Tonight I am sitting at home with a cat on my lap, the dog in her basket and a room of flickering candlelight whilst reimagining my garden with the help of a book called The Garden Awakening by Mary Reynolds. It’s full of mystery and quirky illustrations. Is there anything better? It certainly makes me feel at peace with the world.

I began my day very early this morning with yoga and a wonder down the garden to see if the giant thistle plant that appeared as part of our rewilding process had finally flowered. I was trying to get my head back in the moment; I woke up with that terrible feeling that I hadn’t actually slept and the thoughts of the night before still floating around my tired brain.

The trouble is for the last while I have been looking ahead, filling my life with busyness and anxiety. It’s a common problem in the modern world but escaping from its clutches requires a certain amount of discipline on my part. I know from long experience that I have to fight the urge to fill my time with avoidance chores if I am worried about a task or tell myself that I am too busy to prioritise self-care. Prioritising self-care is particularly hard to achieve as there are always “things” to do.

Some of the busyness has been amazing. Last weekend The Pod Project went to Cloughjordan to see the Ecovillage and to join in the Festival of Change. As part of that process we got to listen to Rob Hopkins, founder of Transition Towns speak; It’s a very strange experience, listening to someone speak who you just want to cheer. It’s not something I am prone to generally but honestly it was fabulous. His talk was based on ‘What if ..’ What if we reimagined the future? What if our leaders prioritised the cultivation of imagination? It’s so rare at the moment to hear such positivity about the future, it felt like permission to hope and to dream big. We all came back inspired and brimming with ideas.

Some of my busyness is numerous mundane chores. Some of it is because I literally have too much to do in a short space of time so that every minute of my day is filled with “usefulness” and because I haven’t given myself time to breath this transforms itself into anxiety. Mostly it’s because I have put myself under a lot of pressure to achieve certain goals in a short time frame. This was pointed out to me as a potential pitfall of not-for-profit work by a man named Harry. Harry and I have never met but we have talked for an hour on the phone about working voluntarily and about different types of not for profit organisations. It was a great conversation and full of valuable insights not just this one.

This Pod Project journey has been filled with great conversations with friends, new acquaintances and likeminded individuals. We were lucky enough to meet the organisers of the Sustain market in Portadown this week and to spend some time at Lacklan Farm. There is so much scope for working together to make great things happen. It really has made me feel as if Rob Hopkins isn’t just a dreamer and that the key is imagination.

Now it’s time to let my imagination rest. It’s definitely past the time I should have gone to bed. Sleep is without doubt the element of self-care that I struggle the most with; It goes hand-in-hand with filling my days with usefulness. Still I can’t actually remember the last time I took the time to start my day with yoga, fill it with nature and finish it with candlelight, cats and magical mystery tours thanks to Mary Reynolds so there is hope for me yet.

A cheer to becoming unbusy and imagination before heading to bed.