Was it the breeze through the trees?

trees 011Spring is spluttering into the island with odd bursts of sunshine shining its light on the flowering spring  plants.  I say spluttering because it is broken up with grey coldness that can descend onto the island very quickly.  After some very long days on the smallholding I have remained indoors today to catch up on other jobs.  Those that know me well know that I don’t do lists.  They scare me because they always seem so long.  I prefer to let things rumble around in my head sorting themselves out as they go.  This rather organic approach to planning has its challenges but one of its strengths it that it allows me to live in the moment.  Living in the moment is far easier to say than to do and I spent two years devoting lots of time to learning just how to do this.  To begin with I was completely useless as I have spent a lifetime living in the future.  If there was one thing I was good at it was planning and I took it to ridiculous levels.  It became so ridiculous that I had forgotten how to live in the present.  I now share that learning through my teachings and I find that the honesty I bring to the debate allows my students to truly investigate their own attentions.  As I am deep in the rewrites for my course Meditation through Writing that begins again on March 20th I am acutely aware of just how far this journey has taken me.

Hazel hurdle 004My absence of lists in part of an allergic reaction to planning that I seem to have developed.  By living in the moment  you learn the essence of living in and through every single moment of your life.  The moments seem to etch their imprints in your mind in more meaningful ways.  Yesterday, we were coppicing yet more hazel while engaged in tree management on our land.  Hazel has a deep dislike to being left to grow naturally and I am sure it is because it prefers to grow long and straight.  If left to its own devices it starts to twist and parts of it die very quickly.  I was working with one particularly sad hazel yesterday and as I clipped off branches that had crossed over others and removed dead wood I thought I heard the tree sigh.  It would have been the breeze moving through the trees but I preferred to think of it as a happy tree sighing with contentment.  Living in the moment is all about contentment.  We learn to let go of that ‘striving’ attitude that places us in the future and takes us away from the present.

hazel catkinsThis morning I opened the front door and experienced the strangest of emotions.  Looking down the avenue of hazels that have all now been relieved of their dead wood I felt a real sense of inner peace.  Now was that peace emanating from a job well done or were the trees passing me their own message of peace?  I will leave that out there for some contemplation.



Photographed by David Newell
Photographed by David Newell

Spring is a very busy time on the smallholding but we feel more ready than ever before.  The Atlantic has thrown some big storms our way over the winter but we have battled on regardless and managed to build all the raised beds we need for the expansion of our cut flower offering.  The islanders voted with their feet last year by purchasing all that we could offer but we knew they would want more this year so the work needed to be done.  We are already well underway with sowing seeds and our sweet peas and cosmos are already making their presence know.  Our coppiced hazel was used in the construction of the raised beds and it will also be used in the creation of some obelisks for my sweet peas to wander up and over.  In the language of flowers sweet peas means delicate pleasure and so it should.  They have always been and will always remain my favourite flower.

800px-Sweet-pea-flowerMy relationship with flowers runs very deep indeed and if I could speak through flowers each and every day I am sure I would.  As a grower I have learnt to listen to the land and flowers are the land’s translator.  They can send us all sorts of messages and it is up to us to listen carefully.  If the land is fertile, healthy and strong the flowers will tell you but if it is empty, lifeless and weak the flowers will shout that very loudly indeed.  In our flower business Buds and Blooms we share our passion for flowers with our fellow islanders but I am in the midst of writing a distance learning course that, I hope, will allow people from anywhere in the world to join me on a shared journey with flowers. 

Flowers would like a word is a distance learning course that follows the journey of the flower through all its intricacies and possibilities.  It aims to deepen our understanding of flowers and reveal their complete offering to the world in which we live.  Practical projects form the focus of this course guided by some careful and relevant research.  As with all my courses it can be done in your own time and at your own pace.  Click HERE to find out more and do get in touch for a chat if you are interested.

Photographed by avid Newell
Photographed by David Newell

The Spring Equinox on March 20th is an important date in my personal internal calendar.  It is a time to welcome and a time to seek promises.  It has long been a significant date for me and I hope to share exactly why on this blog and also on the sister sharing site One soul many hearts.  The Spring Equinox is a day to engage in fully and I do hope some of you might join me in celebrating this most special of days.  If we didn’t have the season of spring I don’t think we would truly understand the concept of hope.  Without hope all is quite possibly lost.  Hope is something that lives in the future but we can allow this exception to living in the moment.  Hope is aspirational and spring is also aspirational.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with aspirational thinking as long as it takes it place in our minds behind our appreciation for the moment.  I have the enormous pleasure of working with a range of young people who are just fledging into the adult world.  I can see their aspirations all too clearly but we work with where they are now rather than where they want to be in the future.  Through a series of guided exercises we explore who they have already become and their unique place in the world.  We untangle thinking to allow for a much clearer perspective on life to emerge.  Only then can we move into their aspirations with a renewed sense of ourselves.  I also consider it an honour to walk with these young people even for the briefest of times.  If you want to know more about my work with young people click HERE. 

So, spring is already offering us much and it is yet to establish itself fully on our island and  in our minds.  March is the month that allows spring to find its voice and I am grateful for this transition time between the season.  I do my best thinking in the winter but I do my best doing in the spring and I think this balance works well.  I am, in essence, allowing one season to speak to the other.  I am wondering what early messages spring is sharing with you?  I would love  to hear them. 

Speak very soon.  xx

Photographed by David Newell.
Photographed by David Newell.

David Newell is the most wonderful photographer.  He works with me on One soul many hearts.  If you want to see more of his work go to his Flickr account. 


2 thoughts on “Was it the breeze through the trees?

  1. What a wonderful post. I agree that planning can take you away from the present moment. I am a terrible one for planning. I plan so much in my job and I haven’t yet found a way around that, but I extend the need to plan into all aspects of my life and that is something I am trying to do less. I loved what you wrote about Spring and look forward to celebrating the equinox too! Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for the lovely feedback. I used to work as an academic in a university where we planned everything so it is liberating to live differently. Some years ago I discovered the book slow time by Waverly Fitzgerald and it changed the way I look at time. It is worth a read! X

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