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Pink Mist. Saturday May 31, 2014

It was my birthday recently, and in a celebratory mooch around the garden centre, I bought myself a plant. (Now, there's a sentence I wouldn't have written when I was 20!)

Anyway, this plant. It's called Pink Mist, and its a neat, small plant, with a number of determinedly upright long stems, on which sit round pink flowers, busily producing food for bees. I was impressed by how straight and tall the stems were, and how much energy the plant must be putting in to keep them that way. In contrast, the other plants in my garden seemed to be practically lolling, sprawling about in an almost unseemly relaxed fashion.

And then the rain started.

It poured, and poured. And then it poured a bit more. My poor Pink Mist became battered and bent from the onslaught, looking sad and bedraggled. The bees stayed away, and there was no more busy food production. The lolling, sprawling plants were, of course you've guessed it, indifferent to the rain, and continued their sprawling undaunted.

At about the same time as the rain began, we had a family bereavement, expected but sad. And, as always, the immediate sadness is accompanied in the weeks that follow with a torrent of other emotions, linked to family dynamics, past grief and the loss of what might have been. It was a natural and normal grief reaction, and I was exhaused. My moodscope score plummeted.

Now, my default reaction in situations like these is similar to that of the Pink Mist - put every last drop of energy into staying upright, determinedly carrying on with life as normal despite the storm. And I end up battered, squashed and unproductive. But this time I went for the lolling and sprawling option instead. I tried to be mindful of how I was feeling, to take notice of my sense of feeling bruised. This in turn meant I needed to give myself time and space to rest and heal, clearing my diary and pottering in the greenhouse instead. Finally, I found a friend who I knew would actively listen and encourage me to off-load.

And it worked. I'm regaining energy and enthusiasm, and my moodscope scores are picking up. So, my future motto - less striving for perfection, more mindful lolling and sprawling...

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 8:02am

Your post drew me in from the first paragraph Vanessa, you write so well, I was completely absorbed in your message.

I agree with you completely; this has been my attitude and action for many years. It was difficult at first due to my guilt at not getting things done and letting people down but now it's second nature. Let go, treat myself as if I were my own child, nurture myself, be easy on myself. Sometimes we need to loll and sprawl to help recovery. A rest cure for the mind.

Anonymous Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 8:11am

I agree with you, Vanessa had me enthralled. I will think about Pink Mist! It is true that plants reflect humans ...or is it vice versa?....and i was just having a similar thought about the cats' behaviour on a wet day when I opened and read your piece, Vanessa.i too am needing to take stock and rest after after an emotionally exhausting few months in the family which have taken it out of me in a way I hadn't bargained for. So I shall heed your words... Thanks so much

crafty wee midden Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 8:14am

My beloved husband of 33 years had another stroke last Monday(my 59th birthday....)(34 on June 11th) passed away on early Wednesday morning. I've lost my soulmate, my other half....thank you for wht you wrote....Alex

Melanie Lowndes Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 8:14am

This was simply nice Vanessa. Thank you!

Anonymous Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 9:33am

Vanessa, That was lovely and very helpful but ...... I am dying to know what happened to the Pink Mist when the sun came out?

Anonymous Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 10:12am

Dear Alex, I send you my sincerest condolences, this time must be so hard for you, I can't imagine.
I hope you have some good support around you. Best wishes. Julie.

Anonymous Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 10:21am

The rain got to me too. My mum's wrist and shoulder have been aching and my right ear was blocked.

Vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 11:14am

Thank you, thats very kind, I'm glad it resonated with you. Its so important to be kind to ourselves, easy to forget that though. Take care! x

Anonymous Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 11:15am

You made me laugh Vanessa, thank you. I was sitting in my new garden yesterday, it's been a labour of love over the past three months. A friend commented on my favourite fuchsia, saying it looked like a blowsy cancan dancer, kicking up her skirts waiting for a rich rose to pass by and buy her an Absinthe. Yes, lolling and sprawling - I'm all for it. You see, my garden is my place of refuge, the place where I can just sit and be in peace, escaping the turmoil of my mind. And yes, I'd like to know if the Pink Mist recovered once the rain stopped.

Vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 11:17am

Thank you, we never quite realise the emotional toll of these things, I'm glad you can give yourself a bit of space to rest. Sounds like surrounding yourself with plants and cats is maybe helpful to you! x

Vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 11:19am

Alex, my heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry, what a dreadful loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers. x

Vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 11:20am

Thanks Melanie, hope you have a good day today. x

Vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 11:23am

Well, I am pleased to report it is gradually getting its mojo back! There were bees on it in the sunshine yesterday! x

Vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 11:23am

We all need a good dose of some warm sun, don't we? x

vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 11:28am

What a wonderful image, I love the idea of a dancing fuchsia and a rich rose! It sounds like you have worked really hard on your garden, and created a real sanctuary, how inspiring! The pink mist is looking much happier, and the bees have returned, which is nice too. Enjoy some sprawling today! x

Richard Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 12:03pm

I have one Vanessa in my life.
It is always wonderful to be moved to write by another.
The perfection thing was a particular energy-sapper of mine, until relatively recently.
Vanessa, your writing is heartfelt and relevant. Above all, it is from the heart.
Shakespeare knew the score.
Peace and Love, Rich x

Anonymous Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 12:05pm

APPEAL for Buddy.
Lex/Mary/anyone else that will.
Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope...

