The rosemary bush was unhappy. And then the pests came – the woolly aphids and mealie bugs – and after that the yellowing leaves and the soot. I am sure they came because the bush was sad, not the other way around. At first I paid it extra attention….fed it, made sure it got the right amount of water….and then I sprayed it with diluted soap to suffocate the pests. The bush ailed more. So at last I left it alone, stopped watering it and made peace with its imminent death. There were other rosemary bushes. Some of them also lived in pots in the kitchen courtyard and some in pots elsewhere. There was rosemary everywhere.
All of them happy.
The sad rosemary bush just sat there and sulked. In spite of not being watered, it would not die. But neither would it live. I tried to ignore it every time I watered the other pots in the courtyard but my eyes did not miss it. As uncomfortable as it made me feel, I didn’t have the heart to dig it out and throw it away. Then one day I heaved up the heavy pot and moved it, to a spot beneath the roof overhang near the back door. In apology, I gave the decrepit little bush some water. That was two years ago.
Now, every time I need some rosemary, I dash out the door straight to that bush. It is as huge as a forest……well, a pot-sized forest. It is happy, happy, happy.
Moving made it happy.
Some of us live in an apartment …a house, neighbourhood, town, province, country …and although we ‘happily’ go about our daily life, we aren’t thriving. We are clever at adapting, clever at adopting ways to make us feel okay, but somehow we are not living our life with all cylinders firing. Sometimes we might be living our entire life “by proxy”.
If it were possible to write down, in detail, exactly the kind of life you would wish for, right from the bed you sleep on and its linen, the view from there when you wake up (and may there be one!), what time you wake up and how you get ready for the day, the detail of your home and your kitchen and what kind of breakfast you’ll have, what you do next (drive to work, saddle up your horse, walk on the farm and inspect the fruit trees…do yoga or go for a run…). What motivates you about the work you do, the job you have… What your hopes, goals and ambitions are…What kind of people you engage with and who inspires you…What you can do to help somebody else have a better life (it has been proven that acts of kindness release happy hormones) …What new skill you want to learn and how and where you will fit this in…What other field of interest you want to pursue and where to grow your knowledge…
What scenery you will pass through on your way home and what coming home will feel like…What your garden will look like…Will there be a dog to meet you and what sort of a dog…Will you take it for a run and will it be along a beautiful track, an orchard, the beach…
Will you see familiar people you like and can greet along the way? After that will you choose to wander through your garden, checking it with close attention, or will you simply just enjoy it for its soothing effect? At the end of your day will you sit down with a relaxing drink and if so will it be on your front stoep, in the garden or by a roaring fire?
How will your evenings be spent – would you cook a meal and if you do, what equipment and ingredients would you enjoy using…Do you have boring jobs improved by beautiful details…Does your kitchen make you feel inspired? With whom would you share your meal and also your night?
If one day you should make this list, compare it with what you have. You might be surprised to find that, more or less, everything you want is what you already have. But if your list and your life are oceans apart, perhaps it is time to make a change – to move.
Moving can make you happy.