I’m reading, no I correct that, I am listening to The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters, on Audible, whilst traveling to and from work on the train. It is about mind management and far from being boring and heavy duty it is a fascinating insight into our nature (The Chimp) and nurture (The Human) characteristics.
Our inner Chimp, the emotional part of our brain, has evolved to support our survival, and is characterised by feelings and paranoia, it works on impressions and interpretations, not facts. Our Human mind, is rational, weighs up evidence and reaches careful and deliberate conclusions. What does this have to do with gardening I hear you asking. Well, a lot actually. Early in the book we are told we should hold as our ‘Life Force” several proven values and truths:-
- Life is not fair
- The goal posts move
- There are no guarantees
- Everything that happens comes and goes
- Disappointments are tough but they need to be kept in perspective
- Happiness can be found in many ways
- Every day is precious
- Its the way you deal with things that gives you peace of mind
Do you recognize any of them as a gardener? I do, especially ‘disappointments are tough, but they need to be kept in perspective’.
I bought a lot of, what I considered, expensive daffodil bulbs from Waitrose, duly planted them up at the correct time and carefully placed the pots outside the kitchen window so I would have a lovely display of spring daffs to look at whilst washing up. It is a disappointment to see lots of green leaves and only one bud in each pot. Putting that into perspective, at least there is one bud in each pot, there could be none, and also proving ‘There are no guarantees’.
However, ‘Happiness can be found in many ways” and rather than dwell on my daffodils, I looked at the other pots, to see the tulips and anemones are starting to sprout, and I am being positive that they will produce a fabulous colourful array.
Another ‘Happiness’ truth is the Peony. I get a great rush of excitement when I see all the little red lipstick shaped shoots poking through the soil, ready for another year. It’s such a positive sign and guaranteed to bring me happiness.
Finally, ‘Every day is precious’. How very true, when I walk up my garden path, I am met with the cheerful display of tiny Tete-a-Tete daffodils, guaranteed to appear every year. This sight makes me feel grateful to still be here and able to enjoy my garden.
I have to train my Chimp not to get too upset about non flowering expensive bulbs, as my Human knows that it’s the way I deal with things that will bring me peace of mind. Evidence overcoming paranoia!