|Leaving your mind blank can give you space for other things. Like admiring this use of chives as an ornamental.|
I’ve been quiet for a few weeks on the blog and Twitter. You might call it Unsocial Media. Or, in garden terms, The Silence of the Lamb’s Ears.
The quiet surface belies the currents beneath. Serious, unresolved health issues in the family – an ongoing worry. Trying to stay balanced with feet in two lines of work. One-too-many volunteer commitments. Rain. Lots of rain. The ever-distracting mess at Toronto Silly Hall. And, apropos of that, half a cubic yard of duck poo to shift (though we crossed that one off a few Saturdays ago).
I share this, not for sympathy, but to say: sometimes, a pile-up on life’s highway leaves you stuck in traffic. There’s nothing much you can do, but wait for things to clear.
Nothing much, I mean, but stay in the here and now, which is what I’m reminding myself to do. Look around. Take it all in. There’s always something to see.
|I mean, this gardener really went for it! Look how prettily it blends with the salvia in the neighbour’s garden.|
I’ve written before about these next two things, but one of the best ideas I retained from Marjorie Harris’ groundbreaking book The Canadian Gardener was her concept of Creative Staring. The proof of its bestness is that I still use it 23 years later: Staring at my own garden – sometimes fast-forwarding into the future but sometimes just wordlessly inviting ideas in – and keeping my eyes open as I walk around the city, as I often do. In my interpretation of Harris’ trick, you plug in your eyes and unplug
your mind. This might not be what Harris meant, but it works for me.
It’s like the mental digestion phase James Webb Young writes about in his wonderful little book A Technique for Producing Ideas (which I wrote about here). Part of Young’s method is to go away and not actively think about your problem to let the solution percolate.
Sometimes the mind, like a farmer’s field, needs to go fallow, as this blog has done. Things are growing there, but for a while they’ve been too inchoate (great word) or vague to express. Hoping for germination soon. Check back and see.