The Koru

When I attempt to think through issues, it seems that sometimes my thought processes appear to be somewhat circular in nature; as if they begin a journey travelling clockwise and build and develop and after a period of time they return to their point of origin, and I come back to the same point I started from. Is it the issue that’s circular or my thought process? I expect it’s my thinking. [Aside: A thought process that takes any specific shape or form is preferable to the obscurity of the ‘clouds’ I used to experience.]

And is the process circular or cyclical? or is it spiral? Sometimes the thought process is similar to the motion of a screw which comes back to its highest point but has moved forward from its starting point and continued on. Each step as it tracks around the circumference is a also a forward movement and in my mind this picture somehow represents progress.

This forward movement is very different (in my mind at least) to the downward spiral of depression, a black hole or vortex that sucks in everything in it’s destructive path and spits out only remnants of what was, on a fast track towards oblivion.

There is, however, a shape that I really connect with, and maybe part of what I love about it is what it represents. It is the spiral shape like the internal structure of a shell. In New Zealand this is called a koru. It is based on the shape of the unfurling fern frond. It represents new life, new growth, strength and peace. To me, it is ‘unfolding newness’ ….. new life, new growth, the opening up of new possibilities.

Image result for koru                  

“The koru is often used in Māori art as a symbol of creation and new life. Its circular shape conveys the idea of perpetual movement, and its inward coil suggests a return to the point of origin. The koru therefore symbolises the way in which life both changes and stays the same.”                                                                                                           – Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

I feel as if I’m continually returning to the premise of new growth and new possibilities. Yet I also love the way the koru incorporates that symbolism of life continually changing and staying the same. I’m not entirely sure what it is about this that I find both optimistic and comforting at the same time.

Under a tall Norfolk pine at the front of our property I have planted a fern garden. There are a variety of mainly New Zealand native ferns of varying sizes. I love spending time in the fern garden in the summer. The pine is so tall and it’s branches so broad that it provides a great deal of protection to the ferns and shelters them from the worst of the weather: strong winds, the heat of the mid- summer sun and biting frosts in winter. Because the different ferns vary in shape and size I often get to watch the fronds unfurl, and there’s something beautiful about that. There’s a joy in watching the tiny, perfect unfolding of life. Like a tiny baby’s hands and feet, or seeing a duck with her ducklings. I know I’ve said this before – but there’s such a beauty in the newness of young life, be it plant or animal. That sense of potential, possibilities, opportunities, and promise – that which might be to come. I know I keep coming back to these same concepts but I’ve realised that they bring me a sense of joy, of optimism, of belief in the promise of good things to come.  For someone who has identified despair, depression and ‘lostness’ in her past, this is a gift I need to highlight, to keep in my field of vision, and to keep reminding myself of. I’m not sure but I think what I’m identifying is the gift of HOPE.


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