We urgently need to do things differently. The industrial growth society we have built is destroying the natural world. It is no longer tenable. We need to build a new world in the shadow of the old.
There are many people across the globe building aspects of that new world. People are rediscovering or reaffirming was of living meaningfully with each other and the natural world rather than living parallel lives next to each other, cut off from the wonders of nature.
I’m slowly finding my own way there. As a Druid, I’ve already come a long way. My spiritual practice helps me see myself as a part of the living world. I am finding magical connections, deeply rooted in the place where I live.
But I want to go further. I want to build real alliances with the people who live around me and the spirits I share my space with. And that’s more difficult for me than you might imagine.
I tend to be quite goal driven when I get out into the garden, or work on the Westacre renovation project. I just go and forget to notice that I am not doing this on my own.
I am always in partnership with something. The soil. The spirits of grass and moss. The mechanical spirit of lawn mower or the personality of the house itself. If I can give myself time and space to just become aware of these relationships, my life will be richer.
When it comes to making relationships with actual people, it’s even worse. I’m no leader when it comes to making social contacts. I tend to stay well inside my shell until it feels safe to come out. And that can take quite some doing. Yet I am aware that in this changing world we may soon all need each other.
These two kinds of relationship have quite a lot in common. It’s all about boundaries. Boundaries with strong defences that I have built up over many years. Walls I have thrown up and shells I have grown to protect my vulnerable ego self.
We all have these boundaries. And they are very necessary and useful things. They are there to keep us safe in a challenging world. But when the boundaries become limitations or even burdens, it’s time to do something about it. However useful our boundaries, we can’t actually survive alone.
I have learned over the last few years that there is absolutely no point forcing myself to break down those boundaries. Making myself do things that trigger the fear of my vulnerable child-self just brings more stress followed by guilt and feelings of inadequacy.
What I can do, is be gentle with myself. I can work to accept and love the me who is scared of initiating social contact. Heaping shame and punishment on top of fear really doesn’t work. Lots of hand holding and baby steps often does.
So I will start my quest for closer alliances in my comfort zone: my own house and garden. I know that I will simply forget to appreciate the connections that I already have. I’m bound to attack the next job without even noticing the first pale cream rose blooming.
The first thing to do is to stop as soon as I notice I’m trying to do something alone. I need to make a habit out of taking a breath and see who I am working with. To give them the gift of my attention. To receive the gift of their beauty. That is the kind of magical world I want to live in: one where connections are conscious and meaningful.
Our new neighbours up the lane have given me a convenient gift as well. They are having a house warming party next weekend. They have given me a great excuse to talk to neighbours I haven’t met yet and maybe meet some new friends. They are doing what I haven’t had the mental space our courage to do for myself. So I’ll be gratefully making use of the opportunity.
Gentle little steps are the only way to change emotionally based habits of a lifetime. No use scaring my inner child back into her shell. But she might just be glad of an invitation to come out and play.
(Image by Skitterphoto on Pixabay)