Does it hurt that we take away the plants you've grown, season after season? Pull ploughs through you every year, leaving nothing to just live for more than a few months? Use you this way?
"Ha! No, not like this. Of course not. I am the Mother. I feed, I provide. Oh the big stuff hurts; I find it hard to recover and sometimes I don't. I have wounds. But smaller fields of plants that feed you and other animals - that's not so different from what I've always been. As long as you treat me with love and respect.
Here, along the edges where you live, you see me both farmed and wild and those states are not so dissimilar. In both I give shelter and food. Tell me, where do you feel most nurtured and nourished by me?"
Well my instant reaction would be, 'in the woods' but actually I also love the crop fields. I love the paths left by the tractor wheels, the views over open land across the county, the smell of turned earth, the sea of grain moving in a breeze, the straw bales at the end of summer, the fossils thrown up by the ploughs.
"So you love me when I work and when I rest. When I make money for humans and when I just let life live. Is the value of one diminished by the other? Is there not beauty and worth in both?
Listen. Do no harm. Do what your soul must do. Do it honestly, to nurture and nourish, and without exploitation. Work and rest and be ashamed of neither.
I am the Mother. I love you anyway."
Here's #321 in my series Posts Based On Bad (And Entirely Intuited) Science. You're welcome.
I was listening to Jonathan Fields's (yes you can, when it's a name) latest Good Life Riff: Life is a contact sport. It's one of those little gems that states the bleedin' obvious* in such a way that you actually hear it. He talks about how easy it is to keep spinning around your plans and ideas in your head, looking for all the answers internally before you dare to send it out into the world when hey...the answers are OUTside. *You have to put this stuff out there to get the feedback and learn. You have to make contact with the outside world.
And so I got to thinking... (because I once watched Sex & The City)...is this sticking point more engrained in introverts?
My own brand of introversion is fairly hard core. I find it difficult to put ANYthing out in the world. Feelings, spoken words, creative output, ideas. I do it, sure, but I can't sustain, I get exhausted very quickly and back I go, inwards, where everything makes sense and I feel strong. Where I believe I'll get all the answers. It's not about fear of failure/success or much of anything else. It's about feeling like a discarded snakeskin within about 45 minutes.
And maybe that makes me very, very good at falling into the trap that Fields describes.
What's the answer? Well, on a social level, if I have been able to spend a lot of time alone - a lot...a big lot - then I'm as up for a small-gathering-of-like-minded-people-with-whom-I-can-discuss-the-big-ideas-and-maybe-listen-to-some-non-intrusive-music as the next guy. I can par-tay. Kind of. I can do 'outwards'.
So perhaps my ability to put my ideas and work outside my head and heart also depends on how well my introvert batteries have been charged. Perhaps I need to understand that my output is not that regular, not that frequent and not even all that sustained. Because I need to spend a disproportionate amount of time on the inside and that. is. fine. Also, while I'm in there, remember that the aim is ultimately to step outside to see what happens next and that 'outside' might only be my front step, which is also fine. Because not everything good and fulfilling is internal or waaaaay out there.
Do you think, perhaps too much, before you 'step outside' or does it come naturally? Have you a method for turning it all inside-out that works for you?
Y'know that thing? That thing where you have nothing at all to say and you have way, waaaaaay too much?
There's this huge, enormous, land magic thing that's going on with me but I don't feel I can write about it because it's crazy talk. Only it's true. Perhaps not meant to be written about. Yet.
There's musing on daughter-hood and what it means to me as someone who has always felt responsible for (and expected to be) fulfilling a large part of the role my own mother should take in my extended family.
There's a handful of health issues among that extended family that are taking up big parts of my heart.
There's the integration of Digby, our new four-legged family member, which is going spectacularly well and fascinates me more than it does anyone else so I'll just shut up. And fill my Instagram feed with dog photos.
There's SPRING! #sunshine #plants #flowers #gardening #rebirth #new beginnings.
There's day-to-day, happy, family life and deep gratitude for it.
There's just so. much. stuff. And yet I seem to be sitting in the middle of it, just observing the quiet tornado, not really engaging with any of it for any length of time. It's weird.
It's my birthday this weekend and while I doubt very much that anything other than a normal weekend will happen, that Return To The Start vibe...the completion and the beginning again...oh it'll probably just give me a whole new lot of things to think on as I sit amid the spiraling trees, dogs, pills, flowers, text messages, dreams, laundry, crows, and the strangest feeling that I am being pulled by some invisible magnet towards something I cannot yet imagine.
Thoughts I am thinking this morning: it struck me as - at early o'clock - I cheerily headed out with the dogs, then made their breakfasts and found time to give each of them a morning cuddle, that I do this 365 days a year. Without a second thought. Come what may from all other angles of life, whatever the demands of pre-work and school days, I get out of bed and I do this. I don't think about it (much), I just do it and enjoy it. Every day it is its own reward. I remember feeling this way on Katherinenhof where my aunt and I worked in the 80s, looking after a large number of Egyptian Arabian horses (her skill set, not mine; I just got lucky). Those early starts were hard core in the depth of a north German winter, but every time the horses looked up blinky-eyed, straw sticking out of their manes, as I switched on the barn lights, I was happy. It still works that way now but with dogs. And a bit less straw.
So what is it that inspires that commitment and dedication which, if applied to a creative endeavour, would make me super-productive?
There's my deep love for the animals concerned.
There's the constant feedback of affection from them.
These are nurturing acts and that's a big thing for me.
I'm wondering - given my frustration with myself around giving time to creative work and sticking with it - is there any way I can reproduce that for something without a pulse?
Reading that back it's pretty damn obvious - it's the maternal/nurturing instinct. Scientifically, I get a big old kick of oxytocin or whatever it is. In real terms, I love the dogs to pieces and love makes me feel good. Seeing them thrive physically and emotionally makes me happy to my core.
How do we transfer that? Can we love an activity the same way? Does it simply mean loving ourselves the same way?
I can see from these thoughts that I am capable of commitment and dedication and infinite follow through. I am not somehow 'broken' in that respect. Again with the positive feedback.
Of course this love and devotion also shows up in the way we parent and the way we nourish an intimate relationship, but it's clearer with the animals because so much of it is routine and repetition.
I have no answers yet, I'm just Stream O'Consciousness-ing about it. I'd love to know what you think. These days I'm really only blogging so I get to chat with you in the comments.