Tag Archives: Nurture

Hope is a renewable quality

Today’s thought is about hope… and the difference between gently nurturing your sense of hope or ignoring it.

In this context, hope is way softer than an expectation of a specific result. It’s more of a quiet sense of background direction, a flow moving forwards, exact details and route unknown but a direction you want to explore. Hope speaks quietly in words like “may be…” “might” “curious” “possibly” “what if…?” “I wonder…”

Not every moment feels as hopeful, or so connected to that sense of gentle momentum. Sometimes you just splat in a heap, stumble about, or inexplicably decide that you are so close to your dreams, you’d better turn back. Not every recovery from a set back will be stupendously elegant, swift or resourceful. We do the best we can at the time: My scale for “best I can” goes from Complete Pants to Stonkingly Awesome.

Hope matters because it leads you through fear, it hears your doubts and encourages you to consider that maybe not all of those doubts are completely based in fact. Hope reminds you that new things are likely to feel uncomfortable at first, and the answer to that is not to stop, but to practice, gently. Hope can also be a cheeky monkey and play hide and seek, especially if you haven’t been nurturing yourself and are getting a bit frazzled.

But I think one of the ways you can nurture hope is to to treat each moment as a new one.

Hope can be nurtured by reminding yourself that the future is not set. The fact that you’ve ballsed something up, again, does not mean you will balls it up for ever more. The past does not equal your future. The past gives you some experience to draw from. End of.

What you choose to do right now, with this moment, that’s where you can become hopeful again. Especially if you’re willing to make a tiny change, and see how that works out. Hope is stronger than fear, and with a glimmer of hope – or a socking great truckload of it – you can keep taking little steps forwards.

As Thomas Kinkade said, hope is a renewable quality. Renewable at New Year, & New Moons, renewable every moment, every breath. Whether you choose to do something differently or circumstances change around you, some kind of newness will happen.

Daisy - hope is renewable quote

Hope is a renewable quality

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Nurture

Nurture:
To care for and protect someone or something while they are growing

Young seedlings are tender and can easily be lost. They are vulnerable in multiple ways:

  • Treading on them
  • Ignoring them and leaving them to wither
  • Providing no protection from slugs, snails & other nibblers
  • Providing no protection from strong winds that can break them
  • Being too keen & leaving young plants out on frosty night
  • Over-watering: drowned, anemic plants
  • Over feeding: Spindly weak plants that shoot up but then can’t hold their own weight

All the above are a right pain in the arse, those beautiful dreams of flourishing plants set back. Particularly a bit of a shocker that you can destroy by too much of something which, in lesser quantities, is beneficial.

Seedlings

New ideas, new habits, new skills, new friendships, new ways of thinking, new projects … they’re all tender and vulnerable too, whilst they develop roots and become stronger: They need protection from too much criticism too soon, from doubts, from over enthusiasm, from overwhelm, from over-reaching, from stalling, from starving.

Discovering how to nurture healthy seedlings that grow into healthy plants is likely to take some learning (i.e. mistakes). You may have to re-sow a few times!! Keep nurturing:

  1. You’re responsible for daily care, ongoing. It’s not a one off thing. Check how things are going often, and provide whatever is needed.
  2. There is a rate of growth that can be handled, and you’re best off working within that. A little oomph helps. Too much oomph destroys.
  3. The healthy growth of that seedling (or idea, project, habit…) is inherent, ready and waiting. You don’t have to create that bit. You just have to nourish that inherent potential, and protect it from external hazards, your own neglect – or your own over-enthusiasm.

That’s why nurture matters. Nurture enables the new. Success depends not on being brilliant immediately, but on having the patience and persistence to nurture.

Lowering standards

The joy of lowering your standards! Tough love for anyone with high standards, but ohhhh so effective at maintaining forward momentum rather than tum-te-tum-I’m-still-stuck-ness:

“Much of what we do gets stuck not because we don’t try hard enough, but because we try too hard… we aim too high, too quickly, being prematurely concerned with correctness & results at the expense of practice and process” – Manjusvara.

To nurture your ideas, your momentum, your hopes – lower your standards enough.

Take the step that you can do today 😀

Sunflower

Facing outwards

I like my life best when it faces outwards most of the time – Carl Rogers

There is a strange irony in this blog, given that I have retreated from publishing any blog posts for the last few months! And there is also a perfect fit: This particular post was written way back in November. Since then, it has hung out with a dozen other draft posts… surely not especially outwards facing!!!

