Blog Tour Visit #18: Essential Garden

Most of the year I spend a fair amount of time on airplanes. I come well-equipped with a set of Bose headphones to tune out the noise of the world and enter a writer-world where I can hear what my characters are saying today. I adore these special times: views out the window to surpass those from the castles of Europe; precious hours when phones can’t ring; and someone even brings me cold water and hot coffee.

So now you know the secret of my introspective side, the side that gets a pretty big volume of writing done day by day. But, of course, there’s the extroverted side too, the side that loves to perform and especially to connect. So, on a relatively short flight from New York to Chicago a few months ago, I was tucked up against my customary window, when a sleek, professional looking woman took the seat next to me. We were both focused on stowing our gear, but managed polite, curt greetings before tuning each other out. Something, however, made us relinquish our customary self-imposed bubbles (she commutes by plane as much as I do) and make contact. The rest of the time “flew” by as we were completely absorbed in sharing layer after layer of Life.

Linda Naylor is a successful realtor with a core group of clients she treats like royalty. She also has a knack for finding gorgeous ingredients and whipping them up into delicious offerings. She expresses this notion literally by a practice of sustainable, organic gardening and cooking, and shares her findings through her beautiful blog, Essential Garden. But this practice of finding and combining good things extends beyond her kitchen. I’d say she’s a person who sees life as a garden—one in which the unworthy elements get weeded out, and the good, wholesome ingredients are nurtured into a steady, abundant flow. Already we have a lot in common. My website introduction says: “I like to think of my web site as an eco-system with interconnecting gardens…and I like to think of life in terms of metaphors. Perhaps you’ll find some unexpected blooms (experiences) in these pages or have some interesting seeds (ideas) to share.”

So what to two women talk about at 30,000 feet? We talked a lot about my favorite theme, the head and the heart. I was intrigued to learn she flew to New York every week to attend a class designed to train her to create this special blog. Given her already-full schedule, that was a huge commitment. Of course it’s smart to train yourself to get really good at something. But this was also a heart matter: she was pursuing her passion. We celebrated this in one another, feeling a sense of synergy, support, and excitement that we’re living lives of possibility by listening to our hearts.

This is the whole crux of the matter in my upcoming novel What the Heart Knows. Linda resonated so much with what I mentioned about my characters, that we’ve decided to create a special event for readers in her area. But we wanted to share our mutual excitement even sooner, so here we are, sharing about all this on our blogs. Linda asked me a series of wonderful questions and I shared my answers today in her post Food and Writing at 30,000 Feet.

So what is it that really sustains us? Good, healthy food; the serendipity of meeting new friends; and time to connect with someone you never thought you’d meet who turns out to be a joy and an asset. Where and when do we find these like-minded travelers in life? The where is wherever you are. The when is whenever we’re listening to what the heart knows.

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