I was a lazy gardener this summer. It took me until August to reclaim the garden beds on the side of my house, having torn down all the vines last year to paint. It was immediately obvious that the clematis and Virginia creeper were not thriving. Without the support of a structure to hold them up, vines sprawl, unable to reach to the sky.
Sound familiar? Without the stucture of routines and rituals, I notice my direction and inner focus begins to sprawl, too. Not to mention my waistline, but that’s just one of the signs I’ve lost touch with the structures of daily life that sustain me. Creativity and inspiration require routine. I learned this when I taught writing. Classroom routines set the stage the most imaginative writing.
So now that the school year is almost upon us, I look at my own trellis. Morning quiet time to meditate, to stretch to write. A food plan that sustains and fuels my body. A calendar that allows me to manage the complexity of my appointments. A daily check-in on my To-Do list. Each year I examine my trellis and see how it needs to be strengthened. This outer focus is a big part of the commitment I make to my inner growth. I keep experimenting with ways to make this easier, and technologies from I-Cal to scheduling programs to blog support makes it all work better for me at this time. But I’m still very fond of the classic approach of a small calendar in my pocket with a to-do list.
The creeper is now climbing a standard trellis, and the clematis is climbing an innovative trellis consisting of a large chain suspended from the roof. But both now have all the support they need to flourish. And my own new new trellis, the infrastructure that will sustain my spirit and allow it to bloom, is almost in place.
What does your trellis look like? What will sustain your growth in the coming months? Now that the sprawl of summertime is coming to an end, it’s a good time to ask the question. And to allow your own unique trellis to be constructed from your answers.