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  • Writer's pictureJean Linville

Weeding & A Curated Life

Recently, I have been thinking about galleries, but not the ones that contain art. I have been pondering the "gallery" of our lives and how we curate it by choosing what we fill it with including the foods we enjoy eating, the genre of books we read, the clothes we like to wear, the news we ingest and so on. I first started thinking about this a few days ago while spending some time with some nice folks who happen to curate their lives very differently than I do. Theirs are lives filled with social media alerts, twitter accounts, viral videos and a steady stream of newsfeeds. For me, it was a bit like walking into an art gallery that had no windows, no lights and was filled with inky black artworks. The topics changed at lightening speed and before I was able to shed some light on what it was that was being discussed, which resulted in me not participating in the conversation much.

The experience stayed with me and I thought of it again this week as I was weeding some of the rows of native plants that I have been tending this year. I realized that in essence, I was also curating each of the rows. "Weeds" such as crab grass, sedges, even errant "good" plants like chamomile were plucked from the rows of New York Ironweed, Swamp Milkweed and Wild Bergamot. I was keeping what I desired and eliminating everything else. Curating is a process of both inclusion and exclusion. As I continued up and down the rows, I thought about the ebbs and flows of how I have curated my life at times and I began thinking about the things that have been consistently on my "accepted" list including my love and concern for our environment, learning new things, creating thought-provoking art works, well-made food, foot-tapping music, laughing with friends and spending time with people I love and respect.

All of this has led me to thinking of how I have been curating my days since I "retired" and how I can more consciously curate them in the future with an ever more discerning eye. I could decide to let more crazy cat videos into my life, which could help in some social settings, but I find that more and more the way I love to spend my day is just "being". For me, this means observing and experiencing "how the rest of the world lives" which includes people some of the time, but mostly it is watching, learning and living consciously with all the other beings around me. including my pawpaw seedlings. This week they provided me with many blissful moments as I sat and watched as they completed their journey of emerging from their seed homes as their last leaves were released from the hull. My gallery is sun-filled, lush and growing each day.

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