Many years ago someone I trusted suggested to me that an important part of the work I came here to do is to achieve balance. In our journeys we often stretch the energies to extremes to learn the lessons that come with those distortions. For instance in a particular lifetime we might express an extreme amount of greed. There are many lessons that can be learned from such an experience. And later we might choose to experience a very austere or even impoverished life to have an experience that is the opposite of the one that was centered around greed. Along with the lessons that come with those experiences can also come a need for healing. We can create distortions in our own energy through having these kinds of experiences, and healing comes with bringing the energies back into balance again.
In a prior entry I talked about how the muggle job helps me to work on my issues around having a failure mentality. In order to break free of that mentality I needed to keep persevering in the face of difficulty until I experienced a feeling of success and developed a success mentality. But an important part of that is also being able to let go of the need for the feeling of success. Because balance is never achieved when there is an emotional need for something, or a dependence on it. Need/dependence takes things out of balance.
I did achieve the success that I wanted on the job. And I was getting a lot of positive feedback about the job I was doing. My team lead regularly told me how much she depended on me and how I was her “go to” girl. In our coaching sessions she always just said that I should keep doing the great job I was doing. It was a nice feeling. Lately things have taken a different turn. I’m still regularly getting the highest percentage on my QA score metrics of everyone in my program (this is expressed as an average, with my average usually being more than 98%), and since they started recording survey results I have received the highest possible score on all of the surveys returned for my calls. But my ranking went way down in June. This was the result of my reliability metric taking a huge hit because our ISP was out of service for most of my shift one day, because I work the closing shift which has fewer callers, causing my rank for number of calls taken to be less than most of my co-workers, and because I took two calls that were very difficult and required a lot of time and work to resolve, causing my average call handle time metric to take a big hit. But rather than seeing that it’s not a lack of competence that caused my ranking to suffer so much, but the result of factors that were beyond my control, she’s been behaving toward me as though I need remedial help and that I haven’t been doing the good job that I actually have been doing and that my QA scores and returned surveys would indicate.
This of course brings up all kinds of old scars related to when I was a child trying to navigate the world with undiagnosed ADD and an undiagnosed learning disability. I knew I was doing the best I could but my best was never good enough. I developed a hair trigger response to anything that felt to me like injustice. My current situation at work is the perfect vehicle for bringing up those old patterns and examining them and clearing them out. I’ve experienced success on the job and now it’s time for me to lose the emotional attachment to having that experience. The way to clear these patterns out is to allow myself to have these experiences and not react to them with negative energy, or allow them to distort the way I see myself. I have to just keep seeing myself from the perspective of a success mentality and trust that whatever is happening in my job is what I need to experience right now and not see it as a reflection on me or my value as a person. Of course the aspect of me that needs to heal wants to scream and struggle against the old patterns of injustice, but on a very deep level I understand what is going on and what needs to be done.
By allowing these experiences, and by not continuing to contribute to energy distortions by adding negative energy or allowing them to erode my sense of self-worth, the patterns will eventually clear out and the energies will heal and come into balance.
I’ve had to remount the epiphyte garden because it got too big for the original mounting. I’ve added some new Tillandsia bromeliads, and the original ones and the staghorn fern have grown a lot. I love the piece of reclaimed barn wood that I mounted them on. I think it has a lot more character than the one I used before. I was having problems with the plants wanting to droop too far forward from their own weight and also with the back of the staghorn fern drying out too fast. I cut holes in the wood for each of the plants to they could nestle more snugly into the mounting and I put a piece of plastic that I salvaged from one of my husband’s TV dinners on the back to keep any of the mounting material or plants from falling out the back. So far so good. The staghorn fern is putting out some vigorous new growth. It’s pretty exciting to watch.
My husband cleared out some space from the jungle behind the wood shop shed and we’re turning it into a sitting spot. It’s the only part of our property that has shade for a large part of the day during the summer. I’ve moved all of my potted outdoor plants there and I’ve decided to grow some container tomatoes and cucumbers. The big challenge with tomatoes here in the part of the world where Spanish moss grows is mildews, rots, and viruses that the plants succumb to because of their leaves being too wet much of the time, and the intensity of the sun. And of course the leaf footed bugs, glassy winged sharpshooters, and armyworms.
My proposed solutions for the problems of the air moisture and the bug life are plastic sheeting covering the plants at night, and netting covering them all the time. The shade addresses the problem of too much sun along with this year’s garden being essentially a fall garden.
The big challenges with cucumbers here are the worms that bore into the cucumbers and the heat causing them to become bitter. Netting will address the first problem. Shade and being a fall garden will address the second.
