Who knew the road to recovery was paved with the frustration of bindweed?
We currently live in the country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, a population experiencing massive unemployment, and our education system turned on its head. I find myself tossed between anger, sadness, and gratitude all at once. How do I look forward when the world feels so wild and out of control? AAHHHHH!
Ok, I probably need to meditate. This is a lot of change all at once.
I yanked at the bindweed in our tiny lawn and felt satisfied. The tenacious tiny vines climbed up the rose and the sweet woodruff. I ripped them out, just trying to keep the desirable plants from being choked.
Ah, the catharsis of weeding.
I also find great relief in the Dalai Lama’s book, Healing Anger. Frequently I linger on the page where he quotes Shantideva’s verse about hatred:
“There is no evil like hatred
And no fortitude like patience.
Thus I should strive in various ways
To meditate on patience.”
Well, gardening anything these days sure takes a lot of patience…
Bella and I have our struggles with pollution, wild temperature variations, and a major drought in the Rocky Mountain region. The smoke from wildfires triggers a deep anger at a preventable event.
I graduated from the CoreLight teacher training program in 2004 where I started to meditate on how I could contribute to the world as an emissary of inner and outer peace. Well, I’d have to practice cultivating inner peace for twelve years as I poured love into my family. While my calling was not to become a minister to people when I was ordained in 2016, I chose, instead, to become a minister to gardens.
Well, that initially included all gardens with soil. But I quickly fell in love with the process of co-creating with nature and realized one of my favorite things to do was to create healthy soil-less gardens.
Gardens without soil? Yes! Here’s what I mean…
A garden is a creation between the earth and those who interact with that piece of earth. A garden, therefore, needs a gardener and something to garden.
The gardener is the person who regularly tends to their creation, applies effort toward their goals, monitors the progress of the creation, harvests the appropriate rewards of that creation, and provides ongoing support for that creation.
But what about those projects that don’t have soil?
Loosely defined, my family, my friendships, and my career are all gardens to whom I lovingly tend.
As a mother, I can say with some authority, small humans certainly require several of the same responsibilities a gardener has to her garden! This has become glaringly obvious after quarantining with my two sons, 15 and 11 for nearly two weeks. Missing friends requires a caring ear and growing boys can eat everything you give them.
I’m quite ready to pull my hair out if I see one of them roll his eyes at me one more time.
Oh, right. Patience.
Patience with people, even those I love, doesn’t come easily to me sometimes. But I have cultivated some wonderful friendships over the years. As a friend to many people, the gardens of my friendships also need tender loving care.
At nearly the same moment as my child has made ocular movements, my housemate Bella walks in from our backyard and shouts, “What the hell is eating the kale!?”
Having not seen the kale, I have no idea, but I remember Bella is the head gardener here. Not me.
At the moment, I am grateful. Being the head gardener means you are responsible for your creation. For serious gardeners like us, the pressure of mitigating every conceivable mishap can cause us to seriously crack (not unlike my frayed nerves at the sight of eye-rolling). Aphids on the kale is disturbing. So, we do what we can, and surrender the rest to the Earth. I will gladly help dear Bella figure out what to do with the kale, and we’ll probably be fine, but there is something that needs to be done when forces seem to be invading your lands!
As representatives of the Divine, we are responsible for our creations, our soil-less gardens, whatever they might be.
We can create our projects consciously or unconsciously. My vote is for conscious creation, so everyone can benefit from the highest possible outcome.
When we become more conscious of how we are creating our lives, we benefit from more successes.
When I created Terra Gardens Santa Fe in 2002, I was deeply concerned both about the impact of global carbon emissions and my family.
I found that my panic attacks could be quelled in the garden… and the gardens responded well to my caregiving, in spite of absolutely everything.
The mission statement for TGSF was, and still is: To create global, local, and personal harmony through beauty, sustainability, education, and stewardship.
It was a huge mission.
In deep prayer, I offered the mission to Spirit, and surrendered to the outcome. It’s been an interesting road, but consistent tending has rendered something truly beautiful. I still see our species struggling with its time here on earth, but I also see us creating amazing alternatives. We are now starting to garden the earth together.
Recently someone asked me if I was going to change the name of my business now that I’m mostly working outside of the Santa Fe area.
Heck no! Terra Gardens Santa Fe loosely translates to Beautiful Gardens of Holy Faith. Why would I let go of that?
Even though the world looks like it’s getting worse before it gets better, I am doubling down my efforts to be a gardener with only the highest intentions… this time, generously dosing the key nutrient of patience.
Whatever your walk in life, and wherever your life has taken you and your creations, I wish you the deepest peace among the bindweed.
Here are some of the soil-less gardens I’m gratefully tending (with a little soil mixed in):