. I hadn’t taken the opportunity to get to know them, or notice how their adjustment process was going. I was not tapped-in. Which was really hard for me because that is my gift and my actual job in the world. I tap into people, listen past their words, and reflect back to them the magic they’re not seeing about themselves.

This is not a story about plant care. This is a story about friendship.

Monica Zeni Once I dropped into my honor and obligation to listen, Monica said we were going to start the day’s lesson with the basil plants. “Angela it is very important you pick the flowers off the basil. The flowers, although pretty, steal the power from the leaves.” Hold my watering can.

Now, I’ve always known you’re supposed to remove basil flowers, because if you leave them on, the basil will become bitter and taste horrible. But did you catch that metaphor? The pretty flowers steal the power from the leaves. This metaphor shook me.

I thought back to all the times I let my pretty flowers steal the power from my leaves. I felt shame for giving more power to my beauty than my purpose.

As I looked in Monica’s eyes, I felt extreme gratitude for this experience of deep connection, real friendship, and learning. Standing before me was a new friend who was taking time she doesn’t have to help me care for my plants and, in turn, care for myself. She was getting her hands dirty, reflecting my truth back to me, and holding me accountable to grow.

Without friends to reflect to us what we are not seeing, we stay stuck. If we have friends who stay silent about the ways we are not showing up fully in our lives, that friendship is not helping us grow.

Good friends inspire you, cheer you on, tell you to wear the damn shorts, cut toxic relationships out of your life, and keep you from cutting bangs in times of crisis.

Incredible friends are willing to grow you and evolve the friendship by being kind — not nice. We must seek out friends who hold us accountable to staying committed to our values.

I value staying connected with nature, being present, and giving all of me to those I love in both my personal life and my work. I value the art of discomfort, and I bow down to its transformational power. I value radical self-care, unconditional self-love, shame & shadow work, time, and forgiveness.

I believe wise and aware friends supply our most direct path to rapid growth and healing.

May this inspire you to show up more fully to your best friendships, ditch the ones that aren’t serving you, and get you excited to make new friends.

New friendships are unique because new friends reflect our most present story while also showing us that the ugly bits we thought we’d left behind are still active. New friends will supercharge your transformation into becoming the fullest, most real, and most alive version of yourself. Don’t fear new friends. Fear staying stuck and waking up in five, ten, twenty years exactly as you are now.

Want to start living FULLY awake in your one beautiful life? Start with your friends.

❤️ A.P.

P.S. Want to meet new friends that are dedicated to deep conversations, journaling, and radical self-care? Join our Tribe.