"The Secret Garden" - Welcoming any or all thoughts about this lovely book :-)

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Hope67

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Thank you Snowdrop and Woodsgnome - I feel better now than I did earlier - I'm glad I wrote what I did.  I no longer feel embarrassed about it at this moment, and I thank you both for your lovely comments.

I like what you said, Woodsgnome, about us being in the process of creating and re-claiming our own secret gardens, and noone else can take it from us. 

Hope  :)

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Blueberry

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No reason to feel embarrassed about that lovely thought, Hope! I'm so glad you left it in because I've only read it just now. 
:grouphug:  :sunny: :umbrella: You need rain for a garden too!

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Blueberry

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I just want to say how grateful I am that this thread got started - thanks Hope!! - and is continuing. It helped me find the impetus to eventually watch the film, and then go on to watching 2 different versions of "Heidi", which is another one of my favourite children's books that I still read. It's another children's book with an invalid who learns to walk again and both at the beginning and near the end lots of flowers and nature.

Back to SG though. Hope you mentioned how a lot of our names on the forum make you think of SG, maybe because there are a lot of nature names here like Blueberry and Snowdrop and Woodsgnome. Though it's very different, you saying that reminded me how reading SG as a child first really 'planted' the idea in me of having a garden. It took me a number of years to actually sow some seeds of my own. Nothing came of them but they were in the wrong soil, some clay-ey earth from a left over building site. I didn't know at the time that there's such a thing as real garden soil. I had inspiration from my grandparents' gardens too, where they always had snowdrops and other spring bulbs as a matter of course, but I think SG provided a different impetus. Of actually doing probably rather than being a passive participant. I do get a lot out of having my flower and herb garden and of remembering in 'low' times such as now that at least I'm providing bees etc. with sustenance, even if that's about the only thing of value I'm contributing to the world around me.

woodsgnome, I admire your ability to analyse the book and find metaphors. I don't seem to be able to do that anymore though I actually did well at Engl. Lit. at school. I was probably just good at parroting what the teacher said ;) and anyway that's a long time ago now. These days I read stories much more literally, e.g. I never ever thought anything about the snake because snakes slither away, it's normal. But I am interested in what you write about the story because it brings more meaning, it's just that I don't seem to be able to think of these things myself.

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marta1234

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I wanted to thank Hope, like everyone before me (and everyone who has added to the discussion), in creating this thread. I finally caved in and started reading the book. And it brought back so many memories from my childhood and imagination. Although for me, I watched the 1995 film version when I was little.
Thank you Hope again for your kind words and support, and that each of us are in our secret gardens; this really put a smile on my face.
Sending everyone much love  :hug:, this again makes me feel so grateful for opening up to this community.  :grouphug:

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Hope67

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I am so grateful to everyone for contributing to this thread.   :grouphug:

I have used the 'Secret Garden' as a 'safe space' where my different parts can come together, and I imagine people from this forum being there too, and indeed, I come to this forum literally as well as in my imagination. 

Hope  :)

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woodsgnome

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The Secret Garden has held many hidden surprises for me. I'm amazed by how so much of its story interweaves with my own recovery saga.

Recently I was re-watching part of the 1975 BBC version. At one point in Part 6 (around the 13.15 mark), something Mary said unexpectedly leaped out at me -- as if what she was saying applied to my own approach to life. I've found that adapting what she said into how I'm choosing to deal with aspects of my healing journey has been extremely helpful in shifting my attitude around a bit.

One of my biggest c-ptsd hurdles has been to accept what I can, and can't, do about certain memories and reactions (anger, rage, shame, hopelessness, etc.). When these unwanted visitors show up, it can ignite triggers which lead to multiple emotional flashbacks and I end up only more frantic than ever. It can take quite a while to cool down again.

So in that scene of The Secret Garden, there's a moment when Colin, still learning how to be 'nice' to people (in this case the head gardener), asks Mary what it was she'd told him once that one might say when finished. She laughingly spread her hands as if brushing something aside, and told Colin he could say: " ... you have my permission to go", as if it's a natural flow requiring none of the uncalled for rudeness he'd usually shown with most people (a bit understandable given his circumstances). Even the onlookers in the scene seemed pleasantly surprised.

