I’ve been writing daily in the form of Julia Cameron’s morning pages – three A4 pages of uncensored ramblings. My mind is so full right now, my alone-time so limited that the most sensible thing to do is to pour all the chatter out onto page and sift through it with a highlighter to find any nuggets of gold. Most days there are none. And that’s OK.
This is a time of drawing inward, reflecting and celebrating ordinary joys like the smell of coffee in the morning, fishing with the kids, cooking up a new recipe or laughing at the dog’s crazy antics. There will be another time to be successful in the world, to refine my ideas, to do the deep work.
Part of my practice in surrendering to this time is allowing myself to be creative whilst also giving myself permission to produce writing or art that isn’t polished or even ‘good’.
In the famous words of Mary Oliver:
“You do not have to be good
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
Love what it loves.”
Right now, I’m writing for the joy and therapy of expressing myself – nothing more.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes the magic of gardening:
“You could say there is a religion of garden. Whatever can happen to a garden can happen to the soul and psyche – too much water, too little water, infestations, heat, storm, flood, invasion, miracles, dying back, coming back, boon, healing, blossoming, bounty, beauty.”
We recently moved from a large property with a sprawling food forest garden to a place with a small yard.
I’m finding relief in the project of creating a little veggie garden full of my favourite herbs – an excuse to be outside in the fresh air learning from nature.
Yesterday, I spent the morning with my hands in the dirt, drinking in the scent of a mandarin tree that is bearing its last fruit. Gardening is and has always been, meditation. There is something about it that causes my thoughts to re-order themselves, like a ball of fishing line untangling itself. Truth floats to the surface as I pull out weeds and plant seedlings, with no effort required. It is something that must be done and, thankfully, a chore that produces infinite rewards. There is always something to learn from the garden, and I never know what it’s going to be.
None of these activities are time consuming. They can all be done in the space of minutes, in stolen moments or intentionally planned hours. They can also easily be skipped in favour of doing just one more thing for the kids or cleaning the bathroom. But I now know there is a heavy price to pay for skipping them, and that my creative fire is a vital component of my mental, physical and emotional health.
There is so much richness and value to be found in choosing to prioritise small things that may not seem productive to the outside world, yet keep your inner embers glowing. When you recognise these treasures, give yourself a dose of them daily and watch your vitality and love for life glow, especially in times like these.
Geordie Bull is a relationship coach + NLP practitioner who helps women with relationship and parenting issues, confidence and self- worth. She is also a journalist and blogger who writes regularly on the topics of emotional wellbeing, parenting and motherhood on her blog at www.geordiebull.com.au.