Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Contemplative Gardener

On Monday I wrote a piece for my other blog on photography about how I needed to stop being so bloody hard on myself, to realise that I have limits that need respecting and to stop pushing myself to the limit and beyond. In that post I wrote this sentence, it was even highlighted like this -
'I write because I can not speak the words I wish to; I garden to be close to nature and feel Her nourish me; I take photographs as a form of mediation.'
It's been bothering me ever since and I shall tell you why.

I haven't been to the allotment for quite a few days now, I haven't even wanted to go and I most certainly have not repeated that glorious lone walk there and back which I was so proud of. No, I have been ill with an infection for which I am now on my 2nd course of antibiotics and though the infection is bad, the side effects are worse. I was having migraines and nausea with the first lot which was bad enough, this batch is giving me headaches, nausea, blurry vision and dizziness - hoorah, what fun!!

Thing is, when I am physically sick it seems legitimate to be at home, to be maudlin and lethargic, to not do much. But I don't allow myself the same grace when it comes to the fact that I have a permanent mental illness and permanent double vision - oh no, that's completely different. So the past week as I have sat here feeling 'really' ill, the pressure to be at the allotment and work hard (too hard as usual) hasn't been as strong and you know what? The world hasn't stopped revolving, plants continue to grow without me worrying; the lottie will be there when I am ready to go back to her.

I need to give myself a break and not just for now; a fundamental change is needed in how I think about life, about myself. '...I garden to be close to nature and feel Her nourish me...' How can she help me as she so desperately wants to if I refuse to listen? How can see hold me in her arms if I am frantically trying to do so many things? How can she nourish me if all I do is worry and panic until I am sick in the stomach?

I am reminded of a little saying that was prominent in my upbringing but never struck the right chord until today and maybe it will strike a chord with you too -
'Don't worry, don't hurry, don't forget to stop and smell the flowers'

all from my lottie - what gifts she provides.
Namaste xx


  1. yes! the lottie will be there when you are ready to go back. take your time, like you said, and enjoy your life, carrie :)

    i know it's easier said than done, i feel that even when i'm relaxing i'm not quite "relaxing" but instead i'm always doing SOMEthing: reading, watching tv, on the internet. sometimes we need to just sit outside, take a deep breath, smell the air and do absolutely NOTHING!


    ps. remember how i finished reading a "rebecca" a few weeks ago and loved it? well, i've been dog-sitting for over a week now and i noticed the owner had an alfred hitchcock video by the tv. i looked to see which one, and there it was: rebecca. i took it as a sign so now i'm watching it! i've only watched the first hour and i'll either finish it today or tomorrow. it's wonderful so far, and i'm so surprised at how strictly it's going by the book. i love that :)

  2. Carrie,

    I've felt that way when I've been sick. It's like a free pass to relax and take it easy, even though it has side effects.

    I agree why don't we don't ourselves this same "free pass" when we feel okay. So, take it easy. Treat yourself like a Queen.

    I don't garden, but I do have a cat. She spends a good part of her day sleeping peacefully. I look at her and think, "I wish I could relax, like that." I have to slap my head to remind myself that I can do this:~) That's its okay to take a nap now and then, like Aggie.

    Warm regards and I hope you feel better soon.

  3. Oh Carrie, you struck a chord with me. My mum used to shout that last bit about stopping to smell the flowers as I dashed out of the house :)
    Every home I have had, I have planted Lavender outside the door and, if I don't stop, I trail my hand through for the scent :)
    Nature's a great teacher and guess what? You're learning from her :)
    Take care, Mo

  4. Hi Carrie just wanted to tell you I helped out at the school today, they are trying to establish a garden. The gardener is a lovely bloke and was telling me how some of the kids who find school a bit challenging are finding the garden to be a "safe" space for them. And how they are learning to express themselves in a different enviroment. This in turn is helping them to settle better in the classroom. It seems the school have cottoned on to ecotherapy!

  5. If I had my life to live over,
    I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
    I would go to more dances.
    I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
    I would pick more daisies

    part of a poem by Nadine Stair
    Miss J

  6. ladies, thank you so much for you words and support, it means an awful lot. Hugs galore to you and thank you for understanding me and excepting me for who I am xxxx

  7. You are unique. Just like everybody else.
    Miss J

  8. Or just go to the lottie with the intention of doing absolutely nothing, reading a book, lazing around... and I bet you won't be able to stop yourself fiddling, weeding... before you know it the day will be gone!

  9. Thinking of you! Take care and hugs! Flighty xx

  10. We dont have a lottie..., Our garden is what's outside the doors and windows. Carrie, I think Nature is not very choosy, SHE had been a great host to bugs, pests, weeds, vegetables, excellent gardeners, and ordinary guys like you and Andrew, and Bangchik and Kakdah. Nature will treat us well....

  11. Hope you bug is antibioticed away, and you can be busy or peaceful, as you choose!


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