Thursday, 27 September 2012
Michaelmas Bread Dragons and the associated inner work
I was making sure we had everything we need to make our annual Michaelmas bread dragons at the weekend, locating the accompanying story etc. and it got me thinking about how well placed this festival is in the year. Each time it comes around I observe that I am naturally moving inwards, taking stock, battling with my own "inner dragons".
Last week I was telling you about how I had started reading The Private World of Tasha Tudor and now that I have finished it (four times, actually!) I wanted to say a bit more about the book because Tasha's words have inspired me greatly.
The thing I love most about the work of Tasha Tudor is the magic, the way she captured childhood innocence and special nostalgic family moments so I was surprised to read this:
'Everyone who likes my illustrations says "Oh, you must be so enthralled with your creativity." That's nonsense. I'm a commercial artist, and I've done my books because I needed to earn a living, to keep the wolf away from my door, and to buy more bulbs!'
The book shows this amazing life and home that Tasha carved out for herself through the seasons of a year (the book is dated 1992) and, while we have very different tastes and goals, I admire the unapologetic way which she saw what she wanted and then worked to create it, often with little means, even creating her own religion - Stillwater.
'Stillwater connotes something very peaceful, you see, life without stress. Nowadays, people are so jeezled up. If they took some chamomile tea and spent more time rocking on the porch in the evening listening to the liquid song of the hermit thrush, they might enjoy life more.'
At the end of the book she says:
'I think I've done a good job of life, but I have no message to give anyone. If I do have a philosophy, it is one best expressed by Henry David Thoreau: "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." That is my credo. It is absolutely true. It is my whole life summed up.'
I get so easily distracted. I'm like a magpie being attracted by shiny things - what other people are doing always looks so interesting - that I forget to concentrate on what exactly it is that I want.
Sometimes, particularly with online social networks I have so much noise in my head, I see so many people doing so many things and I stand here like a rabbit caught in the headlights wondering why I am not as productive or successful. I'm beginning to realise that I'm just on a different path, and that's OK.
I'm also terrible about procrastinating - when I win the lottery I can do this, or if this opportunity pays off then I can do that... I forget about how much potential there already is in my current situation. What could I do today, right now, to work towards my dreams?
Reading this book has made things seem so simple. It has been a clarifying experience, like a tall glass of water, hydrating my life.
I think the hardest part is about breaking those habits of stressing and worrying over so many things. My sleep has been troubled so I have a lot of subconscious things to work through, right now. But I'm excited about embracing the here and now and seeing where concentrating on nurturing it will take me.
Posts may be a bit more sporadic in the coming weeks but I think that irregular bursts of inspiration and enthusiasm might be better than 5 days a week of things I feel I ought to be doing.