What, you’re probably wondering, is that pattern behind me? The gigantic, voluptuous red curves on a field of green?
They’re apples. Thousands of red and green apples. The apples are floating in a few inches of water on the floor of the indoor conservatory of Longwood Gardens.
The display is breathtaking. It is beauty for the sake of beauty. And it is incredibly healing.
Terry and I recently treated ourselves to a couple of days off. We took a trip — not far — and one of the places we visited was Longwood Gardens.
Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was founded by Pierre DuPont — of DuPont company fame — in 1906. The conservatory in which I am standing in the photo opened in 1921. Longwood Gardens now covers more than 1,000 acres, all dedicated to formal gardens, horticulture and natural beauty.
Every year, Longwood Gardens creates a magnificent Christmas display. We saw hundreds of poinsettias of many different varieties. We saw beds of cyclamen and amaryllis. We saw beautifully decorated Christmas trees. And then, when it became dark, we walked outside amid the many tall trees decorated with thousands of twinkling lights.
As we walked around, I couldn’t help but notice that I felt great.
An involvement with a sociopath makes us feel terrible. At one point or another, we probably experience every possible negative emotion — anger, hatred, rage, betrayal, self-loathing, powerlessness, fear, resentment, etc., etc., etc.
We certainly have reason to feel all these painful emotions. We were deceived, manipulated and exploited.
But after awhile, feeling bad simply becomes exhausting. We all deserve a break, a respite from the internal upheaval.
I’ve written in many articles that an important way to release the pain caused by the sociopath is to allow ourselves to feel it. Crying is good. Stomping our feet is good.
But there is a second part to the process. Releasing the negative energy creates an internal void. To complete the healing, we need to fill the void with joy.
One way to do that is to experience beauty. Choose any experience that appeals to you — gardens, art, music, natural landscapes, animals, wildlife. Go to a place where you can find your favorite type of beauty. Then soak up the experience.
Please be careful not to let your mind drift to the sociopath. If you’ve left a sociopath who you mistakenly thought was your “soul mate,” don’t think about how you wish someone was with you to share the experience. The beauty is for you, not for someone else.
At this time of year, beautiful Christmas displays are everywhere. If you’ve been involved with a sociopath who had a talent for ruining the holidays, don’t let the memory intrude on your own experience. Focus on the wonder of whatever you’re seeing or hearing.
Somewhere inside you there is a spark of the real you. Nourish that spark, and it will grow.