Early in lockdown I turned to my garden for the first time in a long time and my thoughts took an interesting turn which I wanted to share with you.
I spotted the jasmine shrub which had overgrown and was ‘invading’ my garden! It had put deep star shaped roots all over the garden which were impossible to pull out. It was a ‘threat’, ‘invasive’, ‘runaway’, ‘contagious’.
I felt a mixture of feelings as I contemplated the consequences of my gardening neglect…..
….. overwhelm –it’s everywhere,
….. I’m not strong enough to beat it,
….. It’s spreading to my neighbours,
….. It will overpower and kill everything………maybe it will kill me…….
Kneeling on the infected earth, demoralised, defeated and sweaty, I reflected awhile.
My garden had become a metaphor for the Coronavirus.
I wondered how I could make use of this metaphor to help me to come to terms with this unprecedented shocking world situation which was turning mine and others’ lives upside down and inside out.
I realised that although I couldn’t personally make any inroads into conquering the Corona virus, my humble garden would be a much smaller and more manageable project.
Renewed hope reconnected me to resilience and perseverance. I hacked and chopped, I cut and cleared, I dug and dug with a fervour ignited by my hatred of this virus, this ‘C ‘ word.
I cleared, I sorted, I ordered. I took a longer view. I wouldn’t manage to clear this weed today but if I kept at it I might succeed. Onward.
And magically as my garden was transforming, becoming clear and free from jasmine chaos, so my mind was becoming clear and free. Clear spaces of rich brown fertile earth reappeared in my mind.
And in this clear space Creativity bloomed. I began to imagine possibilities for planting, for creating a lush healthy future for my garden. My garden became a visible and experiential dis-confirmation of the prevailing world crisis. Where the news was predicting death doom and disaster, my garden foretold of renewal, regeneration and growth.
My garden remains undeterred by Covid-19 and lockdown. Ever since March 23rd it has behaved exactly the same as it always has. Spring arrived as usual, the leaves unfurling from trees and shrubs, new life shooting up from the ground apparently back from the dead. This absolute predictability, regularity, repetition, this infinite miracle of nature has offered comfort and connection for me in this time of isolation and powerlessness.
As a Dramatherapist I seek to work with Metaphor, Symbol, Image as a way of re-presenting reality. I seek to connect, those things which are held inside of us with those things which are on the outside.
Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy is a collective of experienced psychotherapists, psychologists and counsellors working with a range of client groups, including fellow therapists and health professionals. If you would like more information, or an informal discussion please get in touch with us. Online therapy is available.