That’s why I like this quote, it reminds me that nurture can never be an entirely inward, reflective undertaking. The insights that settle during those times have nowhere to flow to without some outward facing aspect – a creative outlet or other means of sharing.

To all introverts who love peaceful space to themselves, relax. You still get that too. As with most things, it’s about finding your own balance. In this quote, Carl Rogers goes on to say…

I prize the times when I am inward-looking – searching to know myself, meditating and thinking. But I find this must be balanced by doing things – interacting with people, producing something, whether a flower or a book or a piece of carpentry – Carl Rogers

Quiet time is nurturing in one way – and the fact that quiet time works so well for you does not mean a diet of 100% quiet time will work even BETTER. (Follow that line of thought to extremes, and life starts to feel like it’s shrinking, till it too small for you 🙂 )

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Outward Facing Cheese Scones…

And just in case you are now revving up to go and be 100% outward facing (hello you busy people and extroverts!), this is not permission to go forth and be an exhausted martyr either. Exhaustion from giving without ever pausing to top up the tanks is also unsustainable. Brains need idle time to function healthily.

So what does this mean for our daily nurture? If you’ve been doing a lot of quiet, reflective nurture, balance that out with something outward facing. Ring a friend up and listen. Bake for people. Send a surprise gift or card. Share a smile.

And if you’ve had an exciting buzzy, sociable time, take a bit of space to amble and reflect. Let your mind drift naturally for a while, slow down and breathe.

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Daydreaming by a stream…

You’ll know you’re getting the balance right when you’re feeling yourself smile. All it takes is a little internal pirouetting 🙂

Sunrise … especially in winter

Winter brings the option to enjoy watching the sunrise at a broadly civilised time … a wonderful start to the day!

Frosty winter sunrise, North Downs

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Sunrise Capel-y-ffin

Quiet moments

Sometimes nature’s nurture is providing thinking space, a great rock to sit on, and a very stunning view …

 

Rock seat Ewyas valley

The vale of Ewyas, generous & inspiring

A little flower arranging…

Flower arranging … not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea but like drawing, we can all do it if we allow that the end result will be within our own style and capability.

My flower arranging style generally involves pottering around whatever natural environment I’m in and picking out a few of whatever there is plenty of: Even better if it can be salvaged having fallen off its perch… Autumn leaves are about to be a good example!

Arranging them in various rustic styles fills a happy few minutes of creative going with the flow… an arrangement that emerges rather than needing to adhere to any preconceived plan. Free, natural, playful, creative, a connection, sharing… yep, that’s nurturing!

What would your style be?

Autumn leaves

Autumn “Flower” arrangement

Autumn leaves moss and log

One log retrieved from the woodpile, one handful of leaves, bit of moss …

French marigold & Dog Rose flower vases

Summer flowers: Dog Rose, Marigolds, Grasses, & shot glasses 🙂

Common Sense alert: Don’t go picking any old stuff, especially bright red things that look poisonous. No raiding your neighbour’s front garden either. Checking and removing any creepy crawlies before bringing stuff inside is highly recommended…

Nature’s nurture: The beauty of rain

After a brief pause to take stock of the whole blogging malarkey, Daily Nurture is back with more ponderings and explorings.

To help provide a bit of focus for September’s blogs, this month I’m going to be exploring some of the many ways in which nature provides us with nurture… Something that many of you related to last month, from flowers to rivers to mountains, oceans and the myriad of critters that make us smile.

Fresh back from a weekend on holiday with a couple of great walking friends (NURTURE!!), I am currently well topped up with nature’s nuture! Pootling along a couple of sections of the Offa’s Dyke path, along the Welsh border north of Hay-on-Wye, we were outside all day for 2 days. That is my idea of heaven 😀

Offa's Dyke near Kington

Spacious landscape along Offa’s Dyke near Kington

We could see for miles. The views were crazy clear, like the air was freshly washed. The colours were technicolour vibrant, Mountain Ash berries hanging in heavy red clusters on the trees, yellow gorse shining, lush grass full of green-ness. Colours fed by rain, sustained by rain!

