The psychology of transactional analysis states there are three basic states of ego to act from. There are adult-like, child-like and parent-like ego states. Social transactions are analyzed to understand underlying behavior. Such as: if I were to present a fact to you in a conversation, and you were receptive in the adult-ego we would have effective communication. If you saw me as parent-like there would be cross-communication and we would need to look at why the transaction between us was not working. It is not difficult to draw a simple graphic of the communication states.
We’re all Adults Here
Six circles, three to a side. Lines going from adult to adult, child to child and parent to parent egos are “healthy” transaction and crossed lines are not effective communication. One can often see the ego state on an individual’s face while communicating. So. What does this have to do with gardening adults?
All week long I have been trying to find some way to leave my sanctuary and return to what I once knew. In the immortal words of Popeye “It’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more.” I have been isolated for two months now, my wife being my contact with the outside world. She stayed home from work to protect me further, only leaving our country home when necessary. I have more garden than I could ever hope to weed in several lifetimes. I have plants I can move around like chess pieces, playing design games forever.
There are sound reasons behind my quarantining myself. I have severe lung and heart problems, among other ‘technical difficulties’. If I left my safety zone and took that trip to garden centers I would be placing myself in life-threatening jeopardy. One would think living at the end of an oxygen tube for the past three years would assist in keeping me in the adult ego. The area I want to return to is a State hot spot for COVID-19. I have to ask myself. How many new plants does it take to equal my life? All of this is adult-stuff. There is also a child within that wants what it wants when it wants.
A patient and caring parent-ego begins an internal dialogue to sooth the impatient child-ego. “For now, and it is only for today, it is not wise to go out and play with your friends. Today let’s just the two of us play in the garden. We have those wonderful rare plants your gardening friend stopped by and shared with you. We need to work up a design and place to put them. If you like, this afternoon we can call the local garden center and see if that order is completed. They have already promised to deliver your plants. There are so many fun things to do today in the garden. Tomorrow is for tomorrow.”
Playing in the Garden
Gene picked up his tool bag, spade and rake and headed to his hillside garden. Before you could count to ten he was on the kneeling pad weeding a bed, getting it ready for a new design. There was lunch and a nap, then several small promised projects to entertain during the afternoon. And, there was ice cream after dinner.