This weekend the sun shone brilliantly, it was warm to deliciously hot. We were able to swim, three days in a row. That is truly something in this summer that has been so wet and rather cool this side of the world.
Taking advantage of the weather and the once-a-year offer to visit a magical mystery of a garden, away from the hustle and bustle of the city we set off early, towards Magaliesburg, a range north west of Johannesburg and the fourth-oldest mountain range in the world. We planned to leave by 8am to be there after the hour-long drive when it opened at 9am. We planned to miss the crowds and the heat of the day. And like so many best-laid plans…
Make no assumptions
We left closer to 9am for all kinds of reasons. Having learnt a valuable lesson about not making assumptions about the route, we turned on Waze and obediently followed its directions. Not quite the directions we would have chosen, but nonetheless. We missed any delays from the marathon being held in our suburb but ran into a cycle race. We were taken on a detour to miss most of the traffic while being witness to some really idiotic driving from hazardous screenwatchers multi-tasking as steering wheel operators.
We arrived at our destination an hour later than we wished and realised we were quite unprepared for the experience. I, for one, was wearing flip flops and had to negotiate the walk from the demarcated parking area to the property via a dusty, stone riddled sand road. At least we wore hats and had applied sunscreen. Not sure what to expect we meandered along the cobbled pathway towards music and the food and drinks section. We had not had breakfast and were hoping to purchase something there.
A gentle wonderland
As much as we were unprepared for the event, the event was unprepared for us, non-meat eating, and largely carb avoidant. On sale were burgers, hotdogs and pancakes. Oh there were veggie burgers but…..not for breakfast and not from the same griddle.
Having determined that we were not going to be eating any time soon, (thank heavens for the handful of nuts we grabbed on the way out!) we turned our attention back to the environment surrounding us.
The marquee had been erected next to a wetland covered in yellow and pink and crimson water lilies. Surrounded by trees, crumbling buildings poked out of the foliage and a magnificent structure mosaiced and ornamental with metal peacocks strutting on the roof sat across the water. It was very Alice in Wonderland-like. I half expected a white rabbit to hop across my path and the Queen of Hearts to appear with a flamingo across her shoulder. I am sure I heard “Off with her Head!” as we ducked towards the orchard.
There were secret pathways to fountains and ponds, columns holding up art or urns and archways curtained in creepers. We found yellow and orange spider like orchards in blue pots and spider webs strung across towering trees. It was a place for reflection, a place for reverence, a place for treading softly and quietly.
Instead visitors marched down pathways, perspiration trickling down faces and backs, as they swiped to the next display and the next display, urgent and afraid of missing out. They huffed in as straight a line as they could towards the music and the food, getting lost in the maze on the less than accurate map.
We started feeling a bit trampled on and hot so we decided to leave. Dreaming of exotic coffees in delicate porcelain cups we purchased two take away cappuccinos in cardboard cups and, moving against the crowd, departed.
Our way back along the carved up dirt road was met by charging 4×4’s, barreling loudly towards the soft place we had just left. We were grateful for going in the opposite direction. Our trip back was smooth with no delays. At home we made breakfast for lunch and sipped on mimosas as we sighed in satisfaction eating the homemade and wholesome food we love.
Accept what is
We reflected on how we had been challenged at each step to accept what is. To accept the unexpected delays, the lack of feeling prepared, the lack of sustenance, the noise and heaviness of the crowds. We were called to be in the experience rather than resist it. And to accept the choices we made.
It’s not always easy to accept what is but we’ve both found it much easier since we’ve become emotionally fitter and resilient with our own, personal practice of Shape of Emotion.
Where are you resisting what is? And what can you do to be more accepting?
About the author
5th Place offers specialised psychological services in the form of coaching and therapy for immediate relief from stress, anxiety, & other mental health challenges. It works fast, deep and quick. For individuals and groups, children, teens and adults.