A Pretty, Seedy Calling

Post by Stephanie Jagger for the Kindness in Business series.

I live in a house that is perched on the edge of a Californian canyon. My office, the official BirdString nest, is in a breezy sunroom at the front the house, a perch on a perch. It’s the space from which I coach and the place from which I do some of my soaking up of the world. I sit in my chair and read everything I can get my hands on and when those hands have had their fill, I move to my desk and set them free on my keyboard. On some days, the best ones really, hours will go by in minutes, seconds even. I look up occasionally, and when I do the only things in sight are swaying eucalyptus branches and sometimes an artist or two who set up shop and attempt to capture the same eucalyptus sway that I’m seeing.

The other day was different though. The other day, it was my neighbor who caught my eye and I couldn’t look away.

She was sitting, sidesaddle on the curb in plain clothes, a faded tie-dye t-shirt and shorts that were soiled with soil. There wasn’t a stitch of makeup on her face and all but a few rebellious strands of hair were pulled back in a red bandana, tied at the top. Rosie the Riveter done proud. In her lap sat a large silver bowl, and while the sun glinted off of the bowl’s metallic curves, my neighbor’s left hand steadied it with a loose grasp on it’s edge. Her right hand was moving in and out of the bowl, mixing what looked like soil and seeds, dipping deeply into the earthy contents and pulling up a gentle fist full. Her fingers moved in a feathery motion, sorting and separating like a palm sized sieve. And like a well-timed partner, the breeze would kick up around her ever so slightly and cast bits of the dirt into the wind. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. I could see the light carry the finest pieces of earth through the air and into the canyon. There was a rhythm to it, one I didn’t know personally but that seemed written into every movement she made.

Whatever it was she was doing looked like a simple task. The simplest. But I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, off of her. I sat in my nest and watched her move through what, by definition, was likely mundane. Only nothing about it said mundane. What it was, was magnetic, majestic even. And her face was perhaps the most beautiful part of it all – a freeze frame of serenity.

I smiled to myself because I knew that I was watching a person who was, who is, deeply rooted in their calling, practicing, performing and perfecting their purpose. And when we see someone in the seat of their soul, it’s simple – we can’t take our eyes off of them. It’s as if we’re witnessing a conversation between them and The Universe, between them and who ever it is they call God.

Later that evening, as the sun was setting on another soft Californian day, we bumped into one another, my neighbor and I, and I said, “This morning…I know this sounds creepy but I was watching you. You were sitting out front with a bowl and sorting something or mixing something.”
She laughed, “Yeah. I was sorting seeds.”

“It was beautiful and I honestly couldn’t stop staring. It seems you’ve found your calling.”

“Yes. Yes I have.” she said.

Later that week she brought us a bowl of fresh tomatoes from her garden, the same garden, I found out, from which she produces some of San Diego’s only hand-harvested, hand-packaged seeds. In her words, “seeds of passion and patience.

Look. Listen. Hear your calling whispering to you and when you hear it, plant yourself firmly in that place. Drop roots there, and eventually people won’t be able to take their eyes off of you.

Stephanie Jagger lives in California where she dreams big dreams, writes her heart out, and runs an executive & life coaching practice. She believes courageous living doesn’t happen with one toe dangling in, but that we jump in, fully submerge, and sit in the juice. Think pickle, not cucumber. Stephanie is currently working on her first book, a memoir about skiing about the world, and yes, you read that last bit right. 
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