Presence. Awareness. Validation. Empowerment.
These are the things I hope to inspire by allowing children and teens to freely explore their own expression in a supportive environment that encourages the full realization of all that they are.
Holy Crap, You Guys! I WANT this! It's terrifying! But I REALLY WANT THIS! Backup... Rewind... Let me explain.
It has been at least 6 years since the first time I thought to myself that I wanted this property. I was simply driving past one day, shortly after moving to the area, and I saw this little flower shop and for some unbeknownst reason thought to myself, "I wish that was for sale." It wasn't. I recognized this as a strange thought and had no idea why I was thinking it, but I followed the compulsion to pull into the lot and go into the store. There was nothing inside that I wanted, and I kind of shrugged it off as a misread on my part. Not knowing why the hell I was there and not wanting the woman working to know I was crazy, I bought one of those wiggly-legged dog balloons for my son and went on my way. That damn balloon was $10! LOL. I remember thinking, "What the hell was I thinking?" all the way home that day!
Since that time the flower shop closed and the property went up for sale. It's been for sale awhile now... years I believe. And I have been driving past it three times a week and thinking that I need to get it the whole time it has been for sale! Why haven't I acted on it? One: I haven't an extra dime in my pocket. Two: I had no idea why I feel that it's mine or what I want to do with it! Over the past year I've visited the idea as a business location a few times, but something didn't feel quite right. I still felt drawn to the place, but the picture I was forming was not totally clear. I went back and forth between building a labyrinth, teaching people about flowers that support emotional needs, flower essences, setting up an office for my regular business practice, teaching classes, or even just having a regular flower shop! There are greenhouses, large refrigeration units, an indoor store space, and a near 2 acres of land. The options are limitless!
Through all of this, the property continues to remain available.
I don't know if any of you have noticed, but I have been doing a lot in my business lately. I am constantly running between places and workshops and ultimately trying to do good in the world, but it's all spread out. I'm all over the place! And for the past several months I've been trying to figure out how to bring it all under one unified umbrella (for my own sanity and for the strength of the message). I know that I have a strong affinity to youth and I want to support children. I also know that I want to help people learn to connect to their spirit and to the world at large and to their higher power through nature. Nature, when we allow ourselves to notice it, has a way of calling us back to the present moment -- the only moment in which we can truly open and connect and express. I feel that because nature is always available, if we can learn to use it as vehicle through which to connect the effects of that connection are infinite! It can support us through any challenge or any change and open us to any available growth in our lives. And it can be easily integrated into even the busiest of days (by looking out the window or noticing the light)! I did not have a clear vision of how to combine these things.
Just last week, I fell to my knees and prayed. It's a prayer that I've said many times before, but perhaps not with such intensity. "I'm here, God. I am waiting. Please show me the next step so that I might share Your Love in the world!"
The next day, I started looking into grants to see if there is any way that I can buy this flower shop, still not totally clear on what I was going to do with it, but knowing from the constant nudge that it somehow fits into the plan.
Later that evening, I was having a conversation with my husband about the state of the world... about violence and the "mental illness" label that I believe is an overclassification of everyday stress. It's possible that all of the problems in society today stem from stress levels. With most families having both parents working long hours and most people not really getting paid adequately for their time and energy (production and prices keep going up; wages do not), who has time to worry about things like nutrition and mindfulness and teaching our kids to deal with emotions, and establish connection, and develop a growth mindset? As parents, we have to make sure they are fed and clothed and sheltered and sometimes we are so caught up in this race that we don't have the liberty to address things that are not perceived as necessity. Parents come home from work and have to make dinner and deal with homework and rush their kids to extracurriculars and bathe them and put them to bed and do it all over again! Parents are stressed! I don't blame them! They are each doing the best that they can! And children learn from watching our behaviors! They learn that stress is normal and while we may take steps to cope with our stress (exercise, meditation, prayer, whatever you do to keep yourself sane on the rare occasions when you find time to do it), we often don't do that in front of the kids or explain to them the power behind it!
When people do not have healthy ways to manage their stress and detach from emotion in challenging situations, we end up with things like depression and violent outbursts. I want to encourage children to embrace mindfulness at a young age. Most of them are already doing it to some degree (kids are much better at being in the moment than we are). All children have a natural connection to nature and to the world through nature, but as we take on the expectations and roles of society, that natural connection is often suffocated. I want to teach them that this is something to cultivate, not something to sweep aside or hide when they reach the age that society is more focused on grades and expectations and impressing boyfriends or girlfriends and status goals. (There's an actual thing called Nature Deficit Disorder! You can read about it here ) I want to prepare our children to view any challenge as an opportunity for new growth. I want to provide them with basic skills that will minimize the stress in their lives. I want to encourage them to connect to their deeper self, their creativity, to one another, to other living things, and to whatever higher power they may believe in through everyday activities like walking and eating and just stepping outside! I want them to understand that they are ENOUGH as they are, right now, and encourage their ability to embrace this truth and express it through their creative development!
It took me a few days to connect the dots on all of this. But eventually, I woke up with a technicolor vision of children playing in the dirt! I am getting this property for a nonprofit! I am going to encourage children to connect to themselves through creative exploration, to connect to nature through growing their own flowers and vegetables and appreciating the world around them, to connect to one another through interactive workshops and working together, and to connect to their higher power in the process. They will create and design signs and the like for a curbside flower stand to help raise money for daily operations... We can even build a booth together! Classes will be offered here to teach them how to easily prepare fresh vegetables from the garden to support their nutritional health. Any surplus vegetables will be sent home with the kids. They will learn about healing herbs and have an opportunity to make things with them. They will play fun games that support communication skills and learn to process their emotions through engaging activities! There will be art classes, mindfulness, meditative movement, and basic skills like sewing and healthy cooking taught. All of these classes will be FREE for all children regardless of race, gender, age, religion, political, or economic status. All children deserve to have their creativity and their sense of connection encouraged. They deserve to feel loved. I do not want any child to ever feel like their sense of creativity and connection is second-hand to the demands of the world. I want to usher them into their power to embrace the next phase of growth! By empowering children to foster this sense of connection and freedom of expression, they will become more resilient to stress later on in life, always knowing that they are supported and that they are enough.
The encouragement that I received when sharing this plan on social media was instant and amazing! I am so grateful for the amazing support that I have in my life! All of the direction that I need is easily falling into place, and I am ready to do this! I am willing to do whatever it takes on my part to allow this to unfold however Spirit intends; therefore, it may evolve and it may adapt, but I have confidence in saying it is done.
There is a lot of work to be done: forms to be filed, funds to be raised, grants to be applied for and donors to be found. If you know anyone who would support this cause, please share this article! This is happening! I appreciate any and all support!