Whatever it Takes

Dear A Peek at Life readers,

I know I haven’t been posting consistently for a while now and there have been many contributing factors, but the main reason is that I’ve been feeling rather blocked, creatively speaking. Yes, I haven’t been feeling terribly inspired. My mother’s death in September last year left me feeling quite drained as did having to say heart-wrenching goodbyes to my family in America in March. On my return home, I found it difficult to focus and began to feel like it was just too hard to follow all the practices that help me to live a better life, like writing my morning pages, meditating, exercising and eating healthily. My camera and notebook gathered dust as I paid little attention to the world around me. I felt like one of the characters in Lord of the Flies, reverting not quite to savagery but rather inertia as the rules of civilization fell away – I never realised just how much effort it takes to stay on top of it all!

In between blobbing in front of the telly and sleeping, I was fortunately also listening to podcasts, one of them being Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations and as I listened to Shawn Achor talking about the power of a positive mind, I was reminded that I had a choice – I could continue to wallow in self-pity or I could pick myself up, dust myself off and get back out there.   

In an attempt to get out of the fog I was in, I signed up for a weekend writing retreat here in the Midlands, at a place called Solitude. Now what you need to understand is that this is not easy for me, I find group activities quite stressful and I didn’t really want to deal with more anxiety. However, all’s well that ends well and it turned out to be a very helpful and enjoyable experience. At first, I must admit, I felt even more creatively blocked, especially since the writing exercises we were given seemed to inspire everyone else except me. At night, as we sat warming ourselves beside a glowing firepit under a clear, autumn sky lit by a full moon, we were asked to read aloud what we had written during the day. Of course, I had drawn a blank and listened instead, with a growing sense of frustration and discouragement, as others read their beautiful poems and lyrical writings. I must be a slow learner because the next day, the penny finally dropped – it just needed my right brain to come back to the party! So, what I learnt was that although language is a left-brain activity (and I love language) creating a story involves the right-brain and storytelling is what I really want to do. I started seeing my blog in a different light after that and I’m once again feeling enthusiastic about it.

I’m keen to make some changes to my blog but just haven’t had the time. One of the projects I’m working on at the moment is establishing a food forest along the edge of the small patch of indigenous riverine bush that grows on our property. First of all we had to dig swales along the contour lines and that was a learning curve, so to speak. And then I attended an auction of indigenous trees at Glenbella Nursery in Estcourt – oh my word, what fun! I landed up with 40 trees averaging R100 a tree which, believe me, is a really good price for what I got. I also found a source for 3 year old blueberry and cranberry plants. Not only did they deliver but they supplied the compost and mulch and advice on how and where to plant. I’ve also got grafted navel oranges and limes, as well as avos that are overwintering on our veranda to be planted out later in the food forest.

So please don’t give up on me. I’m back on track – I’ve downloaded Insight Timer which has transformed the way I meditate (this morning I did it in the bath!). When I’ve finished getting all these bloody trees in, I will be turning my attention to a new and improved blog, I promise.

just another sunset
my beautiful girls
Serious business at the auction
Isla getting acquainted with premier league with Uncle Alex
delicious pea shoots
Thandi tries her hand at rotavating – just to loosen the compacted soil and get rid of the Kikuyu grass
the great pumpkin harvest – grown from seed given to us by Thandi’s mother
beautiful full moon setting at dawn at Solitude
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10 Responses to Whatever it Takes

  1. John Brewer says:

    Best wishes

  2. Wow! I love this! And what amazing photos! How exciting!

  3. Louise says:

    Good to have you back Cathy and in FULL FORCE!! 😁

  4. Paul Williams says:

    Glad to see you back! So much changed for you in the last year that it isn’t surprising that it’s thrown your life out of kilter. Lotsa love, Paul and Chris.

  5. Debbie Derman says:

    Ah Cath, it does take a while to find focus and direction when you have been removed from your usual daily rituals.

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Debbie, hopefully it’s something that I can get better at. These trips to the USA are going to be a regular feature in my life so I need to be better prepared to deal with the fallout. Do you find it difficult when you’ve been to Canada?

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