Justyna and I drove east and found ourselves at Deloraine, one errand from my companion and a walk down the main street. The place was full of hippies from the gathering – was I surprised? Tasmania was rife with the free folk. We stayed for a while and talked, Joes party was here also which made for a pleasant reunion, it had been a whole 6 hours since we last had contact.
Joe and I slowly wandered through a colourful store, hemp clothing, cotton shoulder bags, jewels, incense, books – Joe being the passionate musician set to tuning and testing all the stringed instruments, a habit he tells me that manifests every time he goes into a music store. Justyna enters and tells me that an older man has just asked her to go for a coffee, I smiled and said go for it, a few moments later the man approached me in the store, his thin but wild white hair peeking out below a beanie, a gleam in his eye through light metal framed glasses. He asked me if it was OK that he borrow Justyna to have a coffee down the street, I said “Have her back by eleven young man”. He flashed me a wild grin, offered an arm to Justyna and they both walked off.
I had finished another conversation and was in the van hanging some new purchases when my companion returned, she explained that the man, Julian, invited us to have tea at his place and explore his gardens. He stuck his head in the van and gave me the address, twice, knowing that I wasn’t really listening the first time. Justyna and I said goodbye to our friends and set off down the road.
We arrived at the address, on top of the highest hill and overlooking the town, hawthorn hedges engulfed the perimeter, their dark green foliage decorated with small red berries. I leaned over to Justyna and as if someone was listening spoke in a low voice “I only want to spend an hour here OK? Lets look at the garden and then go”. She agreed and we got out of the van and walked through the hedged archway toward the front door.
We stayed a week, time dispersed by dialogue, discourse, healing and delicious food. The garden vibrant with vegetables, the inner fence line sprawling with blackberry, the thorny vine abundant with bulging black fruit. Down the sloping hill we walked past 5 white geese into the orchard, “They are all named Nigel” spoke the old man prompting wild internal giggles. We walked among the fruit trees, quince, pear, several different varieties of apple all hanging in bundles of edible joy.
This time sparked a greater understanding of myself, but more importantly the shedding of pretentious layers – to not portray an image of myself because one or a group of people loved me in this role in the past, to give myself permission to change roles without thought or plan. By watching this man’s actions I could see that he did not plan, he awoke with no schedule of the day, no stone goals and as such went about the day in peace and presence. Often I would be frustrated, he had mentioned that he needed help in the garden yet when I bought up that I would like to do a particular task it would feel like I was pushing toward a goal or end result. Without words I would be led to understand that to really be is to be like water, not forcing but flowing, allowing the tasks to be done, not doing them. I am reminded of my favourite quote by Lao Tsu – “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished”. Everything really already IS accomplished so why in the bigger picture of life should I push to accomplish?
Another lesson was to always do my best, everything that came up in his way during the day he would devote all of his attention to, he would give his all to whatever it was, cooking, research, talking, shopping, gardening. This act stimulates intense presence and is something new for me, often I ‘end gain’ which means to think, talk or act toward an end result or a goal – to always do my best would result in the joy being with the process, not the outcome! Lessons like this were fast and many and I had the time away from real world distraction to practice these. I can’t say that I failed or succeeded during any of the practices as it was the moment that was important, failing IS as good as succeeding as they are both done in the same spirit, in the same task – and I write this again – the joy is in the doing, not the result.
If I did everything only with the end gratification I would be continuously hopping from one thing to another, if I always did my best with the process the end didn’t matter, the end DOES NOT matter.
So these realisations were of great benefit but Julian did push my buttons often, possibly with amusement but oh did they need to be pushed. If I were to envelope myself in a nice comfortable, safe cocoon where would the change be? How would I ever discover the mud without first stirring the water?
Contrary to the teachings being received I was getting itchy feet and the desire to travel was overriding my split position to stay and learn. Justyna was very low on cash so we wanted to go looking for work, this hardened my desire and on the seventh day we left with waves and a jar of home picked, home made blackberry jam. We drove through the streets of Deloraine, it felt like a long time, longer than a week since I had done so.
We made direction to the eastern coast.