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Posts tagged ‘gardening therapy’

At the doorstep of 2021

The year is white from ends

with flourishing green in the middle

The year

The year is what we have chosen to be our reference point. The year starts and ends in winter in places where I have lived and still live. The end and the start of the year happen to be white very often or about 85% of the time, sometimes with snowdrifts and shiny snow blanket over grasses and frost on trees, sometimes – with only ice patches and mud, sometimes bitterly cold, but always in winter. I am aware it’s not everywhere like that.

The green part of year

I am a fan of the middle: from early spring till the last green grass stem is still growing. I stop painting winter right before Christmas, and in the recent years, I am trying to stick with my decision not to paint any snow. It is easily explained: I cannot wait for the first flowers and plants to come up. I will be digging soil in the backyard when it hasn’t even completely thawed yet. That is my gym and my exercise and always has been.

Sinful idleness versus meaningful doing

The age impacts the flow of time and our perception of time settings to a great extent. The older one gets, the more serious they are about using time wisely, at least I am. I do measure my days by accomplishments, not by hours. If I haven’t managed to get anything meaningful done during the day, I’ll be upset. Therefore, spending time just exercising or walking aimlessly while I can also get done something useful in the garden, is a sin for me. Just like idle sitting around or having small talk.

No small talk for me

I avoid small talk, I certainly do as much as possible. Walking is fantastic, and I add usually a target to it: one store or another, appointment or visit. If I’m in the middle of painting, I simply cannot answer the phone. That frequently involves making small talk. Paint dries quickly, ideas vanish and mood changes. We never paint with the brush and paints only, there are a lot of other factors which go into my art.

Nobody has all answers

It’s good to believe that we know all the answers as our age grows and gets past 60, but it’s not true. The more we know, the more questions arise. I am very thankful for my medical knowledge, pharmaceutical and diagnostic skills and clinical experience. That has really helped and not only me. It keeps making life easier. I’ve also discovered how Canadian doctors are not always up to standards and protocols, and how much their diagnosis can be affected by rush, generalized assumptions and plain misunderstanding or inattention.

Superficiality

Superficiality is very widespread. The justification is that nobody has time. That is the biggest paradox of nowadays: everybody has plenty of time for fruitless scrolling through the internet on any screen that happens to be around, but no time for the good and meaningful things which make life worthwhile. Most people don’t ever read anything that’s under the picture or within the actual text, or the first 3 words at the best. Superficiality leads to sloppiness, disorganized and careless attitude in other areas of life.

Lack of quality

Quality is very quickly disappearing as the result, and lack of quality actually applies to absolutely all areas of our life. For instance, while I know that restaurants are having tough times, the restaurant and takeout food is just not for me and my family. We have gotten takeout meals a few times, and most of this food went to the garbage bin. It had no taste, no flavor, and there was certainly no love applied when cooking. High class workmanship and good skills in whatever walk of life we are looking for, are just not there. It makes no sense trying to get somebody’s help when it’s pretty clear you will have to do it over.

The year 2020

Everybody of us applies our own ratings and our own measuring tape based on experience, age, knowledge and so forth to whatever we are evaluating. Comparatively, I cannot complain about this year. The previous one, the 2019 was much worse since I lost my mom that year. Garden was doing extremely well this year. I put in many jars of preserves for winter. I had no live art classes from March to December, therefore, I was able to paint many more of my own paintings. Some of them are really excellent. Washing hands, disinfecting all items and areas, wearing a mask and staying at home was not a problem for us because we are a tiny 2-person family. Financials could be way better, but, unless one is a billionaire, that’s always an area which could be better.

