When I was a little girl, I watched a film version of The Secret Garden. I was immediately enthralled.
The story follows a girl who, after becoming an orphan, is sent to live with her estranged uncle. Largely left to her own devices, she discovers a “secret garden,” long since abandoned. She quietly begins to tend to it, and as the garden heals, so do the novel’s characters.
So in love with the idea of a secret garden–a hidden space–I recall digging through my mother’s yard looking for a key that would surely lead me to a secret place of my own.
Of course, I never did find a secret key. Or a secret space. But the memory still makes me smile.
This recovery journey feels a lot like The Secret Garden.
And somehow, I am both the girl who finds it, and the garden long since abandoned.
In the novel, the garden was where the uncle’s late wife fell from a swing while heavily pregnant. The accident prompted early labor, and her childbirth-related death. The garden, once a place of great beauty, was now a painful reminder of tragedy, death, and grief, and so it was shut up, locked, and the weeds were allowed to take over.
While Beattie doesn’t use the term “weeds,” she does refer to the blocks we’ve put in place between ourselves and others.
Let go of all that may be blocking your relationships today. With great certainty we can know that old feelings and self-defeating beliefs will block us today from giving and getting the love we desire. We can clear the slate of the past.
While she directly addresses intimate relationships here, it’s easy to expand her directive to other relationships as well. Relationships at work, for example.
I applied to two jobs this morning. After nearly six weeks of inactivity, I brushed off my professionally written resume and cover letter and used them.
I felt an immediate high. I did it!
And then the old feelings and self-defeating beliefs began to trickle in. What if I don’t get an interview? What if my resume isn’t good enough? What if I’m not good enough? What if they see right through me?
If applying for these jobs this morning was an act of clearing out the weeds, the self-defeating beliefs was an act of shuttering the garden gate, lest someone see how imperfect the inside actually is.
The truth is that I’m not the employee I was 10 years ago. My decision to leave my current position isn’t because I’m disgruntled or because a minor incident evoked in me a major reaction. I’m not trying to leave an unpleasant situation. I’m simply ready to move on.
I’m qualified, capable, and ready. And that’s the persona I need to present to future employers.
In the meantime, I need to keep clearing the weeds, and letting the sunlight in. There is no shame in sharing with someone the state of my garden, but I need to also remember that the only one who can help it bloom is me–not a new job.
If–WHEN–I land a new position, it’ll simply be that: a new position, but the same garden.
I need to remember that. I need to trust the process. I need to be open, honest, and aware. There are good things on the horizon. I can feel it.
But more importantly, I need to let it.