fern and black walnut tree - thetemenosjournal.com

When I Was 6

Just noticed the leaves on the Black Walnut are starting to unfurl, as more rain falls, and the sky is gray.

Beside me on the shelf sit a trio of ferns, each different from the other, and each a new purchase, something to green up my little nook when I can’t be outside in my garden. I find them inspiring, beautiful, soothing, and they seem to add that little spark of magic to the whole room.

I love ferns. I mean LOVE! So much so that I guess I now have a collection, with 6 different varieties – 3 outdoors, 3 indoors. One of the 3 outdoors types are from the Homestead, the others were store bought. Those Homestead ferns, no idea what they are, are like vintage. I guess my Great Great Aunt Jen planted them out back under the Norway Spruce, next to outhouse.

The outhouse is long gone, but the ferns have spread and spread across the back of the house, luxuriating in my ancestors shit, I suppose one could say.

So anyway, I was looking for inspiration, but it was being elusive. No concrete idea had materialized, yet.

When in this conundrum, that place before the spirit takes a hold and the words come forth, I drift away from it, go off and watch some random vid, take Irish for a walk and take pictures, go for a long bike ride, or just go outside under that big ol’Black Walnut, if I can, and smoke me a smoke, and gaze over at my garden, if I can, or out the window, like today.

Well, today I ran across that vid, a TedTalk, which is a goto that always seems to spark something when I’m in a place where no ideas come, but I want them to, I can feel them stirring inside, but I need a spark.

The idea he presents is, in a nutshell, can wisdom heal? Can a better understanding of ourselves, our path, our happiness, our very heartbeat, can it actually heal us?

The guy has this, um, almost tripping over his words exuberance. This passion that you know sometimes can overwhelm him, but that he has learned to ride, like a giant curling wave on this ocean of ideas. It can at first be a little off-putting, but I found myself engaged with his exuberance, his stories, and it gave his words a sincerity, a power actually, that more straightforward speakers lack. They could say ALL the same words, but without that almost childlike honesty, sincerity.

What struck me is towards the end when he suggests we ask ourselves these 3 questions, like taking a pulse, but the pulse of your life, your direction, your loves, and desires, and such.

Watch it and see what your own answers are.

For me, I…you know, it is not the first time I’ve asked similar questions of myself. After Tim had died and I was getting my life back together.

Well, one day in a fit of depression over if I was ever GOING to get my shit together, I watched a…yup….a TedTalk. No idea which, so I can’t link to that one, but in a nutshell, the woman asked something like what were you doing the last time you remember being the happiest? And do that. Or some such.

It was a step, a focus, a ‘way’. Didn’t mean I had to continue on that path, not a lifelong career, but a start. So I thought about it and I knew what to do.

Apply at a call centre.

Yup. A rotten ol’call centre.

After I separated from my ex that was where I was working. Sounds awful, and it felt weird even thinking it at the time, but it was a step, a way to go. I had been happy. Or happier than I had been in a long time. Think small was my take on the advice. Just take a step, and that was as good a step as any.

So I got a job at a call centre, got this apartment, settled in, and 3 years later almost ran naked through the halls of that gad-awful hell-hole screaming I QUIT, I QUIT, I QUIT. However, I had got my shit together, got what I needed, and after I dropped that place like a bad habit, I turned around and WHAM, there was this amazing job standing there looking at me with this look of what took you so long?

Now, again, not a lifelong goal of any sort I had ever considered, but a weirdly wonderful place that challenges me. Working with like-minded people, a company with similar values to my own, almost entrepreneurial, all of us working for this great big giant international entity, yet within a small niche.

Environmental, conscientious, hard-working, and with some panache that feeds my artistic eye. We have a contract we sign of remaining silent on our employer, for reasons that most will no doubt be familiar with in this social media dominated world, so I can’t name names. But that’s what I mean by having similar values to my own. The name of the place really isn’t as important as the idea anyway. And you have to make money, might as well be somewhere you like, with people you respect.