December: snow and more snow
December: white and pure snow all around
Magnolias
Early spring magnolias, they blossom in my backyard
Spring lettuce
Lettuce comes up and produces early
Summer cucumbers
We were enjoying our own cucumbers in the summer and later pickles in the fall and winter
I had tomatoes from June to November, some got used in preserves
Summer flowers
Flowers in full bloom, this is already October
Bell peppers
Bell peppers or paprika were doing fine also, late October here
Last nasturtium
The last nasturtium blossoms, direct before the strong November frost
January sometimes comes with sunny days

Be patient

The COVID-19 pandemic probably will take quite a while to resolve. As we have seen, this virus mutated very quickly, thus, causing to establish whether the available vaccines still work for the new variants of this virus. It’s uncertain that more new variants won’t appear before everybody has received their immunization dose of vaccine. Only time will show how long we are staying safe and how long the vaccine actually helps keeping one safe: a year, 3 years, more years? Time is what we didn’t have so far. Being patient is very important, hence, everybody contributes to putting the COVID-19 pandemic behind us.

Wishing safe, healthy and good New Year!

Thanks for reading if you did!

Living green means simplifying and enhancing life

So far, we have been taught that more is always better. We have known for decades that having more than anybody else is the best.

It is fairly obvious, however, that it is better to have a few good things than very many useless ones. We have to educate ourselves every single day, and do that not based on what somebody else believes, but on facts, our and others experience and tested, proven truth. The campaigns which claim to provide us with miracle products are just an advertising trick because the real miracle of life is our ability to change our life and destiny. We always have a choice, would that be food or place to live.

We love excuses, we can justify any laziness or idleness of mind and body. There are diseases, there are accidents, many of which wouldn’t happen if we paid more attention and had implemented some preventive measures. Accidents and diseases are quite often caused by things which we didn’t want to do since we felt too tired or too exhausted to do.

Prevention is the best protection, both against diseases and accidents. Having everything safely placed at home and in the outdoor space prevents plenty of childhood accidents. It is not that difficult to never place hot or boiling substance close to the table rim. It is not that difficult to fence in open water on a property. One ambulance worker said: if people didn’t try so hard to show off how brave or strong they are, many accidents wouldn’t happen.

Choosing simple things over expensive equipment and gym isn’t any worse sporting activity. In fact, we are aware now, that moderate physical activities are the best. That means people, who already have some illness or disorder, have to be careful and choose activities which won’t harm them more.

Everybody who can, should take walks. The added bonus is doing that in tree-rich area, parks, forests, taking a path away from busy traffic routes. When we compare walk in the forest and workout in the gym, it is almost like comparing a decent organic meal and dining at a fast food restaurant.

Appearances take huge place in any area of our life. I mean people do so much stuff not for themselves, but to show off their extra success to somebody who is “everybody”. I have noticed how TV uses “everybody”: everybody eats this and everybody watches that; everybody wears that outfit or color and everybody exercises like that. Well, everybody is actually nobody.

Thankfully, we are also all different as our DNA proves. There are no 100% identical people on the planet because even twins develop distinctive lifestyles or get different diseases in their lifetime due to epigenetic factors and environmental influence. Epigenetic factors have strong influence, therefore, we are not only determined by our genetic potential or some genetic disorder.

The best way to keep ourselves healthy is to always stay close to nature and natural products and environment.

We can learn a lot from the garden: how to start fresh every year, how to bloom regardless of bad weather and how to get through tough winter peacefully and being ready for the new blossoming. Therefore, we can impact our destiny and genetic predisposition by returning to nature: fresh air, unpolluted water, undisturbed sunlight and clean soil. We can live very well putting basic natural products, greens and herbs on our table. The beauty and tranquility of a garden is the best environment to recharge and reset one’s energy.

It was late fall, and some flowers were still blossoming. Sunflowers are beauties with a strength and surviving power of a warrior. Colors of leaves make us wonder every fall: how can the nature have so many colors and shapes? It is such a talented artist creating beauty effortlessly. Enjoy the picture gallery!