Anonymous Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 2:31pm

Alex, i cant imagine what you are going through. I have been married 30years on may 5th. Life with the other half would be????? Take care of yourself. Find someone to share with, vent with, just be with. In my thoughts. Colleen

Vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 3:53pm

Thank you Rich, very much. There are very few of us Vanessa's around! Well done for managing to get on top of the perfection thing, how did you do that, any tips and ideas welcomed! Hoping your day is peace - filled too. x

Vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 3:55pm

Dear R, I'm so sorry I cant be your buddy, but I am sure there is one just round the corner for you. May the force be with you! x

valerie Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 4:48pm

I would bet that if there is one single characteristic Moodscopers share in common,it is that we are all much too hard on ourselves.We never listen to our exhausted minds and bodies until it is too late,we can't sit down while there is work to be done,we can't ask for help.We see only our faults and weaknesses,waging a civil war within. I am going to go and loll.May your Pink Mist outshine all the other plants in her beauty and grace.Valerie x

heather Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 6:05pm

Lovely, lovely, lovely, so beautifully written. Brought a lump to my throat then a smile to my face. I shall be looking out for Pink Mist. Love from Heather x

Vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 6:25pm

I absolutely agree Valerie, we all need to keep on lolling! Thank you for your kind words x

Vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 6:28pm

Ahh, bless you Heather, thats so nice. I hope your day is filled with peace and sunshine! Love Vanessa x

Anonymous Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 6:40pm

Thinking of you Alex. Very much

Suzy Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 6:42pm

Such a beautiful post Vanessa. Beautiful.

Anonymous Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 7:22pm

I'm relieved! Thank you for replying. x

Anonymous Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 7:42pm

Ditto Anon 8:02 - but I still struggle to nurture and be easy on myself - I also struggle to keep the guilt at bay ...
Vanessa your words about reacting like "Pink Mist" ... it is as if you have held up a mirror to me; you have so clearly described my own "default position" in times of bereavement and loss. Thank-you for sharing.
I shall persevere with the lolling ... Frankie

Anonymous Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 7:57pm

Hello; I'm Anon 8.02 - yes, "Pink Mist" is my natural default position too. As someone says, further down, we are so hard on ourselves. The need to be the strong one, holding others up whilst internally we wilt? I consciously try to avoid that nowadays, as you'll see from my other post at 11.15. It doesn't come naturally but my friend's comment made me laugh and I realised that although I'm a rescuer, there's nothing wrong with louche lolling and, most importantly, taking care of myself. Not easy but important. And Vanessa, the number of comments on your post indicate how many people it has touched - I've never commented twice in one day before. Encore thanks - you made a difference to my day. x

vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 9:07pm

Thank you Suzy, it does help to write, and people are so kind. I hope you are having a nice evening. love Vanessa x

Vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 10:17pm

Dear Frankie and Anon 8.02, thanks so much for your comments, I'm so touched that it made a difference to your day, it makes it worthwhile to take the risk of writing! It helps me to feel connected with others too who share similar experiences, so thank you for your comments. X

Vanessa Sat, May 31st 2014 @ 10:21pm

Dear all, thank you all so much for your comments today, what an inspirational lot you all are, battling on through the sunshine and the rain! Keep on lolling and sprawling! love Vanessa

crafty wee midden Sun, Jun 1st 2014 @ 7:22am

Vanessa, Julie, Colleen, Anonymous, thank you all. I get a lot of support from online friends, as I have(among other things) agoraphobia. Also no family(Mum killed in a fire jst over two years ago) and few friends, but do have a couple of women who are like rocks fr me, so Im lucky to have them. And so fortunate to have had my soulmate....not everyone gets to ave that, I know. And I have a lovely shrink, too. And my cats keep me going. Thanks again

Anonymous Sun, Jun 1st 2014 @ 8:18pm

Obi-Wan Kenobi. Star Wars right? Why this character? What does he signify I wonder? Thinking if you Obi.

Vanessa Sun, Jun 1st 2014 @ 9:09pm

Things sound really tough Alex. You are amazingly strong to see the positives, and I'm glad you have both people and animals to connect with. Look after yourself. xx

Richard Mon, Jun 2nd 2014 @ 9:55am

I met another Vanessa later that day as well. So, I'm summising it was a peaceful day. Thankyou.
Sunday was wonderful. In the morning, I read in church. My first time. I was nervous, but it went okay. Someone commented that they could see I had been on stage before. It was true ( music and amateur dramatics). So, in answer to your request, Vanessa...
I am an amateur musician. I have "died" onstage many times. It is a learning experience when it happens. One goes home, assesses what went wrong ( sometimes this takes days/weeks/months of reflection. Moodscope is most helpful at these times )
Then, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.
But a Plan B in your back pocket is also a good thing.
I look forward to speaking again soon. Keep well.
Your friend,
Rich. x

Tim Clayton Mon, Jun 2nd 2014 @ 2:37pm

Come to think of it, there was an old school hymn which I've not heard since I was seven. "After the sun the rain. After the rain the sun; This is the way of life, till the work be done". (Nice us of the subjunctive, too ... Lol).

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