I must have viewed this scene a bunch of times before this popped out for me. Yes!!! -- "You have my permission to go" has become a mantra of sorts for me as well. I started doing this when inevitably my painful 'stuff' would show up again. In the past, I'd yell and shout, curse and plead  and do anything to fight them and get rid of them (even if they're now only distant memories, images, or voices). I'd be mean (as they had been to me). Now, with this new phrase culled from that scene inThe Secret Garden, I've found a gentler way to coax these demons away.

While I've learned that these leftover trauma remnants often can't be wholly avoided, I've also used this little saying to not just dismiss the uninvited thoughts, but in doing so give my full permission to scram -- not a shouted "Leave" or "Get Out" but a gentler, kinder "you have my permission to go". Short and sweet, but also not the senseless "just' let it go" so popular with too many folks (and so awfully invalidating).

Just wanted to share a little peek into how this simple but beautiful story has impacted me. As one song I like puts it: "Who'd a Thunk It?".   :)

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Hope67

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Hi Woodsgnome,
I really like what you wrote here, and the saying 'you have my permission to go' - I think that's helpful and will be holding onto that myself, as I think it is, as you say, a 'gentler way' but one that is no less effective. 

I've been imagining the garden, and looking on it as a place of safety, and imagining the different flora and fauna, and how it would be to explore it, and it feels relaxing and it feels safe.  That's a nice feeling.

Hope  :)

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Blueberry

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One of my biggest c-ptsd hurdles has been to accept what I can, and can't, do about certain memories and reactions (anger, rage, shame, hopelessness, etc.). When these unwanted visitors show up, it can ignite triggers which lead to multiple emotional flashbacks and I end up only more frantic than ever.

That sounds very familiar.

While I've learned that these leftover trauma remnants often can't be wholly avoided, I've also used this little saying to not just dismiss the uninvited thoughts, but in doing so give my full permission to scram -- not a shouted "Leave" or "Get Out" but a gentler, kinder "you have my permission to go".

That's a great way of dealing, woodsgnome! :thumbup: :applause: Thanks so much for the idea.

"You have my permission to go" feels and is much different than supposedly 'letting go'. "You have my permission to go" - I'm active, stable, both feet on the ground and empowered. 'Letting go' - I feel sad, hurt, defeated, small, cowering and simply acquiescing to the 'inevitable'. I'm not active or empowered.

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Hope67

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I have just been watching 'The Secret Garden' film - the newest one with Colin Firth in it.  Made in 2020, so this year.  I found it quite emotional to watch it - and haven't watched it all yet.  Hope to watch more later.  It's a lovely version of the film - I really felt the isolation for Mary at the start of the film.  They captured it really well, I thought.  I've watched it to the part where she is shown the key to the garden by the robin. 

Hope  :)

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Blueberry

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I'm going to watch the new film on Monday at the cinema with a friend. I'm looking forward to seeing it on a big, wide screen rather than just on my computer screen.

Yesterday evening I watched half of Tom's Midnight Garden on my computer. I didn't read that as a child though it was recommended to me. Of course it's a different story-line though there are some lonely children in it too.

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Hope67

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Hi Blueberry,
That's wonderful that you'll be seeing it in the cinema with a friend.  I've finished watching it now, but I won't say anymore about it till you've seen it. 

Interesting that you mentioned 'Tom's Midnight Garden' as that's another book I used to read as a child, and I loved it too - I was thinking about it whilst watching 'The Secret Garden' just now - and thinking - 'I must re-read it'.  I'm not sure if I've ever watched it - so might do that as well sometime.

Hope  :)

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woodsgnome

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I keep running into metaphors from this tale that matches with some of my own trek to and within my own 'inner' garden.

I pointed out in a previous post the snake from the opening scenes in the BBC 1975 version (snakes can be symbolic of shedding old patterns, if not whole lives).

There's also another 'hidden' metaphor I recently realized -- stemming from the idea of compost, or food scraps, which combined can be used to fertilize the soil to enhance new growth. This one was pointed out by my T, who said she's seen a lot of composting involved in the work of therapy.

In the BBC version, there's plenty of gardens (besides the secret, walled-off one which Mary discovers); but no overt mention of compost, although it must have been something used, at least partially. So that's something I've put into my collection of metaphors I've drawn from the book and film series.

It also reminds me of the Japanese art of self-reflection known as Kintsugi. https://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=3659.0 While Kintsugi involves redoing broken pottery with gold embellishment, the garden/compost metaphor does so as well.

