June 2017

To be honest I have been putting it off for too long, but today I finally took the ladder and pruning shears out of our garage to get started on the grapevines, as well as the apple and pear trees.

Frankly speaking I feel somewhat dispirited. I don’t know where to start. Because I have been putting it off for so long the grapevines look like they have turned into an inextricable mass of vines and leaves.

I desperately decide to just get on with it. I feel like an explorer hacking my way through the jungle with a machete, not knowing where I will end up. The more I prune away, the clearer things become and I can start working more methodically, in accordance with the rules of pruning.

Before I know it the job is done. The grapevines are good to go and the future bunches that I’ve kept will receive more energy to grow into juicy grapes later this summer.

The parallel I see with life is that sometimes you cannot see the wood for the trees, you don’t know where to start – everything is too complicated, too much, too difficult. You just cannot see how you will ever get out of it or how you can possibly find a solution – you feel powerless.

It is very tempting to just do nothing, not to take any action and postpone indefinitely. What you also sometimes observe is that people show flight or avoidance behaviour and fill their days with entertainment. Which only makes them feel worse. A vicious circle. In her book ‘Better than Before’ Gretchen Rubin wrote: ‘Nothing is more exhausting than the task that is never started and strangely starting is often harder than continuing.’

There is a reason for the expression ‘a good start is half the battle’!

On this day off I was dozing in bed, not quite ready yet to start the day, when I suddenly heard a piercing cry, clearly coming from the direction of the hen house. I immediately went into fight mode and stormed down the stairs in my pyjamas to help the creature in distress.

I found one of our hens in the embrace of… a young fox, actually still a cub with fluffy ears and downy fur. The little rascal was not at all fazed by my human appearance and kept trying to snap our hen’s neck. It was only when dog and husband arrived that he finally fled.

The little one must have been very hungry to attempt such a stunt. And it is now obvious that we have foxes living in our neighbourhood. After a period of relative carelessness when it came to the safety of our hens – for years we have not received any unwelcome visits from foxes or marten – we will need to be more strict again and lock up our hens against these ‘fans’.

I realise it was a close call. If we had not heard our hen’s cry of distress, she would have been fox food by now. I did feel sorry for the cub, still so young and already having to provide for his own food. My imagination and curiosity are immediately aroused in situations like these. I feel the urge to investigate. Are there foxes nearby? As of what age are foxes supposed to be independent? When is their typical hunting time? …

In my family I am known for my curiosity, for my interest in finding out the details, to look things up on Google and then – sometimes to the despair of whoever is with me at that moment – to read out loud what I have discovered, out of an urge to share the knowledge I have found. I find it so interesting myself that I assume this holds for everybody else.

In those instances my curiosity is exaggerated and I keep harping on or become pedantic. My strength becomes my pitfall. Instead of people appreciating me for my strength, they might start getting irritated by my pedantry (my husband definitely!).

On the other hand I am fairly allergic to superficiality, to people who do not display any sign of curiousness and do not make any effort to look something up. Superficiality could be considered an exaggeration of light-heartedness or light-footedness. That is where my challenge lies, something that I can develop for myself and add to my curiosity so I do not fall into the trap of pedantry: light-footed curiosity. So my allergy shows me the way. Superficial people have too much of what I need most.

Coaching includes doing this kind of exercises that will help you get a view on who you really are and what drives you. Self-knowledge leads to more self-confidence and to a feeling of balance and purpose in your life. Do you want to have a taste? Contact me for a free sample session.