The Enduring Medicine of the Glider Swing

The Enduring Medicine of the Glider Swing
glider swing

The whole idea behind carving out time and space for stillness and solitude is to realign internal values with external actions. Cutting back on distractions, evaluating how I spend my time and energy and who I spend it with, and challenging the notion of what’s “productive,” clears the way to hear the voice of my heart.

After taking the backward step and getting clear direction, you’d think next steps would be easy. However, as soon as our ego, our small self, gets wind of a change, it ratchets up the mental chatter. I picture myself as a six- or seven-year-old and call her Lizzie.

The call I heard in Writing-On-Stone Park was simple: listen to the stories of the land and share. But what does that mean?

Travel back to Alberta and prolonged contemplative time in 2020 certainly wasn’t part of my plans.

My small self responds frantically, knowing all the right buttons to push. “You can’t stop now. You’re just getting going with your book promotion. You’ve put so much into it, how can you drop it now? You’ll lose momentum and readers. How will you make ends meet? You’ll look like a failure. Like you’re not worthy. Or that you gave up. Or that your story wasn’t interesting or meaningful. Where exactly will you go? How will you pay for it? What will you do?” The questions are relentless and arise from outdated, limiting stories.

I trust the voice of my heart.

The farm my parents bought when I was two, came with a pale green wooden glider swing. It sat outside the dining room window on the lawn inside a lush green triangle formed by two gnarly sweet cherry trees and a towering walnut. I loved spending time there, especially when the cherry trees were profuse with delicate white blossoms and the fragrant lily-of-the-valley carpeted the ground under the walnut.

The swing is long gone, until I close my eyes and envision how it was. It’s where I go now when I need to settle Lizzie down. We go out to the glider and sit on the side with our backs to one cherry tree, facing the walnut and the orchards beyond. I put my arm around her, reassure her that all is well, and we swing.

As we do, the quiet returns and with it, in time, the next steps. Often, they’re answers I would never have considered and they’re far richer and more effective—and fun— than I could have imagined.

It doesn’t take many back-and-forths on the glider swing before peace, calm, and balance return. As surely as those cherry blossoms will produce an abundance of fruit without my interference, so too will my work produce results, even through ways I don’t understand.

We all have a glider swing. Where’s yours? Tell us in the comments.

Photo credit: Cléa, Flickr


Author, writer, and student Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery.

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