I woke up at 4.30am this morning, feeling better than I have in a while. Though I moved into the new house at the end of April, what I didn’t previously mention was that I still wasn’t the legal owner. The owner had allowed me to move up here early and I think we were both expecting the purchase to be completed shortly afterwards. But it wasn’t. For one reason or another it dragged on and on. Everything finally happened just last Thursday, almost another full two months since I moved up here. Truth be told, I’ve found the last few weeks in particular highly stressful and I feel as though my body, mind and spirit have needed a lot of rest.
I’m always wary of mentioning feeling stressed or some other negatively perceived thing because during this time I have also had the pleasure of doing one or two private sessions with clients who already know my work and who reached out to me in need of some dedicated time for themselves and I worry somewhat that if I say that I myself am having a hard time with certain things, that you will think me incapable of offering a supportive space for you.
But I don’t find this to be the case at all. In fact, any difficulty going on in my own life seems to have absolutely no relevance to being able to sit with another human and hold space for them. If anything, it is the perfect antidote as it is a highly effective way to take oneself out of one’s own dramas and do something useful!
When I received the email from my solicitor to say that the purchase of the property had been completed, my first reaction was to cry (no surprise there!). But they weren’t even tears of happiness! All I could think was how silly our system of land ownership is. Here I am now in my house, with my garden! As if any of it truly belongs to anyone other than life itself!
How unfair it is that I, because of privilege, support and luck, am able to afford a little house with a garden where I can now grow some of my own food and enjoy a spectacular array of wildlife whilst others might work their entire lives and never have such an opportunity.
It seems so silly to me that we pass around these little bits of paper that different people sign and put different names on and then this little parcel of land no longer belongs to that person but to this person. How is that any of the land on this earth could ever belong to anyone in the first place. It doesn’t belong to any of us!
Sometimes, the absurdity of what we have done to this gift of life and the earth is simply too huge for my poor simple mind to comprehend. I am naive, of course. Why can’t we all just be kind and share? It reminds me of a poem I wrote months and months ago, when I was still dreaming of a little patch of earth on which to grow food and was most strongly considering moving to Ireland.
A Simple Dream
I dream of simple things and simple ways
of days spent labouring with my hands
caring for this Earth and her precious lands.
To fulfil this dream I fear I must travel far
uproot myself from where dwells my heart
for to live the life all peasants once knew
is now also the realm of the wealthy few.
Reform is needed, can’t you see
it’s time to set the people free?
It’s time, it’s time to level the field
to put down your power and let love reveal
that me and you and you and I
is nothing but a vicious lie.
There is but one and that one be we,
it’s time to set the people free.
When I read this back now I feel those lines about the peasants are quite grotesque because of course those peasants were most probably tenants of wealthy landowners breaking their backs to work the land and keep their homes and my poem makes it sound like they were super lucky. Still, this poem expresses something of a question I’ve been struggling with for some time:
Why is it now so hard to live a simple life?
Many people now are waking up to the fact that material possessions don’t bring happiness. We are waking up to the fact that the simplest of things, freely offered by the earth itself are what bring joy and peace. Growing our own food, sharing produce with our neighbours, sitting in silence watching a sunset or a bird on a branch, singing or playing music together – these things connect us to the web of life and help us to remember our divine place in that web.
And yet too often it seems that these most precious of things, these things that matter most, are things we have to squeeze into stolen moments. Moments when we are not working in the system in order to earn enough money to hopefully, if we are lucky, escape the system!
Dear God, please help us silly humans straighten out the absurdity we have created. Thank you very much. Amen.
Love and courage,