Sunday Thoughts: Wilful Ignorance

Biblical history
“I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent. ” 

― Arthur C. Clarke

I was writing about my neighbour child-friend a couple weeks ago. His hungry for knowledge brain is being fed creationism. I stumbled upon this article today A Journalist Visited The Creation Museum. He Learned These 20 ‘Facts’. I’d laugh if it wasn’t so bloody sad for the children.

Impermanence

Impermanence“Change is the very nature of Nature. if there’s one thing that doesn’t change, it is the fact that everything changes. In the Korean tradition of Tao, this is called impermanence. The teaching about impermanence can be summarized like this: Anything that has a beginning must have an end. Anything that is created will change. Impermanence is the very nature of things. Realizing that nothing is permanent is the true beginning of enlightenment. Suffering comes from attachment that wants to hold something permanently that is not permanent in its intrinsic nature. Awakening to the truth of impermanence frees you from attachment.”
― Ilchi Lee

When You’re Looking But Not Seeing

resilience

I was writing earlier about the sad state of my garden – I feel terribly guilty about it. I was taking some ‘depression gardening’ photos and got this shot, intending to talk about the sorry state of my unmowed lawn – which is a whole story unto itself. Suddenly, out of focus, and not at all what I was paying attention to —  I saw!! the petunias. I haven’t lovingly tended them. I haven’t even watered them in days … but there’s been a little rain, and in spite of me, they bloom on. This too then, is a metaphor.

Getting Dirty Is The Best Upper

gardening mental healthGardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.
- Anonymous

I was reading some research about depression as one of the not so snazzy byproducts of autoimmune disease. I am learning the hard way that people with autoimmune diseases have a predisposition to become depressed, especially when we have been living with constant physical symptoms or find ourselves under significant situational stress. Not only does unrelenting physical, emotional or situational stress result in what feels like endless cycles of autoimmune flares accompanied by a variety of physical issues, it also invites depression.

Anyway, autoimmune disease aside, research seems to say that getting our hands dirty in the garden can increase serotonin levels. This is extreme gardening, you know, no gloves on kinda gardening – as it’s the contact with soil which houses a specific soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae. This super-duper bacteria is being researched and talked about as “the new Prozac” because it triggers the release of serotonin in our brain  and serotonin is our “happy chemical” which functions as a natural anti-depressant and strengthens the immune system. More specifically scientists think getting dirty may “activate immune cells, which release chemicals called cytokines that then act on receptors on the sensory nerves to increase their activity.”

The link between gardening and feeling better isn’t new news either really. In the early 19th century (and I’d be super surprised if the Greeks didn’t notice this looooong before) Dr Benjamin Rush “The Father of American Psychiatry”  noted that gardens had a calming effect for those who suffer from mental illness [Horticultural therapy: Grow with your garden]. More recently, people with mental health problems can check into “therapeutic farming programs” to feel better.  “If you’ll pardon the pun,”  “horticultural therapy really grounds you. When your life is in chaos, your garden offers focus and security because it has routine daily and seasonal needs.”

Sadly what the dirt research or horticulture therapy doesn’t talk about is how hard it is to get outside, into the garden when you feel like shit and showering, getting dressed or making it to the doctor feels impossible and like really hard work, let alone going to work and looking after other people. There’s a beautiful metaphor in here, as I watch the plants I have been growing, not doing so well as it gets harder and harder to pay attention to them.

Happiness Is A Clean Bum

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Ahhh I haven’t written about my puppy, Larkin, for awhile, but thought I would pause today to note some stuff. One, she is now nearly 7 months old (!? – where does the time go) Two, she is transitioning from her “puppy coat” to her “adult coat”  which Three, means serious grooming times.

It should be said that although she is a Labradoodle and doesn’t shed at all (serious!) it in no way means that she doesn’t need regular grooming … like, daily brushing and weekly de-matting. That bowl of wool did not come from a sheep, my friends. Nope that bowl of wool = 2+ hours of painstakingly combing out matts, small sticks, leaves and one dead beetle from Larkin’s fur. My reward for this labor is a puppy who thinks I am a meanie and is ignoring me.

True love is grooming your puppy’s backside.