Commitment is liberty / by Jessica Hunter

moody hellebores. My favourite. 

moody hellebores. My favourite. 

“The irony of commitment is that it is deeply liberating-- in work, play and love. It frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.” 

- Anne Morris

 On Sunday night one of my yoga instructors recited this quote as I was lying on the floor in savasana. It instantly resonated with me. YES! This is why I am taking on the 30 day challenge. I’m craving ritual, discipline and endurance. I desperately want to be rooted. After a long winter of no routine or regiment I found myself in April, wandering and questioning; adrift at sea.

a photoshoot I did with my lovely ginger friend Nabi

a photoshoot I did with my lovely ginger friend Nabi

 We can’t control our circumstances but we can choose what we will do with what we’ve been given. My Nana says, there are three things in life we can’t control: birth, death and the weather. We don’t get to choose the family we are born into or when we will pass and we certainly can’t choose our weather otherwise I would make our climate like that of Southern California so I could grow beautiful flowers all year long. It’s all very precarious.

a rainy day in April when the garden just started to show signs of life

a rainy day in April when the garden just started to show signs of life

I think of Nepal and all the people impacted by the earthquake in April. More than 4,800 people are dead and 9,200 injured. It’s one of the world’s most scenic places and now it’s a panorama of devastation. And yet the commitment of the Hindu people there to those who are dead is astonishing. The Priests take the time, even in panic and devastation, to perform rituals at the cremation ceremony for those who were victims of the disaster. I ponder this. 

this shot was taken at the Pashupatinath Temple on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, photographer unknown

this shot was taken at the Pashupatinath Temple on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, photographer unknown

It reminds me of this saying: “To have patience in a moment of crisis is a great trial.”

fritillaria imperialis growing in the garden

fritillaria imperialis growing in the garden

inspired by the garden to make this

inspired by the garden to make this

top view 

top view 

The Nepalese priests at this ceremony understood this patience and endurance. It’s something that we must learn to understand - patience with ourselves so we can have patience with others and the uncontrollable circumstances that are an inevitable part of life. Much of April was spent meditating on this. For someone like me, who wants to rush in and fix everything when something goes awry, this has seemed like an impossible feat.

sim sliding down some red rock

sim sliding down some red rock

we went hiking at devil's punch bowl

we went hiking at devil's punch bowl

self portrait taken by Sim

self portrait taken by Sim

 I’ve heard it said before, “commitment is freedom” and I used to hate it. I didn’t think I was the marrying kind or the ‘settle down and have a family’ person. But I fell in love and now here I am. When I fell in love with Sim I was mad about him. I mean, I really did go a bit crazy trying to talk myself out of all the reasons why I shouldn’t be with him. But that “just knowing” sense had been there from the moment I’d met him and five years later, we married. It was our three month engagement anniversary on May the 4th. I always remember because when we got engaged the moon was full and as nerds do we recited in unison: “may the fourth be with you.” It has been ever since. Commitment beckoned me. I own a house and a business, currently working in the wedding industry. In our first year of marriage I remember thinking, “Oh, this is why people have kids, because they love their partner so much that they want to reproduce parts of them.” I feel this now more than ever. I’m not there yet, baby land, but I am surrounding myself with the sweetest newborns these days because my ovaries are screaming.

a behind the scenes shot of a newborn shoot I did the floral styling for

a behind the scenes shot of a newborn shoot I did the floral styling for

I’ll be 29 this year, which means I’ve been able to make a baby for almost 18 years. Crazy. (yes, if you do the math I was 11 when I got my period. Oh joy!). For now I feel that I am to keep focusing on this work baby of mine and helping out with our new home where I can. That doesn’t stop the baby clock from ticking though.

inspired by narcissus 

inspired by narcissus 

the first seasonal arrangement from the garden I made for Helena at In Fine Feather studio

the first seasonal arrangement from the garden I made for Helena at In Fine Feather studio

I think that commitment leads to our personal transformation and that our inner change can lead and does lead to a more vibrant community. If you’d told me this in my teens I would have laughed in your face and bought myself a plane ticket to anywhere. I’m not younger Jess anymore though. I’d like to think I’m a little wiser now but I do still have days when I dream up easier ways of living. But that wouldn’t be me either. I enjoy a good challenge.  

This is ultimately what I want for my life – to be well and to contribute while helping to cultivate a vibrant community, adding more beauty and inspiration to the world through my life.

 

I’ve been working on a ton of editorial shoots lately. I’ll be sure to update the website soon. I keep feeling the need to do a Spring cleaning of the site (and everything else online) but I thought it best to start with our home. So I spent most of last month cleaning ALL THE THINGS. Sim completed our second room upstairs, which means I have two rooms to use on our second floor. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Two whole rooms! An office and a bedroom? Not to mention the functioning bathroom on the same level that I sleep on. It’s amazing what a little deprivation will do for the human spirit. We are indefatigable.

 I even washed the cats yesterday. They were very unimpressed and looked up at me with their scrawny wet faces with eyes that revealed mistrust. It had to be done. When allergy season hits I have a very low tolerance for most things, every waking moment I feel like a sneeze is coming on, my eyes are always watery, slightly swollen and my head a little heavy with fog. I’m a florist allergic to pollen, oh the irony. The website update will be done soon enough though. I’m just waiting on polished images from all the work. I can’t wait to share them with you all.

 Before my enlightened moment on my mat on Sunday I went to a graveyard with my friend Vanessa. She’s one of those friends who you can take to graveyards on a date and doesn’t find it strange. She’s the best kind of human actually, one of my favourites. It’s tree flowering season in southern Ontario. All the trees are blooming. We walked under a massive grandmother magnolia and I felt like I’d sunk myself into a fairy tale. I had the thought, “the dust of the dead is giving this tree its life.” It was comforting somehow, to know that we have meaning even after death. If my remains become the blossoms of a cucumber tree I’d be happy with that.

Naturally, before leaving, we snipped a few branches for my dining room table. I just couldn’t resist the aroma and then suddenly there we were running through a peaceful graveyard with branches in hand trying not to get caught.

 There are worse things in life than pruning trees illegally, I suppose.

 I'm currently reading "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon. It's a book that will make you laugh and cry. I love it. I made a ‘good morning sunshine’ playlist for the month of May. I needed some happy music to fill my days. It’s mainly made up of Trevor Hall, Elephant Revival, Caroline Smith and the new Angus & Julia Stone. It’s become the soundtrack of my life.

I am usually someone who suffers from wanderlust but lately I am content with staying home. My domestic duties seem to act as a firm reminder that the mundane is a luxury in its own way. Not everything can be exotic and foreign. Sometimes what we need is time to roast a chicken on the oven, bake a loaf of bread and sip a glass of pinot grigio in the garden.

I planted my hands deep into the dirt as soon as the frost lifted. I needed to. I felt the urge to be grounded and to hang on. The earth stops for no one. The universe takes what it wants without request. The past month was difficult. My therapist said, “you need to make an appointment with grief.” So I did. I scheduled it in like a meeting with a client. Bereavement is not something this world stops for. It all just keeps on spinning. It doesn’t stop for our worries or loss. We must continue on even in our grief. Making time to process loss and change but not to do so idly. Instead we must plant. Eat. Clean. Work. Sleep. Make love. Repeat. We are alive and this is the business of living. So while the earth is spinning, root yourself. It’s better than being tossed into the abyss with no sense of direction. 

 Today is day 6 of my challenge. I will wake, break bread with my lover, complete a day’s work and then take up my mat. This ordinary routine is my milk and honey, not confinement. I have gratitude for this time to free my mind and live a little more from my heart.