“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us
something is valuable,
worth listening to,
worthy of our trust,
sacred to our touch.
Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight
or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
I spent much of my life in a wonky religious world where we weren’t supposed to choose friends who made us feel good about ourselves, who supported our dreams and believed the best of us, who loved us no matter what.
No, we were told to choose friends who would sharpen us, refine us, and chisel away at our rough spots to make us better.
You know what kind of person does those things? Mean ones. Cruel ones. Harsh, manipulative, controlling ones who like nothing better than to cut you down, crush your spirit, and make you believe to the core of your being that you are worthless, evil, and worthy of hell and damnation.
They are not friends. They are enemies. Enemies of all that is good and right and joyous and creative and beautiful.
They are the enemies of our souls.
When I moved to Australia, I didn’t know how to choose friends. I simply latched on to whoever showed me the least bit of kindness. It wasn’t a very good plan, and I made some colossally bad judgments in the whole friendship thing. Thankfully, I didn’t stay there, but I had to go through a time of intense loneliness while I sorted through the friendship lies I’d believed my whole life, and figured out what truth to replace them with.
All that sorting came down to one thing: healthy friendship is only possible when it comes from a place of self-worth and self-acceptance. If we don’t love and value ourselves, there’s no way we can love and value others, no way we can build friendships that are equal, supportive, caring, and honest.
As I healed and nourished my own soul, I found kindred spirits coming into my life. I began to feel safe and secure in my own skin, so I could risk reaching out to others, knowing that even if it didn’t work out, I’d be OK.
I was able to set boundaries with the dreadful people, and let go of those who wanted to fix, change, and mold me. That freed me up to open my heart to the lovely ones, the treasured ones who love, celebrate, and support, who apologize when they stuff up and forgive me when I do, who genuinely care about the little nothings that make up most of our lives.
Friendship, for the sheer delight of it. Such a beautiful thing still amazes me.
Investing in the relationships that bring me joy, has helped me invest in other good things too.
I no longer ask, “What should I do?”
Instead I ask, “What brings me joy? What delights me? What thrills my heart?”
I started small, doing one thing each day that made me smile.
It was so lovely that I kept adding more, asking myself, “What can I do today for the sheer delight of it?”
- Pull out a packet of markers and a notepad and draw pictures.
- Walk in the bush and take photos of every wildflower I see.
- Garden in the rain and get thoroughly drenched.
That question morphed into this one, “What can I do today to make ‘this’ more delightful?”
‘This’ could be exercise, writing work, chores around the house or farm, art projects, laundry, etc.
- Today I had to crack open dried radish seed pods and save the seeds for planting, so I used pretty plates and bowls instead of utilitarian ones, then brought all my stuff onto the back veranda and sat out there chatting with Bear while he painted and I podded.
- I had heaps of articles to write, so I lit candles and made hot chocolate and felt cozy as can be.
- I had laundry to do, so I put on old episodes of Hercule Poirot, made tea, and before I knew it the laundry was done, and Poirot’s little grey cells had won the day yet again.
Living, for the sheer delight of it. How precious that is to me.
One of the things that delights me is foraging for edible plants and foods in our meadows and bush. Whether it’s picking buckets full of wild bush lemons or gathering armloads of plantain leaves, it always gives me a thrill to use what’s growing around us to make delicious food.
A few days ago I’d gone for a walk in the bush, and on my way back spotted a huge patch of white clover growing in one of the paddocks. Usually we have goats in there who snaffle up every last bit of clover, not leaving me a single flower to dry for tea. But this spring we have them in a different paddock, so I got my very first clover harvest in Australia.
I pulled on my boots, put on my hat, and out I went into the glorious late afternoon sunshine to pick white clover.
I loved being out there, sunshine warming my bones, cool wind sweeping over the lush stretches of clover, making the blossoms dance.
I grew up using red clover, making a strong tea to help ease cramping, but white clover is useful too. In Turkey they used tea from the flowers to treat pain from rheumatism and arthritis, and the North American Indians made tea from the leaves to lower fevers and ease the symptoms of colds and coughs.
As I meandered through the paddock, pulling off fragrant blossoms and smelling them happily, it didn’t take long to get a bowl full of white clover.
Even after I was done harvesting, I lingered awhile, basking in the light and warmth, smiling at how it reminded me of summer in British Columbia, where I grew up.
It only took a few days for the white clover flowers to dry, and tomorrow I’ll put them in an air-tight container to keep them fresh until we’re ready to make white clover tea.
What are some things that you like to do for the sheer delight of it? xo