I have had a few early mornings with my camera lately (the weather is co-operating recently). Yesterday, everything seemed to be glistening with dew. It was fabulously beautiful. A couple of spiderwebs caught my eye…so, I went with it.
dew is the fruit of a clear, calm, quiet sky
Grace is similar to dew
bringing softness, refreshing and fruitfulness to my heart
This week Frèdèric Biver offered the challenge to offer two photos in dialogue:
Dialogue is an engaging conversational exchange.
When it comes to photography, dialogue can be perceived as a consensual interaction between two images.
Placed next to each other, each photograph opens up to meanings that weren’t there when viewed alone.
Each composition reveals the photographer’s specific sensitivity to certain content or visual elements.
Anticipating spring and summer, I have been waiting for the garden fairy to come clean up my gardens. I’m not quite sure what her problem is as I have seen the work she has done in the yards all around me like the original energizer bunny of mulching and weeding. Major garden cleanup involving pruners and heavy cutting is NOT on my list of favorite gardening activities. Sadly, she just refused to show up at my house!
What’s that you say? No garden fairy? Shut the door!😩
My yard is extremely overgrown and looking more like a South American jungle then a place to relax with a glass of cold lemonade.
Good thing I decided to get out of my gardening funk and tackle it myself this week.
I grabbed my kitchen scissors and headed out to my jungle of a yard. Yes, scissors. I’m no gardener and sadly, scissors were the closest thing I had on hand to use as a garden tool. It made about as much sense as a surgeon with a butter knife. Nonetheless, it was what I had and I walked out of the house certain that I could take on this overgrown mess.
The first few weeks after we moved into this house last year, I was enthusiastic about tearing up these intruders. It even felt mildly satisfying, but with hectic schedules, life in general and winter weather, the chore soon wore thin. Even maddening—and my poor gardens fell into disrepair and became overgrown.
Once I got into it…ugh! no, it wasn’t therapeutic…shoot…I was optimistic but weeds and bugs and sand flies nipping at my ankles is not my idea of relaxation or mind calming therapy. It’s hard work! Yeah, I know, scissors didn’t help…you should see the callous on my thumb.
Complaining aside, something kind of wonderful happened. As I picked and pruned and tied and tidied plants that seemed to have grown the size of the Titanic, I made a few discoveries. Under all the weeds, and plants that had taken over more than their intended space, were beautiful little plants struggling to survive. Some were twisted and bending -attempting to squeeze their way up through the rubbish to reach the nourishing sunlight.
Finding these fragile little seedlings increased my enthusiasm for the task. They also made me think about my heart. While I am enjoying more wholeness everyday, my overgrown garden was a powerful metaphor for the overgrown intruders that had once prevented happiness and joy thriving within my heart.
Fear, not forgiving, bitterness, judgement, criticism and hatred were tiny at first. They seemed inconsequential and comforting solutions to events I was facing at their appearing. Mimicking a beautiful budding vine, they intertwined each other and slowly, insidiously, choked the life out of the beauty within my heart until joy began to die.
Necessary and painful weeding within my heart stripped the garden of my soul clean and exposed tender seedlings of happiness and joy twisting and bending -searching for the light of hope. Life, full life, was awaiting me but it required work on my part.
I began a step at a time for no overgrown garden is cleared in one go. I cried out for forgiveness. “Forgive us this day as we forgive those who trespass against us…” Because I received forgiveness and mercy, my heart softened and offering forgiveness and mercy became a choice I wanted to make.
I clipped back hatred and bitterness uncovered love which -by the way- is limitless when it begins to bloom.
I pulled up judgement and criticism that had mugged my compassion for others. Blossoms of friendship and stronger relationships began to flower and color my life.
Fear has been the most tangled weed to dig up. Most days, I’m braver. Some days, I’m not. However, it’s more manageable when I apply gratitude.
These days, the garden of my soul flourishes with contentment, hope, happiness and love. It sings praise and celebrates new life.
I’m exhausted after taming my garden jungle this week to regain control but I am also grateful. It reminded me that the necessary hard work is definitely worth the effort both in my yard and within my heart.
Let me encourage you to do a little digging…you might be surprised what you find buried beneath the rubbish.
Today is Friday here in NZ…the weekend is so close I can almost taste it! I hope you enjoy yours!
See you soon,
The challenge this week from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Roads. My contribution follows below. Enjoy.
Approaching a round-about in Wellington. It took me ages to get used to how round-abouts worked. I, once, got turned around and lost on one in Aussie. The getting lost part was surprisingly the good news in the story…it caused someone a long walk through the night -needless to say…he wasn’t thrilled about it. Yikes!
“There’s more to getting to where you’re going then just knowing there’s a road.” -Joan Lowery Nixon
Hey, it’s so nice to see you today! Thank you for stopping by. While you are here, have a look around.
Have a great day.
agapanthus_cultivar newly budding
My husband and I have very different outlooks on fraying. To him, the frayed holes in his favourite pair of jeans equal comfort, breaking in and the accomplishment of finally removing the confinement found in brand new jeans. To me, frayed jeans, frayed ends on my hair and unraveling of any kind demand attention. I recognise that the fact that I am seeing the frayed ends appearing is a statement that I have been honoured with much time and use; but I am not content to live among the fray. I have to do something. Hubby, well let’s just say that he is going to attempt to take advantage of every last thread.
His Phlegmatic (Otter) personality usually insists, “she’ll be right” or “no worries”. Not me! I want tidy little packages with bows of bright colour, weedless gardens, and balanced budgets. Yeah, how’d you know? I am a Choleric (lion) personality with a touch of Meloncholic (beaver) with a glass full of OCD on the side. Thread-bare and frayed? There has to be a cure, right? RIGHT?