I have ordered a packet of Black Sea Man tomato seeds. Black Sea Man are the only determinate heirloom black type tomatoes that I could find, and I’ve had success growing them in pots before. I’ve also ordered a packet of Spacemaster cucumber seeds which, according to the blurb in the seed catalog, can be grown in hanging baskets.
I have been longing for a beautiful spot outside that I could use as an outdoor living room with complete privacy and where I could allow nature to heal and nurture me. All of the other parts of the yard are either too sunny or not private or both. I typed most of this blog post in the sitting spot. This weekend I’ll be hanging some LED lights so I can use it after dark, and adding a table so I can use it as my writing spot as well (weather permitting). This is how I define luxury, and I get to have an outdoor garden again for the first time since 2014. Yay
Pictures to come…
I’m not outside much any more. Which of course causes me to feel a little sad and disconnected from nature. But every once in a while I am outside and I see something that I need to take a picture of and celebrate. I took these in 2015.
It’s been many years since I was able to have an indoor garden. I learned several years ago that I am allergic to the kinds of organisms that live in the soil of potted plants. So no houseplants for me. Or so I thought for a long time.
A few months ago I spotted some tillandsia bromeliads in a store, and had a light bulb moment. Houseplants that did not need soil! I bought one on the spot and since then I have added a few to the first. I also figured that I could probably handle a staghorn fern since that is also an epiphyte and requires almost no soil. It’s so nice to have houseplants again after having no plant life in the house for so long. Here is my indoor garden. This was taken a few months ago. The plants have grown since then, and I now have two of the taller tillandsias. The garden is mounted on a piece of old reclaimed barn wood. It was a scrap left over from making a top for one of my tables. So… indoor garden! Yay!
I didn’t anticipate that one of my gardens would be a muggle job. But I have the job. And so why shouldn’t it be a garden? To be honest, it’s not what I would prefer to be doing with my time. I would much prefer to be making things and growing things. That is my natural milieu. But here I am. I have a job. There is energy in that, too. So if I’m going to have to do it, it deserves to be a garden, and it deserves to have the best energy I can put into it.
I do customer service over the phone. I am fortunate in that I can do this from my home. But even doing it from home, it’s still pretty much like any other job, and it has most of the same stresses that go with any other job. I can’t control very many of the variables in my virtual working environment. Our work is measured in seconds spent doing this or that, and how many of the required elements we successfully complete during each call. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember to verify someone’s email address when they’re being short tempered and cranky. But you do your best, and you hope that everything evens out in the end.
Fortunately for me, as someone who has a natural inclination to want to help, the helpfulness and friendliness that we exhibit is considered one of the most important elements of the call. I would not be happy in a job where the call handle time was considered by my employers to be more important than helping people and making them feel happy they called. My job satisfaction comes from helping people get their problems solved and making them feel welcome and special during the course of working on their problems.
So that is the fertilizer and the water for the muggle job garden: helping to bring a little bit more light into my caller’s day whenever it is possible for me to do so. And the bounty of the garden is the way that makes me feel, which is really where my job satisfaction comes from.
There is also inner work for me with having the muggle garden. Working on and clearing out old patterns relating to concepts of failure and giving up and never thinking what I do is good enough. I still feel that way a lot – like nobody will like the work I do – because that was a message I got a lot in earlier parts of my life. It’s tough to clear out those kinds of inner messages. But I get a lot of great feedback from my callers, and I am almost always ranked among the top 6 and usually in the top three in metrics in the program I work for. I even was ranked in first place in February. My team lead says I’m one of her top agents. It’s funny how all of the external messages one gets in a current context can still be overridden by the inner messages that are habitual thought patterns that we develop over the course of a lifetime. I sensed, at times when I was feeling very discouraged on the job, that this was just a part of my process of clearing out old stuff, and that I had to ignore the feeling and just plow through it, and that once I had manifested enough success for long enough, my inner patterns would change from a failure mentality to a success mentality. I’m part way there, anyway.
I wonder how many gardens I have now?
Still trying to get back into the workshop to continue work on the tables. But the muggle job and the extra amount of time I have to spend on food preparation because of my problems swallowing have prevented me from doing that. So I have found a solution that gets around that problem. I’ve started making baskets. I can work on the baskets in between calls at work and while relaxing after work in the evenings. It’s a good compromise for the time being. I’m just getting started, but I’m making some headway. Here are some of the baskets I’ve made so far. They are fabric-wrapped, coiled baskets. All of the stitching is done by hand using an invisible stitch technique. More colors coming soon.
Making the baskets feels like good work to me. It feels as much like what I’m supposed to be doing as building furniture does. I no longer have any outdoor garden to speak of, other than a few potted plants, but this basket garden is good.