The Gnarly Nature of Insight


No, you won’t find it under the lemon tree or behind the basil.

For me, insight is something that only comes when I close my eyes and reflect deeply, and this week it was offered up in spades.

The local real estate agency holds a gardening competition every year. This year when I saw the advertisement for it in the paper I paused and thought, ‘why not?’ I filled in the entry forms, ticking the boxes for two categories – ‘tiny garden’ and ‘pretty garden’ – and posted it off (still using ‘snail mail’, can you believe it?).

Judging Thursday came around and I thought I was as prepared as I could be. I had considered the obvious: that no judging criteria had been offered so I was flying blind; that beauty was in the eye of the beholder, so the whole exercise was subjective; that there are many keen and knowledgeable gardeners in this locality, therefore the competition would be stiff, and so on. And also the fact that mine is a summer garden really. So being early spring, it’s still a little under-done in terms of being at its best. There are deciduous gingers and other plants like my frangipani that haven’t flowered or even emerged from their winter slumber yet.

I began to get an inkling of how much I had invested in the idea of being ‘judged’ when the agent and his garden expert turned up and spent barely five minutes perusing my garden (efforts/creativity/soul).

Aha! I spotted Insight a mile off as it raised its gnarly head.

What was going on here? Why was I feeling vulnerable? What did I even care if they didn’t like my tiny garden or it didn’t measure up to someone else’s standards? A little voice (not mine!) whispered ‘what would they know anyway?!’

Mmm, upon reflection, obviously it is important to me for others to like my garden. And yet, this is not what it is for; nor what my garden means to me.

So the moral of this tale, besides a caution not to take oneself too seriously, is that sometimes insight can be gnarly: uncomfortable and difficult, sometimes good, sometimes bumpy and twisted.  But if one pays attention, rooted in the experience are opportunities to learn about oneself and grow.

We’ll see how much I’ve grown when the awards day arrives and all winners will be announced. Not that I’ll care about the results – much.

18 responses to “The Gnarly Nature of Insight

  1. Your garden is beautiful. Regardless of what some judge(s) may think, there’s no changing the hours of hard work, love, and pain you put into it. Its something to be proud of. I really think your garden is charming and picturesque. Best of luck in the competition. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kind words about my garden. You’re right about being judged. It’s interesting how caught up we can become in seeking approval or validation. I’ll keep you posted about the results – in two weeks time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course, you are right that the most important thing is what you think of the garden. Even so, it’s only human to care a bit what other people think of it too. We probably shouldn’t be like that, but we’re social creatures so perhaps it can’t be avoided.

    (I now wait nervously by my computer wondering how this comment will be judged. Of course, it doesn’t really matter; I just said what I honestly feel, and yet…)


  3. How thoughtful. Competition has its benefits (we lift our game) and a dark side (we care about winning too much). I am keen to fail a few tests this year. It will be good for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your insightful reply Rachel. I like your approach to ‘failing’. You’re right on the mark about it being an opportunity to learn.
      I’m still exploring this foreign country that is me.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.