In our time we have released a totally new social force, “a stream of change so accelerated that it influences our sense of time, revolutionises the tempo of daily life, and affects the very way we feel the world around us.*
(Ken Robinson and Alvin Tofler)
The seeds have been shared out for the sunflower festival on the estate where I live.
The residents will sow their seed and around August time their flowers will be “judged.”
Everyone wins in some category or other: the tallest, the biggest flower, the most flowers, the one that finished well after struggling, the best one in a pot.
The real harvest is the conversations that take place between neighbours at the beginning and end of the festival.
Over the ages, the garden has become a metaphor for our lives, so, whilst not everyone has an outer garden, we all have an inner garden to tend, needing its equivalents of water, sunlight, weeding, nourishment.
More than ever, this garden is important to us.
Alvin Tofler wrote his words of warning on a typewriter back in 1974 and they would only become more true as the Internet arrived less than twenty years later.
The inner garden is a place we can withdraw to even in the busiest of worlds, nurturing ourselves towards health and harvest, the fruit of which we get to share with others.
It is there for us to enter at the beginning of the day: a gardening journal being a great help-sake for our visits, as we note how we are growing or not, and what’s preventing what ought to be our natural process.
Ken Robinson offers a solution echoing Wallace Stevens’ writing on reality and imagination:
Our best resource is to cultivate our singular abilities of imagination, creativity and innovation. Our greatest peril would be to face the future without investing fully in those abilities.**
Note Robinson’s use of the word cultivate.
Carl Sagan declared,
The oak tree and me, we’re made of the same stuff.
A couple of things we can do for our inner garden:
Visit a garden, whether yours, a public garden or the countryside and give yourself at least 4′ 33″ to pause awhile and gaze at something whilst it’s growing.
What does this plant or tree have to say to you?
Borrow or buy a book on imagination, creativity or innovation. Here are some starters, but there are so many: