Gently Guide the Tender Vine Else It Become Wild, Tangled and Impossible

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Dearest Readers,

The following is an excerpt from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden. I have chosen this particular story for this blog post as it contains a basic teaching of my beloved teacher, Angeles Arrien, who unexpectedly passed into Spirit on April 24th. You might well be aware of this as tributes have emerged in many corners acknowledging the deep impact she had in our lives. In addition to studying extensively with her at California Institute of Integral Studies, I was also the publicist who launched her wonderful book The Tarot Handbook. While her student I feel she helped set me on a writer’s path, acknowledging my writing skills. And, years later, when that seed had taken root and blossomed, she blessed my book with the testimonial you see on the back cover of my book, which I now hold more dearly than ever.

Love and spring blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Plant Whatever Brings You Joy is an invaluable resource for understanding ‘the garden’ as a source of healing, growth, solace, joy, wisdom and inspiration. This is a spiritually uplifting and wise book!” ~Angeles Arrien, Ph.D., Cultural Anthropologist, author of The Four-Fold Way and The Second Half of Life

Gently Guide the Tender Vine…

Show me a fence and I will think of a flower. I will think of honey-
suckle, trumpet vine, potato vine, wisteria, jasmine, and morning glories.
I will see possibility. I will see beauty. And I will want to get to work
right away.

My foray into vines taught me very early on that unless one is pay-
ing very close attention they can get away from you. They have minds
of their own. You will not be on the same page. At all. You want them
to climb over the fence, covering the wires, the boards, the limbs, most
likely, and they will want to stretch out their arms in all directions. And,
oh, should they touch another surface, be it plant, tree, wall, anything
it can expand on, beware. It will take off in the night like a child run
wild. And then you have all the undoing to do, to redirect the rampant
growth in accordance with your vision. And then you will have some
untangling to do. A very gentle, very deliberate, very time consuming,
painstaking activity indeed.

We’ve all done it. We do it in a thousand ways. We were doing this,
and then we were doing that, and when we turned our backs for just a
moment, or two, things simply got out of control. The mess that ensued
was a big fat you know what.

I actually enjoy untangling vines. I do. It reminds me of playing pickup
sticks as a child. The slow, calculated act of anticipating what will happen
to this when you do that? The ever so gentle unwrapping of this tender
tendril from another while keeping it intact, and then the redirection
into a creative and pragmatic pattern. It’s fun.

The untangling of projects that have gone astray, wayward and awry
may not be as engaging, though there are those among us who do enjoy a
mess that needs to be straightened out. We enjoy the challenge. What do
we do when things have become seemingly unmanageable? The unfailing
formula I turn to when I am truly stuck I personally learned from a very
wise woman, a professor of mine, author Angeles Arrien. The bottom
line version which I have turned to a million times in my mind follows.
Any time I find myself faltering, if I run the situation through this four
point grid, I will almost always get unglued and be able to view my situ-
ation with confidence and clarity.

show up
pay attention
tell the truth
and don’t be attached to the outcome

What does this require of me?
Showing up is simply that. I come to the table, fully present.

Paying attention means bringing my full consciousness and heartful-
ness in open participation to the process.

Telling the truth means digging down and saying what is true for
me, with deep courage and authenticity. My intention is never to hurt
another person or myself in this process. It is to get to the bottom of
things. The I Ching counsels us that a situation cannot change unless
and until we are able to face it as it actually is, not as we want it to be.
Unless we are willing to do this, the situation will remain in stagnation
or deterioration.

Not being attached to the outcome is not easy. It requires a deep sur-
rendering. It is an act of faith. It lies in the realm of believing all things
happen for a reason, that there is a guiding force at work in our lives
that we can trust. This is the essence of being truly grounded in spirit.
What are the wild, tangled and impossible tasks and challenges in your
life? What do you need to do to resolve them? Do you need assistance
or is it something you can do on your own? Will you be stronger and
wiser on the other side?

IN MEMORIAM, ANGELES ARRIEN (1940-2014)

Book News: Last Friday I was a guest on “Conscious Talk” which you can listen to here. And “The Christine Upchurch Show” kindly just sent me a link to my interview with Christine. MP3 here. In June please watch for an excerpt from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy in GreenPrints, published in North Carolina. And next Saturday, on May 10th, Copperfield’s Books in San Rafael, in Marin Co., will be hosting an Author Meet and Greet for me. I hope to see some of you there! I would love that. :)

6 Responses to “Gently Guide the Tender Vine Else It Become Wild, Tangled and Impossible”

  1. Thanks for giving me the chance to reread your excerpt ,since your book awaits my return to Maine.

    A lovely tribute to Angeles, also. She died too young, didn’t she?

    Your life unfolds with new possibility and challenges.
    I am so glad for all the exposure and well deserved publicity that you are receiving.

    I am so happy to enjoy your successes. Love, Betsy

  2. Hi, Betsy, Thanks, dear. I appreciate your being there! Love to you, Kathryn xoxo

  3. Beautiful excerpt, and tribute to Angie, mom. I’m certain the (timely) wisdom you offer here will serve as a guiding light.

    Love you,
    Antonia xoxo

  4. Kathryn, had forgotten your vine metaphor for how things in our lives can get so tangled up (guess it is just time to re-read your book). I am one of those who tries hard to keep those garden vines separated and growing neatly on their own structure here in my Sonoma garden. In life too. Oh, I have the life-vines but try hard to keep them from tangling.
    Sorry to hear of your friend’s passing. Now she can truly act as your guide.

  5. Hi, Antonia, Thanks so much, Sweetheart. Love, Mom xoxo

  6. Good morning, Carol! I myself reread my book, believe it or not, and am always discovering something I had forgotten and needed to remember. The magic of authorship. Yes, it is an ongoing task keeping it “all in order”. Chop wood, carry water. Life in all its complexities goes on. :) Kathryn xoxo

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