So when I again asked myself those questions, I was amazed to find I had done well. I could honestly answer in an affirmative, I realized, and it really actually started with creating this blog. Writing it all down, whatever “it” was, I posted it here.

Sort of a twist I guess on everything you need you already have.

Where the spirit goes thus goes the body, I guess is the idea simplified.

I won’t go to sleep again. This blog to me is my spirit, my healing place, my sacred ground. My job is how I finance my happy place, I guess you could say, and it bodes well when your working somewhere you like, that is inspiring, and the paycheque is nice.

Now, the next part is this idea that when I was 6, I always go back to 6, I believe that who you were at 6 is your ideal self. An idea I got from who knows where, maybe a TedTalk, who knows. But it is something I can relate to.

So when I was 6 we, that’s Mom & Dad and I, we’re back at the Homestead, living with Grandma. I would spend hours and hours in this little nook of a place she had just on the other side of the driveway, in this old ruined concrete foundation of this shed or barn or something related to the barn, that at the time was still standing, though the whole back had been blown out in some storm a few years before. It looked all sturdy from the front, but the back was a giant mess. Grandma told me once that if I ever went in the big barn she would tan my hide, so I never did. It scared me.

But in this little nook, I was safe.

It lay just in front and was not attached. Surrounded by shrubby trees, and overhead hung Walnut trees, and probably Maple. I would sit for hours watching the light dance, the shadows shift, watch the colours of the leaves change from dark to light.

In would flit birds every now and again, and sometimes Grandma would sit there beside me and tell me what they are. Oh, there’s a Cardinal, Paula, right up in that tree. Do you see it? All red?or, that little Chickadee is coming to say hi to us.

Grandma knew stuff. You know? She knew everything, or so I thought.

Actually, I still think that. With magazines and newspapers, books under coffee tables, at the kitchen table, in bookcases, she was interested in whatever, wherever, whoever. There was something to read in every room, every nook, just waiting for your curiosity.

She was wise and noble, and a bit quirky.

Anywho, the idea of your 6-year-old self as being your ideal self, or maybe purer self, is that it is at around the age that we first have a concept of ourselves being separate. Of having a world outside the one our parents inhabit, who had until then been our centre. At that age we are finding our own intelligence, reaching out, and it is just before, or is usually just before, the world has jaded us.

Over time I suppose that ideal does become faded, and maybe not completely remembered correctly, but the person we are inside, the view we have, the memories, they are important as they guide us towards a more wholesome version of ourselves.

Now, I don’t use the word ‘wholesome’ in the context of some perfection, some goody-two-shoes way. Rather it is a more like Whole Milk, or Whole Wheat. All of it, or, all of you. The REAL you.

And, then the question becomes, what does THAT self need?

The blog part for me comes in because through this I can process, I suppose. Well, share the experiences too, but really my ideal is not in pleasing anyone but myself. Ideally. It’s like a sieve where I can go through it all and filter out the static, the nonsense, get to the guts of it. Journaling it all, day by day, or every other day, or third day, or whatever. Sometimes stripping it down to its naked self, in a wee Haiku, or longer sonnet, perhaps. Or, like today, in some long-winded rambling thing.

It synthesizes for me this thing that’s been bouncing around inside my head for a bit, of what is different about me and that mass of humanity out there, the middle-class, bog-standard sort? Whatever the general plebs do, with that look of quiet desperation once and awhile appearing from behind their eyes, as they see me flitting along on my bike beside them, as they race to here, to there, isolated in their little world.

And I think, good god what a prison. I may not be awash in cash, but gad helps me, I’m not quietly enduring some bog-standard existence, waiting for either my retirement or death. Nope. Not anymore, thankfully.

That was perhaps the biggest message, I guess. The idea of wanting, and loving, what you have. Not out clawing at everything and everyone for more, as if it will quelch that sense of quiet desperation inside, that sense of incompleteness. It works for awhile, but it goes and quickly as it comes, like being high, and you have to get more to maintain it. It isn’t natural, it is something that you pay for, both with money and your soul. It is not enough.

Well, least not enough for me.

I won’t say my way is better, just more whole, and I guess healing.

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