The fear of pandora’s box.

As a 20 something, I saw the chains around my mother’s life one day and she told me that her baggage from childhood was stopping her from making friends and had done all her life. So I asked her, why don’t you get some help and deal with it? She stiffened, up came the wall and as she walked away I heard ‘Not opening that pandora’s box’.

Is this you?

Sure it can be painful to go there, that’s why you buried it in the first place. But here’s a point to ponder: you most likely buried it as a child when you had few skills to do otherwise and lots of adults telling you that’s what you should do. Now you’re an adult. You may have developed ways of avoiding that pain, avoiding situations where memories of the pain might surface, avoiding people who might inflict that same sort of pain and living in fear of who you might trust or not. So is the burying thing really helping you now?

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Uh huh. But what if in dealing with it, you have to feel the pain all over again? Well what if the fear of reliving the pain is way worse than the actual event? Remember, it’s had many years of you creating added layers to it so it’s quite possible that what’s in the box is actually manageable with some changed thinking. When you’re on the other side of letting it go, you might just wonder why you gave half your life to dodging it and be in awe of yourself and your ability to change.

At this point you may decide to gingerly stick a hand up out of the doona and ask how? How do you navigate through the box of pain? My journey was very long winded. I wasted a lot of time finding the people who would support me hiding in illness. When I got sick of being sick and faced the reality of another 50 years of that, I decided I was ready to find people who would give me the truth of what I was doing to keep myself sick. Confronting? Yep.

Guess what? You are stronger than you have learnt to believe you are.

I have a client who is blooming right now and it is sheer joy to watch. 2 years ago she was full of anxiety, limiting her life at every opportunity, surrounded by the walls she had built. We started with a garden, building hope and beauty that spoke to uplifting, loving memories. We fed excitement in winter with plans for spring and talked of a quiet retreat space to curl up and just be.

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In time, the garden became reality and she buried herself in planting, tending, nurturing. It brought such joy that the contrast between the feeling of being in the garden and not was unbearable. With the strength from this joy came the desire to unpick the anxiety and so we began with confronting what creates it. She is now aware of when her behaviour is an old reaction to a well worn button someone has pushed inadvertently. Now the choice is to react differently. The smile on her face when she does it and does it again is just priceless. The effect on her life is beautiful.

I work as a Healing Garden Designer, a Spiritual Counsellor and a Hahnemann Healing practitioner and trainer. It makes sense. I can’t help someone open up and then not share the road out. What’s in your pandora’s box and how much life will you give to it?

 

Impish incidents

Egg yolk yellow soccer ball snatched with impish delight. Exquisite joyful paw play, lost in a world of surprises never feared. Dog. Quickening of step along one hundred miles of sand, treasures hastily arranged, impishly playful arrows known to be a child map to ice cream. Father. Giggled squeals of imped up rubber band energy barely touching the wind, landing twinkle toes in splashes of glassy puddles. Again! Again! Child. Imps by nature find each other, heralding playfulness framed in lightness of sparkling love let live and breathe. Kissed with fairy dust of magical wisdom embraced. Declared Imps. Giggled squeals of imped up rubber band energy barely touched by the wind, dancing on clouds of memories free reign free mind. Freedom of child like woman knowing her inner imp alive again. To imp or not to imp. No question.

Natural Valium

We all have emotional pain. Things happen, feelings overwhelm, mistrust of our ability to cope arrives and we are coaxed to divert, bury and avoid so others find it easier to be with us and we continue to function as we must. I learnt as a child to use nature to soothe myself and unlearnt it as a young adult when chemical prescriptions were offered as the answer. Pustulent eruptions of unexpressed pain, anger, sadness and grief broke through the chemical numbness to inflict physical pain as my body screamed for emotional relief. More pretty pills prescribed by well meaning doctors failed to halt the demise of a body at war with itself. I needed soothing, I needed safety and I needed to let go of the biggest pustule of all; the pain from childhood.

As I child I ran to the creek and sat with my back against the huge trunk of an old peppercorn tree. Magic happened in that tree. My imagination transported me to a whole other world where beautiful colours burst out of everywhere, sparkling dust wove ribbons through the skies and laughter lifted me into the clouds. I rolled around in paint pots of colour, flowers all around me in fields of rainbow blended softness. Birds danced on sunny air cushions and happy dogs bounded all over me with love. This magical place of imagination fed me with feelings of love and acceptance. I could be anyone, I could do anything there. I let myself fly. Eventually I would have to return to the place that made me want to run; that not so nurturing place. In my mind though, I could be at the tree in my magic world. I developed resilience in being able to generate good feelings within me, enough to balance the pain so I didn’t break.

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When I was 5 we moved to the city and there was no creek or peppercorns I could find. Our house was surrounded by lawn or dirt and a single young tree was stuck out in the front lawn all alone. I didn’t find soothing there, I didn’t feel safe enough to disappear in my imagination. Worse things started happening to me, I learnt to feel helpless and fearful. I longed for my creek and the dirt road that led to it. I longed for my imagination to transport me. Hopelessness painted brown gardens with toasty, water starved neglect. I searched for tiny patches of green and in those, looked for minute signs of thriving life. Nature had transported me before, it could again.

