“The Princess and the Gardener”
From the “I Am Many” project
Some beautiful reflections from Mosa on these two parts of herself:
Strengths: asks for what she wants unabashedly and is able to RECEIVE it and expresses gratitude. Asks from a place of worthiness and empowerment. She is very clear about how much she is willing to show up and invites others to be honest and direct in their verbal communication.
Weaknesses: judges others and their gestures to be unworthy, leaving her alone in her tower. Does not anticipate the needs of others. Sometimes forgets to communicate the high expectations she has of them and then gets disappointed when they can’t read her mind or have the same cultural norms. Talks herself out of doing something, insisting someone else could do it better.
Strengths: trusts the abundance of life and the worthiness of all things, herself included. Self-reliant, see’s the truth behind people’s actions and pain behind people’s protective inclinations. Approaches relationships with reverence, no matter who she’s facing.
Weaknesses: won’t ask for help when she needs it and withdraws emotionally from conflict. Feels inadequate when she can’t solve a problem or perform. Doesn’t know how to say “no” and overextends herself, playing the victim to circumstance.
“I’m very familiar with the shadow-side of these two pieces but less familiar with the strength-based side. I’m also much more inclined to identify with the gardener and am more a closet-princess. I feel more accepting of the weaknesses of the gardener than the princess and more familiar with the way the gardner moves through the world. I feel like I’ve had stronger gardeners modeled for me than princesses.
I am only recently bringing the princess out of the closet. She is not afraid to be a selfish girly-girl, which is something I was not raised to celebrate. She’s also very good at receiving, which I have always been afraid to do. From a young age I’ve been aware of the temporary nature of relationships and it takes a long time for me to trust someone enough to accept any gestures of affection. I would always question their motives and dedication. My princess wants to receive but I haven’t let her get what she wants because I’m afraid of what will happen when that affection leaves. Better to deny her desires. My gardener protects my princess from heartbreak by insisting I can do everything on my own, which of course keeps her from being fulfilled.
During the shoot I enjoyed it the most when they were laughing at themselves with each other. Being the gardener and imagining the princess, in her ill-equipped state, and finding compassion for her rather than judgement. And the princess, finding appreciation rather than judgement of the gardener. I think it was equally easy to feel both compassion and judgement but more enjoyable to feel the former. I also noticed one does not exist without the other; or at least, they complete each other within me. The gardener would have no one to serve or please without the princess, and the princess would have no one to ask or tease without the gardener.
As the princess I felt more desired, in the lime-light, and more pressure to perform or to be a certain way. A part of me also felt like a poser. I heard myself saying, ‘I only do what I want,’ and then thinking, ‘Then why am I being pouty about being in the leaves?’
As the gardener I felt more in the background. I felt freer to be as I was and follow my inclinations since no one was watching. I was only in someone’s line of sight if I put myself there.”
Advice from the princess to the gardener:
“Give yourself permission to enjoy the luxuries of life. Receive beyond that which is necessary. Practice indulgence. Celebrate opulence. Allow yourself to be lazy and useless every once in awhile. Don’t be afraid to take up space beyond the edges of your skin. Occupy people’s thoughts, sleep on multiple pillows, dirty multiple forks and spoons, wear more than what you need; wear what you want.”
Advice from the gardener to the princess:
“Stop wasting your energy assessing everyone’s worthiness. Everyone is worthy! Neither they nor you need to be a certain way or definition of perfection to earn any kind of points in that realm. We are all equal in the eyes of love and potential. We are all sacred and with that, each moment shared with another is a gift. Each relationship is one to revere; each connection is one to hold with gratitude, even if it only lasts the time it takes to make eye contact.”