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  • Writer's pictureHannah Marsh

The Symphony of a Self

I have a new fern in my study that keeps catching my gaze. Mostly, I enjoy the shades of green, and its messy hair shape. The other morning, I was also struck by its ingenuity.

This month's muse

Each frond finds its own direction – angled down, curved to the side, reaching up – with each of its finger-like leaves modulating, this way or that, to better catch the sunlight. This particular morning, I’d been thinking about how we can best take care of ourselves – how difficult it can be when conditions are always changing – and here was this fern continually attuned to its conditions – in a strange new environment, as the sun sinks ever lower – making all these micro-adjustments to get the light it needs. It seemed miraculous. Each individual frond and leaf like the arms of an octopus, acting independently of each other, yet part of an integrated whole. Like the separate parts of ourselves, each with their own wants and needs – some acting in harmony, others conflicting – all part of the strange symphony of a self.


I'm reminded of our theme back in January. We looked at allowing our whole messy selves, and bringing all parts of ourselves to the table in our lives and creative work. I shared this quote about story-writing from George Saunders: “And what will be needed, if the story is going to be good, is: everything, all that you are, even those parts you don’t like or usually exclude.”


So often, we judge and try to hide away the parts of ourselves we don’t like. For me, if I were a fern, I’d have a few of my prettiest fronds pointing to the sunny window, with the rest tucked away in shadow. Those parts of me that seem embarrassing or shameful or mean or incompetent: I would let them wilt away if I could. Yet they’re here. They’re part of me. If I don’t tend to them, my whole being will suffer. If we can learn anything from a fern, perhaps it's this: to use all we have – every leaf we can – to gather light.


In this month's Mindfulness & Creativity session, we’ll practice with allowing, seeing if we can make space for whatever shows up in our mindfulness practices, whether wanted or unwanted. We’ll also reflect on our shadow self, shedding some light and attention on those parts of us we may often neglect. We’ll take a playful and gentle approach, being curious and kind with ourselves as we take a small step together into the shadow territories of our strange and wondrous selves.


I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!


Hannah

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