On special weekends we were packed up with a picnic and barely contained excitement fuelled the drive to the national park. I found a creek, pebbles and rocks breaking the water into foamy pools of spongy air bubbles. The big old trees smelt different on a hot day. Still, caves of shrubby foliage wrapped me in soothing and I could disappear with my imagination again. Those trips were rare but so very precious. Not enough, the bad enveloped the good and down I went. I unlearned the escape hatch of nature and learnt to  get sick instead. My connection to nature gave me love, not human love but other-worldliness love. Love that made me feel I belonged, accepted, that gave me strength. Without the regular nature connection that I could take myself to, I lost my source of love. Do you see? A tree by a creek with some wildness enabled a child to connect to an independent source of love and resilience grew. Take the tree and the ability to get to the tree away, implant the nature connected child into concreted suburbia and illness began. Please understand the power of this, acknowledge the places in nature that let your imagination fly.

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There is so much to share of this journey of connection back to nature and healing. It is growing into a book and little windows from there will find their way here. Know this: from the pain wracked pill numbed girl drowning in a roller coaster of emotional tidal waves, I am blossoming. No longer ill, now resilient and choosing to confront emotional pain as it comes, I am thriving on the natural valium of nature. It is nature we must fight for, in all the peppercorn tree hanging over a creek with bluebell carpet kind of ways we can find. It can be created or found, either way it becomes a place of healing. A vivid imagination will not come from the unimaginative convenience of concrete.

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Obstacles

We choose our direction though the current may take us to the drop point. Sometimes it’s the right direction and sometimes it’s not. Obstacles are just the test of commitment to the chosen direction but can also be the consistent roadblock we need to listen to. If the test is passed, the way forward opens up. If the roadblocks keep coming, are you meant to be there?
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The adventure called ‘life’

Where have I been.. 

Nature in a different country is still the same cradling arms, the same powerful energy, the same teacher. I’ve been on an adventure of love and it must have consumed me for a time. In the time since I last wrote here I lived years in just months and I’m not certain if I’m all in one place yet, so out I go to nature and look up. There is the sky doing the next breathtaking melange of prettiness, there is the moon cutting perfect crescents in the blackness, there is the sun bursting out of the horizon sending birds everywhere into a cacophony of happy dances.

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We are endurance athletes when it comes to love said Leonardo. I wonder if we could all make this business of living an extraordinary life just a little easier. When we contain living into a small box because we are afraid that stretching, opening, letting go, learning is too painful.. we make it a roller coaster life. Every little while a burst of extraordinary living erupts because it can’t be contained any longer, but that can be such a volcanic spurt of emotion and then all is packed into the familiar box again. Fingers burnt, safer in the box. There’s so much beauty in the everyday of nature if your eyes are switched on. It just keeps giving. Every day the sun comes up. Every night it paints the change in colours we know as sunset. Every night the moon lights a hole in the back. 

I found some tenacious nature. In the tiniest little crevice in the pavement a magnificent absurdly huge hollyhock just leapt up to smack every passerby with a kiss of pinkness. There you go, take that, I’m going to give pretty pink no matter what mood you are in or how tough you think you have it, just see me..

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Endurance. If only we could make bigger holes in the pavement for all the magnificence to burst out, it would be less volcanic, less all or nothing. Maybe even a garden that thrives, never knowing a box called safety. Me.. hurt and wounded but no more safety. I’ve known the taste of really living and I won’t be blooming through the cracks of safety again.

Emotional Healing and Garden Design

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Eyes lit up with excitement yesterday. The needs of humanity were front and centre in a room full of students numbed to the core with a diet of lavishly constructed outdoor kitchens, surrounded by vast expanses of perfectly laid paving awash in the brilliant blue light from the adjacent pool. Ugh.

I’m ready to share a story, the one that took me on the path of garden design.

On the menu of dysfunction in my ‘normal’ family was my mother’s extreme mood swings. We lived in council housing until I was 15, properties commonly devoid of beauty, plant life, trees or greenery of any kind. In 2 different houses we were surrounded by desolate land starved of love. On any day it was a lottery which mother would greet us after school and I became very skillful at being a chameleon, ready to appease the drama and the catalogue of horror that predictably followed each mood. At 16 life changed. My parents bought their first home. The very first thing my mother did was start a garden. She nursed cuttings taken under the cover of darkness and fed them with love. They grew and she planted more, then fruit trees, shade trees, trees for the birds. She began to share her joy sometimes, then more often. Somehow a few years later, she must have realised that her anger and pain could be soothed in the garden so she would take herself there when it all became too much. I envied those plants.

In sharing how I design gardens and why yesterday, I didn’t share this story but I should have, it is evidence of the power of a garden, of nature. I told of my own healing, the discovery of how I would seek open, busy spaces with lots of people when I was too scared of the Pandora’s box of emotions to be alone with it. I told of eventually finding the courage to open the lid when chronic illness sucked my energy dry, of the upliftment discovered in my own garden, of the withdrawl from life when the darkness of that childhood was truly felt. I told of the philosophy that came from such pain, now supported by stories from my clients, friends and colleagues across the world.

