This blog is about…
Not really. But it is a blog about balance—the balance of living a life that is comfortable, fulfilling, healthy, full of creativity, full of wonderful words, activities away from the job—or in my case, jobs—and deadlines.
I wrote not too long ago about cutting harmful things and toxic people out of our lives. Yeah, I know, some of those toxic people are family, and may not be cut-able, but most of us can limit the amount of time we spend with toxic people, even family, to improve our lives’ balance.
And most of us make time for the good-for-us (non-toxic) family and friends, and make time to go out into the world in social situations like parties, lunch out, tea or coffee with special people. We remember to exercise (sometimes), pray or meditate, and learn new things (which can be read as research, too). But sometimes we forget to do the things that feed our souls, things that are spiritually renewing. Which is where, for me, gardening comes in.
Many people, myself included, go to mosque, synagogue, or church for spiritual renewal, but there are other ways, places, events and experiences that call out to deeper, and far more human, parts of our spiritual natures. And that human, tribal, part of our spiritually often gets left in the dust. All people were once tribal, whether our ancestors were African, AmIn, Celts, people of the steppes, Mongol, South Pacific, whatever, we were tribal long before we settled into cities. And tribal people had rituals to celebrate, recognize, and denote all the different landmarks of human life. As writers, I think we are closer to the ritualistic parts of our human natures than lots of others, and I think we depend on the deeper, mystical, parts of our psyches than most—which is where those amazing story endings come from that we’ve spoken of here several times. But we also often forget to nurture those parts of our natures that we depend upon so much. And I am not talking about other creative endeavous, though that may be part of our personal rituals.
For me, those mystical moments come when my hands are in the soil, or my hardboat is moving with the current down a river or rocky creek. I deeply *need* to get my hands in the soil of mother earth. To paddle down her lifeblood is essential. When I don’t do both I feel the ache deep inside, and there is a fractured anger that splinters through me, making me the toxic person in my own life. For the last five years, I gave up gardening in favor of two books a year, and my soul—though nurtured by plenty of rivers—missed it deeply.
So, I’ve begun to terrace the hill in front of my house, and will bring in soil for the garden I’ve missed so much. It’s backbreaking work, hauling stone for retaining walls, shoveling, making level foundations. And yeah, I’m doing it myself, with the help of the hubby. (He got drafted, but he’s agreeable.) Gardening is one thing I desperately need—as both writer and human—that I’ve neglected. I’ve starved my own creative, human, tribal soul and getting my hands back into the body of the earth is already so fulfilling, that I’ve been able to craft a book proposal in about half the hours it usually takes me.
Anyone here have something feeds a deeper nature? Something that, if left undone, creates a toxicity of/in your life? Feel free to share.