The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment. ~ Unknown
Have you ever had to grieve over something that someone else didn’t understand?
Recently my cactus died after my nanny accidentally slammed it in the backdoor. She nearly cried when I got home because she thought I’d be angry. She knew how much I loved my cactus.
One of the things I have learned during my Feng Shui training is to never jump to conclusions or allow your own impressions to color your perspective and the advice you give someone else. Feng Shui is, at it’s core, all about feeling.
My mentor, Tina Falk at VIA School of Feng Shui, uses the phrase “How does that make you feel?”
An item that may be adorable and playful to me, may be kept out of guilt by someone else. A piece that you love may look like a hot mess to me. Each of us is bound by our own perspective (and taste) to some degree. My question is in how far our opinions can go before they damage or harm others.
When I was a kid, one of my favorite movies was Drop Dead Fred. In the movie, a girl who grows up with a strict, belittling, and overbearing mother, turns to her imaginary friend Drop Dead Fred for comfort. Fred constantly gets her in trouble, but eventually her mom tapes him up in a jack-in-the-box. As an adult, Lizzie has a breakdown, leaves her sleazy husband, moves back into her childhood home with her mother and accidentally finds Drop Dead Fred again. In her childhood home, her mother’s living room is immaculate, beautiful, and literally an early-90s-interior-decorator’s dream. But no one is allowed in the room, and it makes Lizzie feel like crap… crap doesn’t even begin to cover it honestly. Part of the resolution of the move actually involves a dream-sequence where Lizzie runs her husband’s beloved sports car through her mother’s living room and breaks out of her emotional prison.
I have pages and pages of notes from the last time I had a consult on my home at a workshop. I totally understood the teacher’s perspective when she said “Oh dear, you have a cactus in your relationship section. You need to get rid of that now.” I was sort of crushed to be honest. When I started to respond, one of the ladies in the class interrupted “What is your deal with the cactus?” I didn’t bother to tell them because her tone made it clear she wasn’t really concerned with how I felt about it and she had no idea how much she hurt my feelings.
My little brother came across this 4 or 5″ cactus and gave it to me at Christmas time several years ago. (My brother has been in school for years, and is a Missionary. Again, asking how something makes you feel applies here because he is very careful with his money so, when he gave me a gift, it was important to me.) The poor cactus was root-bound. and I re-potted it almost immediately.
While I had it, it has thrived. I re-potted it 5 times and it went from 5″ to 18″ inches above ground. If you’ve never worked with Christmas cacti before, their root base is usually nearly as long as the plant you can see (Also, the trick to working with them is to use gloves and a twist of craft paper to lift the column of the cactus and place it where you want.)
To me, this cactus represented a thriving living thing that I loved, and a strongly rooted relationship with my baby brother.
We say things and make judgments everyday without considering the consequences to others.
This week, I challenge you to be aware of the effect of your words on others. This may simply be honestly observing someone’s face and body language during your conversation, or you may choose to reword something your were about to say. Experiment and observe, and don’t forget to head over to my Facebook page and let me know how it went.