Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Blogs Away!

Well this is it. I’m finally joining the 21st century. I’ve managed to resist Friends Re-united (remember that!), MySpace , Facebook, Twitter, even MSN. However, reading some fantastic, heartwarming and inspiring blogs (see below!) has convinced me to put a tentative toe into the blogosphere. What strikes me about so many of the blogs I’ve been drawn to is that they celebrate the everyday pleasures of life. They are often very domestic in scale, often linked to cooking and home-making and crafts. They are an expression of gratitude for the little things: a walk in the autumn countryside; a row of pastel, iced buns in a bakery window; the fruit gum colours of a crocheted blanket. I suppose I hope that by joining in, I will increase my own capacity to notice the good things in life. Contentment does not come easy to me but I think it would be a good habit to develop.

Years ago, someone told me this supposedly ‘Zen’ parable:
A Buddhist monk (don’t ask why it is a monk – it’s a Zen parable) is walking through the jungle. He starts to feel as if he is being watched. He glances behind him and sees that he is being stalked by a tiger. He carries on walking and the tiger follows him. Starting to feel anxious (in a kind of accepting, Zen way presumably) the monk starts to walk faster. The tiger keeps up. The monk breaks into a run and the tiger also picks up the pace. Soon, the monk is running for his life, hotly pursued by the tiger. The monk is running so fast, he doesn’t notice he has come to a sheer drop and before he can alter his course he falls over the edge. Luckily, he is able to grab hold of a sapling, growing from the cliff face and this interrupts his fall. So there he is, hanging from a small tree. Far below him, a river racing across boulders and rocks – certain death if he falls. Above him, the tiger, still intent on its prey. The monk then notices that the roots of the sapling are starting to give way and will soon come away from the cliff face. At this point, he notices a small wild strawberry plant growing in a crevice in the rock, bearing a single perfect, red fruit. With one hand, he plucks the strawberry and eats it. And he enjoys it.

I’ve no idea about the provenance or authenticity of this ‘parable’ but it’s always stuck with us. Whenever me and my husband are feeling frazzled or discontented, we try and remind each other to ‘taste the strawberries’ (in between sulking or grumbling at each other of course!). So my intention in starting the blog is to encourage me (and anyone who reads it) to stop and taste the strawberries.

The picture above is my study - and if you look very carefully you can see my windowsill 'garden' - which included a few strawberries this summer.

So why have I called it ‘my half-finished life’ and not ‘taste the strawberries’? Well, it’s a kind of reminder to myself not to get too hooked up on perfection or rather the failed search for perfection. I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for ages, but I kept putting it off because I felt I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t think of a ‘good’ name. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to write about. I wasn’t sure which blogging site to use. I wanted to wait until I’d moved house. Then when I’d moved house, I thought I ought to wait until the house looked better, so I could put in some pretty ‘Cath Kidston’ style photos. Or I wanted to wait until I’d finished some nice craft projects, so I could show them off, which I’ve seen in the blogs I like. Or I wanted to put off starting it until I’d lost weight/dyed my hair/ acquired a more interesting personal style etc. All of which meant I didn’t get on with it. Like so many things in my life. So this blog is also intended as an acceptance of just how half-finished and ‘imperfect’ my life is. But after 45 years on the planet, I’m probably not going to suddenly morph into someone who is good at finishing things, so I might as well enjoy the half-finished things. And even though I am tempted to polish and improve this post or to leave it for a couple of days to ‘finish it’, in the spirit of this blog, I am posting it now.

The only mushroom we saw on our 'fungus foray' in West Calder woods last week. It's about 1 inch tall. Definitely a question of appreciating the 'little things'.

1 comment:

  1. Hoorah for Rosie - how glad I am to find another fellow-procrastinator. I constantly feel I fall short of becoming the Domestic Goddess I aspire to be, the perfect lover and keeper of the gorgeous home - the thoughtful friend and the creative individual (thank heavens mother isn't on that list too).

    The words I often remind myself of are the opening lines to William Davies 'Leisure' - "What is this life, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs and stare as long as sheep and cows." I can't recall any more but those lines are enough to slow mw down for a while.

    I love your blog and look forward to more of what we are as aposed to what we aspire to be -and thanks for letting me off the hook.......