We seek distraction when emotional pain feels too great to confront. Anything to keep us busy, just don’t let me be alone with my thoughts.. When the courage arrives at last and we choose to change our life, it can be a tough time for a while. A bit like being in a little row boat on huge ocean seas. All we want to do is find a cave and get into foetal position. At these times, we can isolate ourselves and lose confidence. A garden with quiet, womb-like places to nestle into will beckon, places to hide from the world but tune in to nature. Sitting in this safe, nurturing place, uplifted with beautiful planting and protected by the shade of a low tree, the sound of water captures the mind and stills it, letting the feelings wash in. When they arrive, as an adult, we can deal with them in this safe, nurturing place. Let the healing begin.

This is what excited the students yesterday. This possibility of creating gardens and parks with the intent to provide an environment specifically tailored to stages of emotional healing. Private gardens are shrinking, many don’t have the money or skills to create a garden. That makes public spaces ripe to provide opportunities to create Nature’s sanctuaries for healing. I feel hopeful.. our designers are beginning to listen..

I want to create a movement. Are you in the tribe?

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I want to start a movement. I want to connect with people all over the world who want to help me to create an avalanche of possibilities involving bringing living, breathing, life sustaining & uplifting nature into every corner of our daily life. I want public ‘landscapes’ to breathe with nature not concrete. I want people to be enticed to sit and rejuvenate themselves in the shade of a beautiful tree, surrounded by uplifting, floriferous plants that scream nature, not low maintenance mass cloned boredom. I want plants inside every building, plants hanging down walls and climbing up walls of concrete, I want to sigh with the relief of cool green nature on a hot day instead of the packaged air of climate control systems. I want wildlife eating the leaves and pooping on pavement, I want to know I’m part of something much greater, much more powerful than ‘progress’.
I want to overwhelm the architects, landscape architects, constructors and builders of this world with the feelings of joy possible when seeing one person be able to change their life for the better because of the strength they gained inside themselves while being inspired and uplifted in a beautiful garden – one they had helped to create with that very intention.
I want us to change our lives by creating a demand for nature so powerful, so full of possibilities and upliftment that there is no such thing as nature deficit disorder.

I want … to breathe.

  I want to see Nature take over our cities and streets, food and fruit everywhere. I know we can change how we move through our cities so that we don’t need concrete everywhere. I believe we can do 80% nature 20% concrete. So… the 80/20 movement.. are you in the tribe?

To dream

I’m watching the wisp of cloud wander across the sky in a dance of sheer delight above mountains stretching beyond anything the sea can imagine… like the hopes and dreams of a small child endowed with vast imagination, the heights she stretches to are only heights from where she believes she is standing. You, parent, are standing at the sea, believing as you were taught, to stretch only for the next safe rock. Those vast dreams of your child are equal to the belief she has in her ability to create the future she imagines for herself. It may be much greater than any future you could imagine for her, influenced by your own limited hopes and dreams weighted low with fear.

Suffocate the fear, let no parent speak of limitations when a child dreams big. It is your fear. Gift your child with love that grows self belief and give them space to bloom and stretch for the highest mountain they can imagine.

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The Journey

As a child, I found myself there without being aware of the journey. As a 51 year old woman standing true in myself, I live so much in the journey that I can forget to look for the destination. For a time the journey was all there was, wading in the sludge of yesterday, wondering if tomorrow would ever be easier.

Here I am, at a hard won point of turning, arms spread wide feeling the sun kiss my smile. Freedom of old and welcome of the real me, I hug the future with pure joy, regardless of what it brings. The sludge taught me well, trust my power to leap over any excrement and never take my eye from the place I want to be.

I feel peace inside.

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The work of the Dreamer

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I believe that there are many many people all over the world who need what I can bring them, they just don’t know what that is or how to find me.

I see the whole of you, recognise your searching and know how to connect you to the answers and peace you seek within you. I bring the beauty, wisdom and magic of the most uplifting nature you can imagine right to your heart. What happens is the power to change.

‘You’ can be a child learning of love, an adult searching for meaning and fulfillment that is love, elderly and remembering love, a place of healing with broken people in need of love, a school where learning from nature is love, a person with power who has forgotten how to love or a corporation seeking a culture of joy fed by love.

The power of the beauty, wisdom and magic I create is not limited by space or money, only by your desire to find what you seek. What I bring can be as tiny as a teacup or as vast as a city, but neither if you don’t know where to find me.

Dirtscape Dreaming soupbowl garden

Dirtscape Dreaming soupbowl garden

My name is Wendy Clarke, I create under the name of Dirtscape Dreaming, I have everything I need to create what you need and I will take myself wherever you are in the world. I am unique and genuine. Now I have shared what I can bring and you know how to find me. Please share with those who are still searching. With love, Wendy

Healing Garden

Healing Garden