The Zoo Fence

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The Way Home
The Way Home

The Care and Tending of Roses
— and People

Angela Passidomo Trafford

Angela Passidomo Trafford is a nationally, even internationally, known healer, spiritual teacher, workshop leader, and writer. The author of “The Heroic Path: One Woman’s Journey from Cancer to Self-Healing” and “Remembering the Language of God: The Forgotten Path”, Angela has been featured on several national television and radio programs and in various national magazines.

Some years ago, Angela was afflicted with what she now calls “the gift of cancer”. Led in prayer to Dr. Bernie Siegel’s book “Love, Medicine & Miracles”, she incorporated into her meditation practice the visualization techniques offered there; and experienced a powerful healing. That inspiring story is recounted in Dr. Siegel’s subsequent book, “Peace, Love & Healing”.

Angela is a frequent speaker to health, healing, and spiritual audiences nationwide. In addition, she writes a weekly column for the Naples (Florida) Daily News, which is syndicated nationally, and appears in newspapers across the country. And, she has founded her own practice, Self-Healing Inc., which is designed to help others improve their lives and health through the power of belief and love.

I met Angela many years ago in Florida, where I had been invited to speak at the Unity Church of Naples. At the time, she was offering a weekly support class for those who were struggling with cancer and other medical challenges. Then, Angela and I had time to speak together only briefly, but even in those few moments her powerful presence was apparent. Now, years later, a good friend of TZF called this article to our attention, and we are delighted she did. We are particularly grateful to Angela, who holds the copyright, for permitting us to offer her work on The Zoo Fence.

For more about Angela Passidomo Trafford, her teaching and her healing programs, and her writing, please visit her website at Also, you can find previous issues of her newspaper column archived at the Naples Daily News website. Go to There, at the bottom of the page, click on “Advanced Search”; then, at the page labeled “Search our site”, enter keywords “Angela Passidomo Trafford” and click on “Start your search”. If you would like to contact Angela, you may do so at her email address,

Ampersand at The Zoo Fence

Every caring gardener who loves roses knows that, at times, you have to cut back. And so that is what I was doing on this warm breezy Saturday: cutting back my roses.

So many people told me it was impossible to grow roses down here in Florida, but of course — as all of us who grow them realize — that just isn’t true. So many of the things people say and believe turn out to be utterly false, I’ve found. So it’s always best to find out the truth for yourself.

Most everything I’ve ever done that made my dreams come true, in a very real sense, someone has said was impossible. That is saying a lot about exactly what it takes to create your dreams in life. So often it requires swimming against the current, and being true to your own self, your own conscience. If you live according to what others believe and for the approval of others, and forsake your own heart, you wind up being a first-class chump.

So if you love beautiful roses as I do, you’ve got to believe you can grow them and you’ve got to learn how. I’m learning that after they express themselves with a glorious profusion of showy blooms, they kind of spend themselves and you’ve got to get out there and cut off the dead wood so they can restore themselves for the next joyous riotous explosion.

We human beings are no different. Everything in nature can teach us something about ourselves if we let it, and these roses were teaching me. As I severed the woody bulbs from the green thorny stems I was delighted to realize I was creating an emotional release for something I had just experienced in a close relationship.

It was like this: I thought the relationship was close but then I realized it was all lopsided, because only one person was doing the emotional giving. The other was holding back, defiant and controlling while outwardly appeasing. This relationship, a mirror of an old pattern dating back to my emotionally distant mother, had to change, so I had just let go. If you’re going to be alone you might as well really be alone so you can enjoy your own company. Relationships with controlling individuals who withhold their feelings and responses are a drain on the soul and cause a constant state of anger and obsession.

Like a flower bed full of weeds, there are times in our lives when we’ve got to uproot those sucker shoots before they take out the colorful delicate blooms. Human beings can be a lot more ornery than flowers and it’s hard to get someone else to change as you’d desire them to be, or even elicit a loving response that lets you know they see you for who you are and care enough to do so. That’s when it’s best to just let go. You don’t want to be dragged down into the mud where the living things can’t see the light of day. You don’t want to expend inordinate amounts of precious energy trying to get someone to see the light.

That’s what roses can show you when you care for them. They point out that life can be so simple if you let it be. We go through phases in life when our creative rainbow paints the sky with its own unique statement of hope, beauty and love, and that what follows is just as real, as meaningful; that even though the beauty is hidden within the vine, it is alive and green. It is all growth. At times we need to sever the sucker shoots from our lives in order to grow again. Dried-up, empty relationships wither the soul and must be surrendered willingly, or God will step in with crisis and do it for us.

Personally I’d rather surrender willingly, and not take any hostages. Because I realize that there are as many charming roses as there are passionate exciting tangible colors; and that an exceptional, unique, charismatic one-of-a-kind bloom awaits us if we believe it.

I know and accept with the deepest sense of love and gratitude the way God created life, and the need to humbly surrender to it. I know this above all about life, and I truly accept it: that with the roses are the thorns.


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