Scars from the past and fears of the future

Some people are definitely more intact than others, and I am referring to people who have experienced severe mental or physical injuries and traumas. Some have inherited or developed stronger defense mechanisms; therefore, they can withstand bad relapsing conditions and depression triggering events easier. I think our mental strength gets also affected with any physical trauma. I am not one of those people who write blogs about their struggles and suffering. I know that sharing a bad condition brings sort of relief and can possibly show the way out to others. It’s just possibly, because there are no two 100% identical cases, there are just similarities, maybes and huge inter-and intra-individual variations. However, as bad as my conditions and pain might be, I do not want to allow these disorders and pain to identify me.  I just refuse to be somebody who always suffers since that’s not what I am here for. I am here to protest, to oppose, to help, to teach and share some facts and my discoveries.

art of surviving disaster 6

Nevertheless, it’s been 3 very tough years. Again. I already had once 3 very tough years after I left the hospital which had become my home for almost a year. It’s very interesting how before the accident I didn’t even know what a simple headache was. After the accident, I learned everything about hospitals, pre-and post-treatments, medicines, their side effects and I discovered billions of new small bits about the human body and the ways it functions or dysfunctions. So far, I have spent 30 years studying everything from depressive and cognitive disorders to anything related to type I diabetes, heart and vascular, kidney, liver, lung and digestive diseases, and I am paying special attention to the brain activity and anything which affects it. While I can fairly well assess my own disorders, I cannot cure them on my own. Apart from being hard to tolerate, pain is also exhausting and drains me out of energy. It is capable of doing this to the point when I am almost always asleep. Pain is a bad and obtrusive companion: I wake up with it, I go to sleep with it, I have my lunch with it and it seems to be always around.

Those of you, who live with chronic pain for lengthy periods of time, probably are aware that pain makes us more vulnerable, more sensitive, more open to depression and desperation. Whatever somebody would say, whenever the pain attacks, we have to experience it on our own. If you are extremely sensitive to any chemicals and medicines as I am, you are aware how they make one sick even at doses which would be considered tiny and mild. So, that’s the issue, I am trying to be stronger than pain without much of medications. I would take them only when it is absolutely, completely intolerable. Even in these cases, I’m using only 200 mg or 400 mg Ibuprofen or Advil. Nothing stronger, nothing which affects the brain function and interaction of brain chemicals. I take pills rarely, as rarely as only possible. Instead, I am crying, tossing around on a couch and feeling how my willpower leaves me. Why? I don’t want to damage more than inevitable my kidneys, my liver and get ulcers, bleeding or holes in the stomach which can happen with prolonged use of potent pain relief medications. Unfortunately, when we have to rely on OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) covered care and treatments, the waiting times are insane. It can take about 6 months to see the specialist. In my case, it took 3 years to try getting something done. I am going to have a surgery very soon. I am absolutely scared because the results are not very predictable. In fact, they are much unknown, but since there aren’t plenty of choices, surgery seems to be the best option.

I do anything which I can, which I can at the moment. I certainly hope to return to normal life. I would love to have normal nice summers and winters again; I would love to go out here and there, to have some vacation, to see and meet people outside this place, to do anything which most people can do without any problem. Well, I hope to be there someday soon.

I also disagree with those who are convinced: once you let the past go you are like brand new and ready for a fresh start. How about the past not letting you go? This accident happened 24 years ago and that’s when I got quite a few new acquaintances: lots of pain, depressive episodes because I wasn’t able to cope with life as before, so on and so on. Whenever we are just fixed up after bad mental or physical traumas which happened in the past, we will never be the same. We will have anxieties and fear of so many things which were unknown before the trauma. We will be patched up and sewn together, but never again without cracks and scars. These scars might be invisible to others, but they are always there. Fears and worries are sneaking up on us whether in a dream or in reality.

Before your hand starts writing you are sorry (in case you decided to read this update since I was so bad, I couldn’t post anything for quite a while and most likely I’ve lost all followers), I would love to say I don’t want somebody to be sorry. It’s ok not to be sorry. I am a fighter, I always have been. I would appreciate much more you went to the gallery and art blog and checked out my Fine Art America link on the right side and the art for sale on the art blog. Ironically, when we are in the least favorable state and condition to make some money, we need the financial support the most.

art of surviving disaster 3

Yams

art of surviving disaster 4

More of my yams experiment

art of surviving disaster 2

Zucchini

art of surviving disaster 5

Cucumber blooms

The other thing which I am doing to get my mind off is my backyard and plants as you can see above. I have put something in the soil, just like always, and yams are absolutely experimental for me this year. Not much happening with painting, but the bits will be published on the gallery blog assuming I get to this before the surgery.

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