While I enjoy the new. the bright and light in life…unfortunately, life isn’t like that all the time. We don’t always stay young. We aren’t always energised. We don’t always feel like charging up the mountain.
Like the dandelion, what was once a bright yellow bloom one day, will in the course of time, begin to show signs of fray. This is natural. The first stages really aren’t so bad…after all, with a dandelion…in this stage, we often look on the bright side and make a wish!
I’m sure you can understand what I mean. You get your dream job. The sweet baby you have been carrying and waiting for is finally here. The relationship you have prayed for all your life is finally happening. Life could not be better! It’s everything you hoped for…until it’s not!
Your assistant is constantly out of work with family issues and the work load is added to your already hectic work schedule. Maybe the boss says a few things you disagree with and you have to bite your tongue rather than respond. Perhaps that new relationship partner insulted you, and you had to control yourself in a public place. Or possibly you have been up night and after night with a baby that fusses hour on end. Your feelings and emotions begin to feel frayed and frazzled but you are keeping it together.
You’re restrained and applying self-control. It is what we use to “hold it together” when we might be otherwise minded.
But then…someone bumps into your cart at the grocery store and you go all commando on them…WHAT…just…happened?
Did you know that the brain is using extra energy for self-control in stressful situations?
When you are faced with repeated stressful issues, it draws on a store of mental resources that you use for self-control. If you drain those resources enough, then you may have trouble controlling yourself further, according to Psychology Today.
We don’t always hold up and together. We get tired. I’m not just talkin’ a little bit fatigued, I’m talkin’ worn out, run down, lay on the couch and veg-out kind of tired.
You know what I’m talking about…those moments when your not sure you have anything more to fight with and you’re just about ready to scream, “UNCLE!”
The very idea of moving again has us worn to a frazzle and with “frayed edges,” to our feelings.
You begin feeling devastatingly alone. No one can hear you cracking. Fraying.
Maybe not at first…but then…It’s hard. It’s wrenching. It’s incredibly painful and it’s difficult to feel lightness or to see clearly.
Hanging by a thread can be really disorienting.
You might not even fully understand how you got here. You regroup and find the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
It may be hard to believe right now, but not only will it be okay, not only will you get through this, you will thrive again.
You will be clear and vibrant and you will get your MOJO back.
You are going to get through this.
You can do it.
You ARE doing it.
You have years of layers and lifetimes of experience and strengths to call on — skills that you didn’t even know you had.
You will make it through your heartbreak, your pain…just like millions of others who have felt this pain.
Other people have survived and when they got out of the frayed place, they left a breadcrumb trail out of the pain.
You can trace their steps.
My OCD tendencies cause me to want to keep pushing and FIX THIS NOW! I only end up exhausting myself. A key is to step back…renew and refresh my body,mind and spirit. Rest is important for my body to cope with the struggle(s). Period. I have to take care of myself. It’s important even if I don’t feel like it (and sometimes I don’t feel like it). When my mind is overwhelmed…I head for refreshing the spirit first. I personally find it easier to get my mind to “shut up” when I get quiet and pray. I love walks on the beach for this step. I’m out in the fresh air, listening to the waves crash into the shore and I pray. Maybe you don’t (and that’s up to you), some people meditate (I do…I meditate on the Word of Wisdom) searching for the truth that will bring me peace to frazzled heart. Once I have that wisdom, then I refresh my mind and thoughts with what I know will make a difference and help me to begin repairing the frayed ends of my life.
Maybe your frays feel more devastating and you are exhausted, lacking motivation, feeling frustrated, feeling cynical or negative. Maybe your having problems thinking clearly, your experiencing interpersonal problems, not able to take care of yourself, you’re preoccupied all the time, experiencing health problems, and generally dissatisfied. You want to take relaxation seriously, and unplug but are struggling to find a way that is beneficial and sustainable.
After the shocking news of Robin Williams recently, I realise that not everyone finds their way out of the frayed and frazzled places as easily as a quiet walk on the beach or a whispered prayer.
If this describes your situation or the situation someone you love is in…seek help. Don’t wait until your life or theirs is thread-bare…find someone you trust that can help bring the help that is needed.
I watched David Letter’s Tribute to Robin Williams and at the end he makes the statement that he didn’t realise that Robin was in so much pain. Sometimes, we don’t realise. However, we can become more aware of what is going on within our own hearts and the hearts of others so that hopefully we will see even a few of the signs. We can listen more. Ask important questions and offer what we can in meaningful ways so that the frayed ends and frazzled hearts of this world (including our own) can be mended and healed.
It may be hard to believe right now, but it’s going to be more than okay.
You may wince when you look back (understandable,) you may cry unexpectedly, but you’ll be more alive, and more You.
You will be strong.
And you will feel a curious sensation of being more useful. You might even be able to leave a few crumb (steps) for others to follow.
I certainly don’t have all the answers necessary to help you through all the trials and tribulations you’ll face when you’ve reached the end of your rope -but my hope is that I’ve offered just enough to help you begin to stop your belief that you’re the prisoner of circumstance, powerless before the fray.
Let’s break up!
This week’s challenge
You think that I am just playing as I sit here in your boat
Too little yet to understand- the way to stay afloat
There’s something that you’re missing
as you watch me filled with cheer
There is purpose in the game I play, the reason is quite clear,
I’m watching now,through tiny eyes, the world that you bestow
“Pull in that line and get on board” is what I’ve often heard
I’m watching every move you make and hearing every word
Preparing now to take my turn to grab onto the wheel
And live the life you taught me to
with hope and love and zeal.