Our secret garden

(c) Konstantin Somov, Open door on a garden - all rights reserved
(c) Konstantin Somov, Open door on a garden – all rights reserved

A new year has begun, let us make some resolutions for our lives. We always make them, right? At the beginning of the year, but then we happen to abandon them along the way…

Perhaps we were too ambitious, asking too much of ourselves, too much patience, and we were unable to wait or find that patience. We are too used to hustle and speed, which then leads to anxiety. While reflection brings peace and warmth, arrival in a still and calm space within our hearts.

It is not hard to find.

Many of you have asked me in recent days of my plans for the new year. You have asked me if I am going to write a new book. No, I am not. I have no new books planned, because what I am going to do this year that begins today is something that is much desired and needed, something that I call, ‘Filling the well’.

There is within us, you must know, a garden. Flowers and leaves and fruit are born and grow there messy and spontaneous. We draw from this garden all the time, every day of our lives, and without thinking, automatically, believing that this beautiful and varied nature will never end, that the artesian well, deep and rich in water, at the exact centre of that garden will provide us with water forever and ever. But the well begins to dry up, the trees need pruning every now and dried leaves taken away. Interior life, which, for us artists, coincides with the well of our creativity, is a deep but not inexhaustible source. It must be fed and refreshed constantly. The emotional and psychic well has to be refilled on a regular basis, if you do not want it to be left dry and empty.

But this is not something that concerns only those of us with an artistic vocation as it concerns everyone. What Scripture calls ‘heart’ psychology defines as ‘core’ or ‘Self’. It is the innermost part of us, the spirit, our ego. Our soul is precisely that garden with the artesian well at its centre, among flowers and fruit, vivacious and bubbling. Have you ever thought about it?

Therefore, the time has come for me to repopulate that inner space of the heart, to pause, reflect and listen to my inner self, while I study, because I need to study new things, to open my mind and above all my creativity to new stimuli and new perceptions.

For many years my existence has resembled a landscape passing quickly in the window of a speeding car. But, at such speed, you cannot enjoy the view, you can only do so at a slow pace. Life does not end in a book, life is much more varied and multifaceted than I have known thus far.

I hope that some of you undertake, as me, that necessary inner journey, in order to be able to live with greater intensity and awareness, and to do so with your soul illuminated by faith and without fear, ‘Because God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame’, says a magnificent verse of a poet so dear to me, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning.

And it is all true, you know?

Now that a new year has begun, let us make some important resolutions for our lives, starting with this: let us love ourselves more, instead of just waiting for others to do so.

If we do not love ourselves first, what can we offer to others of our inner selves, what can we give them of our hearts?

Let us devote a little of our time to those things that make us feel better. Let us find a personal space, however small, in which we can be free to do what we love most, whether it be read, draw, or listen to music. This will be our ‘secret garden’, where we can even discover entirely new and unexpected possibilities for ourselves.

But, above all, my friends, let us cultivate a healthy sense of humour, beginning with laughing at ourselves, for it is not a waste of time, but an investment for life.

Happy New Year, my dearest friends!

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