Maybe both of these came to mind today as I accomplished a major task of cleaning an area of my home that had become very untidy. Whatever -- anything pointing to new life means a lot, no matter where a survivor might be on their journey.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2020, 11:27:05 PM by woodsgnome »

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Hope67

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Hi Woodsgnome,
I really enjoy reading what you write about 'The Secret Garden' and what others write too.  I really like the concept behind the Japanese art of Kintsugi with the broken pottery becoming beautifully mended with gold embellishment.  The garden/compost metaphor is definitely interesting.

I saw a stage adaptation of 'The Secret Garden' in London, and think they'd put an extra character in - and made it even 'darker' in mood - as it was suggested in that version that there was a lawyer who might have been the sick boy's Uncle who had invested interests in killing him off.  But I can't remember for certain if that was the case - i.e. whether that's a character in the films and the book as well.  There certainly wasn't that character in the latest version - and I feel a bit more confused now about details.

Actually I am beginning to really mistrust my own memory, as it seems that I have so many filters and different parts of me seem to hold different experiences and memories, and there's a part that seems to rub things out, or change them as well - so it makes me doubt myself and my recall of things.

Hope  :)

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woodsgnome

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I'm finding there's several versions out there, all deriving -- they say -- from the original by Florence Burnett but seemingly stretching the fabric of the original. Maybe that's just me, though -- stemming from the instant rapport with Mary's story; first in the book, and then in the 1975 BBC version. It helped, I suppose, that the BBC series was directed by someone (Dorothea Brookings) in love with the original book, per a recollection I read of Sarah Hollis Andrews, the actress who portrayed Mary in the 1975 series.

So I guess I'm partial to the original tale, as it leaves enough out, to my mind, as it does parsing out every detail (and inventing others). All I really know is the effect which has me realizing, over and over, how much the original tale resonates but the others don't come close. Not to say, however, that artistic license doesn't have some merit, sometimes.

Before I talk my way out of existence (which I feel I could easily do while discussing The Secret Garen), I did find yet another 'something' that leaped out at me in the BBC series, part 6. Shortly after Mary tells Colin that he can just say to the head gardener -- "you have my permission to go" (instead of the angry dismissal typical of the 'old' Colin -- he declares, happily: "It's all safe now, and today I shall be in the Secret Garden."

It's, for most people, just a part of an old story but for me it says more than just a couple lines thrown in -- being safe is such a huge part of not just the plot line of the book/TV series, but I suspect speaks directly to most of us on this forum. Safety is incredibly important, as it was to Colin, who in spite of his extravagant heritage of wealth and privilege, had never sensed that he could be safe, as Mary had discovered before him.

As to your comments, Hope, per our memories, I guess we can use the flexibility of those memories as well as get lost in them. I think that's been another takeaway for me with regard to The Secret Garden's impact on me. It shuffled up some stuff for me, particularly about abandonment and how yes, it happened, but a new route out of the heartbreak was still to be found. It makes me feel less stuck to have let that notion hit me. May it be so for you as well.

Thanks for sharing your own insights. With your permission, I offer you this  :hug:

« Last Edit: October 31, 2020, 09:24:08 PM by woodsgnome »

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Hope67

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Hi Woodsgnome,
I read what you wrote some time ago, and I have kept meaning to return here to write something - because it touched me emotionally to read some of the things you wrote.  Anyway, firstly - thank you so much for the hug  :hug:

Very pertinent that you noticed that detail in the BBC series, part 6 where Colin says 'It's all safe now, and today I shall be in the Secret Garden' - that is a state and stage of being that I would love to emulate in terms of feeling that my internal world becomes a safe place for my inner parts/children. 

I really like what you said about flexibility of memories, and how something can shuffle them up - those are great descriptors and I can see how different things can impinge on memories and change perspectives.  I like what you said - when you said 'We can use the flexibility of those memories as well as get lost in them'.

Your comment about abandonment, and the fact it happened - and a new route out of the heartbreak is still to be found, that is particularly profound to me.  I've just been discussing things with my partner, who has said to me that I can't change the past, but I can do quite a lot with the present and the future, and so I'm hoping to pave the way to appreciate the present and the future more, and savour each and every moment, feeling, and day - one moment and feeling and experience at a time.

Thanks for your insights, they are so helpful, and thank you for sharing them.

I offer you a hug  :hug:

Hope  :)
« Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 09:46:48 AM by Hope67 »