Oh reluctant travellers
Tho’ you shy many times from the path,
It is only through the fiery gateway of your own suffering
That you can reach the garden of peace.
Since last writing I’ve spent quite some time in deep reflection about continuing to post. My motivation had always been to reach out and connect with others who may share my enthusiasms already or to inspire those who are newly interested. As blogging was new to me it’s been a learning experience; just dealing with the intricacies of setting up my page was challenging enough. Once I’d entered that world I found it was awash with blogs on every subject imaginable. This made me pause and consider why my offerings would even have any impact. I considered that I was possibly just adding to the already enormous amount of ‘word pollution’ already out there. Friends dismissed that idea and told me to go ahead, I had something to offer. So I did and when I received a response I was shocked and pleasantly uplifted. I carried on and emails would appear in my inbox telling me so and so had ‘liked’ or was following my blog. There was an erratic nature to this and although flattering didn’t really give me the sense of connection I really sought. I feel I may be a failure in this respect; no amount of virtual contact, least of all the appearance of a gravatar image in the ‘like’ section is really going to supply the nourishment I seek. Some may say that I’m being unrealistic and that I should be grateful people take the time to read & ‘like’ my posts. I am grateful and I do reciprocate. There have been some wonderful and uplifting stories to which I have responded with deep respect. Sometimes, however I’m left feeling that there is a manipulative aspect to blogging – you read mine and I’ll read yours… My inner cynic clearly feels provoked! Having spent time in reflection I am writing this as a means to clarify my thoughts and to potentially learn from others how they deal with their experiences in blog world. I realise my writing may not be the best but people I respect say it is good. If I don’t receive regular feedback, how can I really know? Perhaps I’m just screaming into the void? Perhaps my skills need growing? Or there is a perspective or two I have completely overlooked. I’ve experienced some challenge lately that has been painful and I’m feeling the lack of encouragement. These are all very human experiences and I share them in an effort to be transparent. Challenge is always with us and I know from experience that there can be wonderful rewards attached to facing our challenges and yet right now some dark shadow material is stealing my clarity. I can only pray that all will become clear in due course.The one thing I do know is that my garden never ceases to provide both joy and solace. The beauty, the creativity and the natural order culminating in death has taught me many wise and valuable lessons. If , as it seems, I am not able to share my experiences in a way that is useful, perhaps it’s time to follow the garden’s example and let the natural order begin the process of decay.
Today as I sit writing in my garden fantails work busily in the Totaras and a crisp breeze exercises the spiders webs draped there. I catch myself thinking of a friend’s comments on Spring. She told me of how it is her favourite season, that sense of the new, ready to burst forth. It made her feel energised, she said. Well, all I’m feeling is a mild confusion. I know Spring is about the place, she keeps leaving calling cards. The shining cuckoo & the quail are both back, the plum blossom floods the garden with siren perfume. As I watch, her branches bounce up & down with the joy of tiny wax eyes feeding. So why the confusion? There is a definite bi-polarity to Spring, she is unabashedly moody. One day its sunny, the next a dull grey sky blunts the enthusiasm. First she gives, then she takes away… I feel my spirits lift after a day of warmth & another pruning or planting task finished; only to have the next morning begin with heavy showers & a biting wind. This is the truest reminder of the transitional nature of Spring & like all transitions there is discomfort as part of the package. Every year she reminds me & I get better at relaxing into the experience of living day by day. There will always be another sunny day & soon, so much sun that gardening will become an early morning/late afternoon activity. I accept with grace the time of rest a dull day brings, knowing that without reflection my actions may be in vain.
Dr Sharon Blackie: writer, psychologist, mythologist
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