Posts Tagged ‘fulfilment’

inspiration and longevity from gardening

inspiration and longevity from gardening

August 23, 2011  |  environment, knowledge, life, main blog, motivation  |  4 Comments

I’ve just come in from an exhilarating day in the garden – made myself a vegetable plot from redgum railway sleepers – and feel motivated to post something about gardening.

Creating and/or maintaining a garden, whatever the size, nurtures the body, mind and spirit. For many people, their garden is their sanctuary, for others like me, gardening can inspire and energise.

Gardens can make us happy, heal us when sad or depressed, and help us understand profound truths about the relationship between ourselves and nature. As we journey through the seasons, the pattern of birth, bloom and decay sheds light on the mystery of being human” Albert Camus

The life and death cycle in the garden is an analogy with life itself. It provides a sense of wonder at what nature can provide. For children, seeing a pea in a pod, a bird feasting on a flower, or tasting a home grown tomato, adds a whole new dimension to our consumer and supermarket driven society. For adults, a garden can be a total escape from the things that bother us, such as technological intrusion, or unfulfilling lives…..and there’s nothing like whipping out the back to find a fresh herb to add flavour to any dish.

Eileen Campbell writes in her delightful little book, “The Joy of Gardening”, “We’ve somehow become divorced from the natural world and seem to be on a headlong course to destroy the planet one way or another. Gardening isn’t a panacea for the problems of the world, but maybe by creating our own little bit of paradise, we can make a difference. Gardening nurtures qualities like patience, optimism, trust, discipline and attention – which can ultimately help us live a fulfilled and happy life

 I was lucky to have been brought up with soil under my finger nails, enjoying the products of an extensive home vegie garden, the taste of home grown fruit and learning to appreciate the beauty of native plants. For those to whom gardening is new, don’t be intimidated by the prospect. It’s highly accessible and possible for everyone to become involved – from single room apartment balconies to sweeping arboretums.  There’s even a trend towards green walls and roofs in residential and commercial buildings. They give a sense of tranquillity, connect the inside with the outside and help the planet by turning carbon dioxide into oxygen.

 The community garden  concept is also becoming popular around the world. Community gardens bring people together, generate fresh food and flowers, and operate on a shared work load principle. If there’s nothing in your local area, why not approach the council or park management authority to kick one off?

So, to the unconverted I suggest you get involved. While great gardens show a sense of flair and artistry, there are no rules – it’s simply a matter of getting on the court and playing. The web is full of guidance on vegetable gardening , growing herbs and even a helpful site which collates 50 blogs covering many types of gardens.

Sowing seed, watching life emerge, weeding, pruning, harvesting and clearing, give a rhythm to life and transcend time. It’s also therapeutic for the body and mind. Active gardening contributes to longevity (my unproven hypothesis) – through fresh air, sunshine, peace of mind and exercise. As the garden you have created and developed becomes part of you, then you become part of it.

Gardens also provide the chance to learn things (I’m still trying to learn how to make compost like my mother in law!) We’re increasingly being challenged to understand concepts like water use efficiency and growing plants without artificial chemicals.  You’ll find that experienced gardeners love to share their secrets with aspiring gardeners – tips like planting a passionfruit vine above a bullock’s liver, or keeping your orchids in part shade. Many of them have also grown to understand the garden as an ecosystem and have learnt about integrated pest management and the importance of soil condition. It’s a great conversation opportunity across generations.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. Show me your garden and I’ll tell you what you are” Alfred Austin

fulfilment from creativity

fulfilment from creativity

February 11, 2011  |  knowledge, life, main blog, motivation, philosophy  |  1 Comment

A friend asked me recently to nominate the things that had given me most fulfilment in life. I asked him for some time to reflect on the question and reverted the next day.

My list went something like this, “Creating a family with my wife; building a house together;   establishing lupins as a new crop with a team at Rutherglen; being part of a team that transformed Corinna from a ghost town into an eco-tourism destination; and the pleasure derived from photography over many years.”

 It wasn’t until I had articulated these experiences that I realised the glue, the common theme, running though each of them. They aren’t about achievements at work or winning competitions. They all involve creativity, and each of them about creating something that has personal interest and meaning.

Greg Barber’s interesting blog suggests that creativity can be related to the newer western principle of making products, building things for a purpose, or the expression of scientific or technological innovation.  Whereas in older cultures, there’s always been an undertone of creativity playing a role in personal fulfilment, private goal setting, and taking an inner journey. My own list involves both aspects.

Creativity in either context often involves a heightened state of consciousness. Things appear to be more vibrant, more alive; colours are vivid, sounds more pure. I love Alan Alda’s quote, “The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”

Add meaning and understanding to creativity – in your own eyes and through those of others – and it is possible to achieve deep fulfilment. In my own case, the meaning in the five nominated experiences is, in part, related to the fact that people, products and experiences have been created that are likely to outlast my short time on this planet. They were also achieved through co-operation with other people. What has fulfilled you most in your life?

Featured image is one of the refurbished original miner’s cottages at Corinna Wilderness Experience in Tasmania