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Spring Gillard
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Task at Hand

When I was approaching my 40th birthday, I went into a dark night of the soul. I had no idea who I was or where I was going. Then a friend invited me to spend the weekend with her. Her plan was for us to fill in a massive questionnaire that would help us to find our heart’s desire. Kill me now, I thought. As she read the questions aloud from Sonia Choquette’s book, she began to write volumes. I couldn’t scratch out one word. It was painful and I wondered how I would get through the weekend. Then she read a question that perked me up. The gist of it was, that before you can figure out your heart’s desire, sometimes there is a task at hand that needs attention. It can be something small or mundane even, the author said, like cleaning your kitchen, or more important, like finding the right daycare for your child. A light bulb went off for me.

For a couple years, I had been saying to myself, you need to clean out your filing cabinet and do your photo albums. I had boxes of old photos that had never been organized. I asked for albums for my birthday that year, got 11 of them and began one of the most enriching processes of my life. Turns out this review of your life is a vital step in the figuring out process. As I sorted and organized, I was able to clear away the things I didn’t need and extract forgotten treasures. As I pieced together the story of my life in those photo albums, I began to see where I wanted to go. My first book grew out of that journey. I will always be grateful to my dear friend and creative wonder, Diane Lund, for making me do that questionnaire.

Now approaching 55, I find myself at another crossroads. I have been telling my friends that it feels like a whole new book, not just a new chapter. I have options, I am just not sure which direction to go. I have already begun to clean out files, even the dusty ones in the storage locker. I have also been doing some blog renovation and noticed that the Garden Heart page could use an overhaul. I need to better define my company services. Commit to which services I want to offer. But what exactly is it that I do, and more importantly what do I want to do?

As I poked through files, I found a stack of old resumes and began to review them. Once again I found a treasure trove, and perhaps the glimmerings of a pathway to whatever this next phase of my life will be.

I thought it might be fun to document my journey on the blog. So starting today, I will be adding a third post a week. Mondays and Wednesdays will be the usual compost heap of mostly sustainability related topics; Fridays will be devoted to my task at hand: finding my Garden Heart’s desire.

1 comment to Task at Hand

  • Eve

    Spring,
    Good luck with the process. It does seem to have to be done time after time. And you’re right, cleaning out is the best way to let new things grow. I’m about to tackle my front yard garden, where the cedar trees have dumped a winter’s worth of litter. Who knows what’s growing there.

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