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Let us be a bit more like lavender

Last year we all had something that was "ours" in the garden. Something that was the most meaningful, something we were excited to check on, something we diligently cared for. Mine was the lavender plant.

I love the color of lavender. I love the smell of lavender. And quickly, the more I learned, I began to love the actual plant. (Still not a huge fan of the taste though.)

It seemed people thought lavender was hard to grow, "it's finicky", "it's picky", "it's difficult". None of these are super encouraging for a novice gardener like myself, but I was determined to try. It's true, lavender is somewhat specific about the type of environment it likes. But I don't think any more so than any other plant. I killed some of the lavender I tried last year and some this year, but I've also had some flourish.

I started to relate to the lavender. I was learning more about it at the same time I was being challenged in my own life to make myself a priority and to remember to care for myself. It was like I was relearning the power of the word no and being intentional about choosing spaces where I could thrive.

So often, I want to say women, but I bet it is true for men as well, we can't be too specific about what we need. We don't want to seem too high maintenance or difficult. We don't want to appear needy or rude. But stating what you need and taking care of yourself is none of those things. It is directly correlated to your ability to care for others. Which leads me to the second way in which I was relating to lavender.

The scent and bloom isn't for itself but for others, the bees, us, the flourishing of the plant. The lavender's ability to know what it wants and needs to flourish then allows it to serve others. As is true with us. We have to care for ourselves so that we're able to give and care for others.

Is that too much to put into just a plant? I don't think so. I know many aren't fans of tattoos, but this is why I got the plant permanently placed on my body somewhere that I see regularly. It's a reminder to care for myself, to not be afraid to state what I need, and to always remember that living more fully into that directly correlates to my ability to care for others in my life.

Today is International Self Care day (Monday, July 24). I didn't even know that existed. It's also a Monday and I. Love. Mondays! They're like weekly fresh starts. So today is a new day. Start small, but find some way to care for yourself. State what you need to be at your best. It's ok to say "no." It is a full sentence. It's a complete answer. And it never needs any explanation. You will find, day after day, the more you're able to care for yourself, the more you're able to care for those around you, to be present for them, to love them.

Whether you've been working on self care for a while and it's a daily practice or this is a revolutionary thought for you, blessings on your journey to be a bit more like lavender. Put aside all the silly things people say, if they cared for themselves well, they would never say that to you. Let us each support one another in caring for ourselves so that we, in turn, can care for others. Let us be a bit more like lavender.


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