Yellow gorse flowers

Vibrant yellow gorse

Rain was falling in patches, and as it turned out, the wet forecast translated to a sunny dry walk for us, whilst we mostly watched rain falling elsewhere around us. Billowing rolls of water-carrying clouds added drama to the skies, their particular warm grey softness such a contrast to the vibrant greens, reds, golds and yellows on the ground.

Grey clouds behind River Wye

Sunshine by the River Wye, rainclouds over the northern hills

Rainy field, Offa's Dyke Knighton

Vibrant green fields getting a light watering drizzle, above Knighton

Bright walking

Freshly washed sky & lush bracken

Bracken and Gorse near Kington

A bit of weather coming in over bright moorland near Kington

Fact: Rain is wet. Yep, it’s true. If you want to stay dry it’s an excellent idea to have an umbrella, good waterproofs, or some kind of shelter.

Also Fact: Rain makes for a landscape full of thoroughly stunning colours, full of delight, full of nurture!

Rainbow over Hay-on-Wye

Rainbow over Hay-on-Wye

Creating Daily Nurture

This blog was born on August 1st, after a particularly sunny and beautiful early morning jog.

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I set out to share an exploration of what actually feels nurturing, inviting everyone who reads this to consider what nurtures them best.

We have explored quotes, food, books, sunsets and bubble wrap…. compliments, , jigsaws, walks by rivers, gifts from mountains, walks in nature and walks with cats …. accepting uncertainty, enjoying sunflowers, enjoying hugs

Of all the discoveries this month, two things stand out loudest to me:

Firstly, that a focus on nurturing yourself is in itself nurturing

Simply remembering to check in each day and consciously create a nurturing moment created a sense of gentle well being, a little smile. But not just in that moment! That cheeky little inner smile warmed up, moments of nurture started to happen more often, in more and more ways … this stuff is catchy!! 😉

Offa's Dyke Path seen from Capel-y-ffin

Nurture from the hills that hug

Secondly, that there are in fact a zillion little things every day that are nurturing. They are there all around us, all the time. The difference is whether we slow down enough to notice, smile, and gratefully receive 🙂

Raindrops on pink rose

It seems to me that there is a healthy balance to be felt out, one that enables us to give and enables us to receive, to refuel. Finding the balance, and adjusting that balance as daily circumstances change, is both a skill and a habit.

A big thank you to everyone who’s shared this first month of Daily Nurture, and in particular thank you for sharing all the different ways you’ve been creating nurture for yourselves!

More nurturing stuff in the coming month… Here’s to nurturing the nurturing habit… !

Books that nurture…

We’re nearing the end of this month’s, “Creating Daily Nurture” exploration. As I asked myself what nurturing moment I’d like this evening, my thoughts turned to a particular book.

When I was 17, my PE Teacher leant me a copy of a book. I can remember how honoured I felt that she had brought one of her own books in for me, and said she thought I might enjoy reading it. I was a crazily sporty kid, so between school sports and other sporting events, she probably had a pretty good handle on what sort of 17 year old I was. There was a gentle acknowledgement in her book loan, and the sense of being seen and understood a little… something I appreciated then and remember today, a number of decades later!!

The book was unusual to me at that age, and I loved it. It was The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran.

Book, The Prophet by Kahil Gibran

The Prophet… poetic beauty:)

I read it cover to cover, loving the poetic depth, the exploration of life and our approach to it, the wisdom, the beauty on each page.

I bought my own copy soon afterwards, and still turn to it often. It talks of friendship, marriage, trade, giving, time, talking, kids … all the stuff of life, and death. It’s one of many books that feels nurturing to me – one you can read in any state and find sustenance.

This evening I turned to a page at random and enjoyed richness again. It settled beautifully around me, in the midst of my life as it is at the moment – loving, working, caring, exploring, growing, creating, assisting, giggling…

This is the passage:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper the sorrow that carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight….

To anyone who is – or who has ever – experienced sadness, these words remind us that happy and sad are equal, connected, unavoidable. The depth of sadness reflects the depth of love, joy and delight we share during life and vice versa. It flows in all directions.

Books can nurture, I think, not because they tell us something new; but because they reflect back to us in clear form, that which we only dimly sense in our deepest wisdom. We read a passage and feel, “Yes! That’s exactly it!” We see ourselves, and we know others share our experience.

I like!!