The Poetic Nursing Heart

Cultivating the Subconscious Garden


Cultivating the Subconscious Garden

In the quiet expanse of my mind, I find myself drawn to the image of a gardener tending to a vast landscape of diamonds nestled in the darkness of the subconscious. This vivid metaphor encapsulates my journey as a poet, nurse, artist, and polymath exploring the intricate realms of the mind. The image of the gardener embodies a sense of duty and kindness, mirroring the delicate balance required in cultivating the fertile ground of the inner self.

As an avid reader, the profound insights of Anam Cara by John O’Donohue have resonated deeply with my contemplative nature. O’Donohue’s exploration of soul-friendship and the interconnectedness of life provides a philosophical foundation for my meditative pursuits, guiding the way as I navigate the landscape of my own subconscious garden.

In my exploration of the mystical dimensions of consciousness, I turn to “The Cloud of Unknowing,” a timeless work that delves into the paradoxical nature of the divine and the limits of human understanding. This medieval text serves as a compass, directing my attention inward and encouraging me to embrace the mystery inherent in the process of self-discovery.

Eckhart Tolle’s teachings, particularly in “The Power of Now,” have illuminated my understanding of the present moment. Tolle’s emphasis on mindfulness and the transformative power of living in the present informs my approach to meditation at the Quiet View. The integration of Tolle’s wisdom adds a contemporary layer to the ancient practice, enriching my experience as I commune with the silent gardener within.

In the realm of psychology and self-awareness, Gabor Maté’s “The Myth of Normal” challenges societal constructs and perceptions of normalcy. Maté’s insights into the complexities of human behaviour and the impact of early experiences resonate with the gardener’s duty to navigate the intricacies of the subconscious terrain, cultivating compassion for the diverse facets of the mind.

The concept of visual thinking, as expounded by Rudolf Arnheim in his seminal work, serves as a bridge between my roles as an artist and a polymath. Arnheim’s exploration of the cognitive processes involved in visual perception informs my creative endeavours, guiding the way as I paint the landscapes of my imagination within the canvas of the Quiet View.

Helen Kara’s “Creative Research Methods” provides a methodological framework that aligns with my multidisciplinary approach to knowledge. Her exploration of innovative research methodologies empowers me to approach the garden of diamonds in the darkness with curiosity, blending artistic expression with scholarly inquiry in my quest for a deeper understanding.

In the heart of the Fox, a character brought to life by Charlie Mackesy in “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse,” I find a whimsical companion in my introspective journey. Mackesy’s poignant illustrations and profound insights offer a gentle reminder that companionship and self-discovery often go hand in hand, echoing the silent camaraderie I share with the hermit Icon at the Quiet View.

As I traverse the labyrinthine corridors of the mind, the Quiet View retreat becomes a sanctuary where the teachings of O’Donohue, the mysticism of “The Cloud of Unknowing,” the mindfulness of Tolle, the insights of Maté, the visual thinking of Arnheim, and the creative methodologies of Kara converge. Together, they guide the gardener within, cultivating the diamonds in the darkness and illuminating the path of my polymathic exploration.

In the vast cosmic expanse of artistic exploration, the gravitational pull of inspiration and collaboration often mirrors the celestial dance described by Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. As two stars in the artistic firmament, my colleague, Will Hill, and I find ourselves orbiting each other in the creative cosmos. Our collaborative journey, akin to the movement of a double pulsar system, is marked by the dynamic interplay of ideas and the shared pursuit of artistic expression.

Einstein, with his visionary theories, envisioned a universe where massive objects influence each other’s trajectories through the curvature of spacetime. Similarly, in our artistic endeavours, Will and I navigate the creative landscape, drawing closer with each exchange of ideas and collaborative project. Our individual artistic orbits, much like the stars described in Einstein’s theoretical framework, bring us together in a gravitational embrace of shared vision and inspiration.

Just as Einstein’s predictions were confirmed through careful observation and testing, our collaborative synergy is a testament to the enduring power of artistic connection. The gravitational waves of creativity ripple between us, bringing our distinct talents and perspectives into harmonious alignment. The journey we undertake, spiralling towards a shared artistic destination, mirrors the celestial choreography described by the great physicist over a century ago.

In this cosmic dance of artistic collaboration, Will Hill and I, like two stars moving towards each other, explore the depths of creativity and the boundless possibilities that arise when like-minded individuals join forces. Together, we embody the spirit of exploration and discovery, echoing the profound connection between theory and observation that defines both the realms of science and art.

Like a jazz piece I called out to Will Hill artist and friend… And he responded…

At first, I was quite intimidated by Tom’s way with words. There’s a real elegance and confidence in his writing that I’ve never had and certainly can’t match. However, delving into his exploration, I found surprising similarities in our approaches. The environment we strive to create for our students, being unafraid to think outside the box if it yields the best results for our students.

The metaphor of tending to the subconscious garden deeply resonated with me, leaving me pondering how the ‘diamonds’ represented students. Similarly, my work, akin to a gardener’s, often feels never-ending, with the perpetual cycle of seasons and the continuous treadmill of tasks. It’s a constant juggle, nurturing each individual ‘diamond’ in the garden of learning.

Despite feeling fatigued from overwork, my unwavering commitment to helping others remains the driving force behind my efforts. My days are filled with an unrelenting pursuit of excellence, ensuring every student receives the attention and support they deserve. It’s more than a job; it’s a deeply rooted passion to make a tangible difference in their educational journey.

My approach, much like Tom’s, hinges on fostering an environment that encourages creativity, critical thinking, and outside-the-box solutions. I firmly believe that conventional methods don’t always yield the best outcomes. I’m dedicated to exploring alternative approaches, breaking free from the confines of traditional academia to ensure that my students thrive in a dynamic learning space.

Every challenge I encounter is an opportunity to refine my teaching methods, to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of my students. Yet, despite the dedication and passion, there are moments of self-doubt. I question my place, wondering if I’m doing enough, if I’m truly making the impact I aspire to achieve.

Nonetheless, these doubts serve as fuel for my determination. I strive to carve out more time to foster and nurture my artistic interests, knowing that a well-rounded educator translates into a more enriched student experience. It’s about bringing a diverse range of perspectives into the classroom, enriching their learning journey beyond textbooks and theories.

My ultimate goal like Tom’s is to create an inclusive, engaging, and supportive environment where every student feels valued and empowered. It’s an ongoing journey—one that requires dedication, hard work, and an unwavering focus on ensuring the best possible student experience.

Arnheim, R. (1969). Visual Thinking. University of California Press.

Kara, H., & Gergen, K. J. (2015). Creative Research Methods in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide. Bristol: Policy Press.

Mackesy, C. (2019). The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse. HarperOn

Maté, G. (2022). The Myth of Normal. Penguin Books.

O’Donohue, J. (1997) Anam Cara, Bantam Books London

Tolle, E. (2001). The Power of Now. Hodder Paperback,

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