I have been busily catching up with my BACP journals, which had been a bit neglected amongst all the other things that have been going on since moving back to Somerset.
I have also been busily trying to sort out the fairly neglected and very big garden I am lucky enough to have access to, so an article in the December 2012 issue really struck a chord with me. It is called 'Nurturing Reflective Space' by a psychodynamic counsellor called Mark Emery.
This is a quote from the article;
"I first came across Jung's idea of the psyche as self-regulating when I was training and it has informed my personal journey and my therapeutic work ever since. It is lived experience. It is a deeply personal and authentic evidence base. I adore its optimism but like all seeds of hope, it needs a fertile place to grow; it needs an 'inner garden' that we protect and nurture; a garden with variable seasons, with times of aridity and decline and times of lush growth and beautiful flowerings."
As I've been weeding, planting, watering, digging etc, I've been thinking a lot about how a garden really can be a metaphor for the mind, amongst other things.
The weeds can be likened to negative thoughts, which can sometimes be a daily battle to keep on top of, with their deep roots like the dandelions that you just can't ever seem to pull right out, or the bindweed with similar long roots that just seems to take a strangle hold on everything if you let it. Then there's the celandine that covers everything like a blanket and has fiddly little roots that seem impossible to get rid of.
My garden fairy godfather advised planting perennials in the beds, which now have lots of space after one over enthusiastic weeding session, as they will cover so much ground the weeds won't be able to get through. He also brought over 10 bags of 'mulch', which I am to spread around newly planted plants to stop the weeds growing around them. A bit like blasting the 'negative thoughts' with constant positive ones (or something).
The part of gardening I really enjoy is, watching the vegetables grow, like planting positive thoughts, which need nurturing and keeping in mind almost constantly. I check on these every day and am becoming almost obsessed with it. Have they grown any bigger since I last checked? Have the slugs got them? Have they got enough water? Why have the leaves got holes when there are no slugs around? Is it the ants?? How will I feel if they don't grow and I somehow kill them???
People have been very kind and brought me a variety of vegetables to put in the greenhouse, peppers, aubergine, courgette, rocket, sprouts, cauliflower and I have also planted some of my own in the garden - carrots and runner beans.
So it is basically a constant desire for the 'good' plants to grow and to keep the 'bad' ones away. Now I'm thinking I should have a special corner just for weeds so I can accept good and bad at once and not try to repress everything. I think I'm maybe confusing myself and getting my metaphors mixed.....
Metaphors aside, I'm very proud of the rockery I built aided by garden fairy godfather. There is something really therapeutic about taking care of and nurturing something you have built and planted yourself and it looks so neat and tidy and well looked after! I do like the more wild looking parts of the garden as well, but it's calming to have a very ordered bit to focus on when it feels like there is too much else to do.
When I was a child I could never really understand why my Mum was out in the garden all the time and wish I had shown more appreciation of the fruit and vegetables and flowers she had grown and we all ate (yes, even the flowers, I recall making some sort of crystallised pansies and eating nasturtium leaves). I was a very reluctant gardener/helper when I was a child, although I did like eating the wild strawberries.
Now I'm really proud of the garden and it is so heart warming when it is acknowledged and appreciated, just as it is to have ones self and emotions acknowledged and appreciated.
I'm looking forward to the newly planted lavender blooming so I can walk around with a bit tucked behind each ear to keep the midges away like Mum used to.
I have it in mind to write a sort of regular garden blog and keep track of how my veg and flowers/inner garden metaphors are doing but we'll see how it goes.