Weeding is about boundary setting.
With invasive plants
Weeding is about boundary setting.
With invasive plants
I’ve just returned from a smooth jazz festival in Cancun. Based on the line-up, I knew the music would be excellent but I hadn’t counted on it raining every day. This could have ruined a beach vacation but instead restored my hope in humankind.
Moving the outdoor stage indoors due to the rain created extremely long delays. Attendees grew agitated standing in the hot, crowded lobby waiting for a show 2 hours past due. Several shrieking whistle calls and nearly universal “Shhh!” tried to temper angry shouts from the crowd blaring out explanation of the delay. Even after the update, offer of chairs and cold drinks, some stiffly crossed their arms while drilling holes into the doors with their glaring eyes.
And then something happened. Programmed music came on and a few started dancing. And then a few more. I could feel the shift. More and more people began dancing until most of the grumbling lobby turned into a dance floor of good vibes and smiles.
Watching the people transform an unpleasant situation into an uplifting one was magic before my eyes. (After that night, attendees danced to programmed music from any delay until show time.)
I think a lot of us learned from that experience — if the people come together and choose light, it will be light. Just ask, “Do I feel better complaining or does it make me feel more miserable? Does staying angry make me feel powerful, in control? Or do I feel better being part of the solution?”
A postscript…message received from a friend this evening…
“Peace of mind is an internal matter.It must begin with your own thoughtsand then extend outward.It is from your peace of mindthat a peaceful perception of the worldarises.”
— A Course in Miracles
There’s been a lot of hype about the impending total solar eclipse. I’ve never been one to do something just because “everyone else is doing it.” The same with technology. I don’t have to have the latest and greatest, or any at all because “everyone else has one.” To me, that’s a lazy excuse for not making conscious choices and for robbing myself of my individuality. I’ve felt the same about the upcoming solar eclipse.
I haven’t had a desire to view the eclipse, even when friends are traveling for optimal viewing or scrambling for special glasses. I don’t know what your plans are but you may want to take into account the less discussed ill effects of the total solar eclipse, and some protective measures you can take at the time.
According to Indian rishis, the energy field is so strong when there is an absence of lunar or solar electromagnetic radiation that these ecliptic areas of space become unique fields of electromagnetic radiation and affect man’s duality of consciousness. Exposing oneself to the vibratory effects of an eclipse is unfavorable. Be vigilant to avoid being affected by the eclipse’s inauspicious influence and adjust your actions and awareness to accommodate larger universal energies:
Someone who traveled to Ayers Rock in the Outback of central Australia to have a full vision of the sky and developing full solar eclipse said that almost immediately, and for the following year, he experienced enormous loss and difficulties. He deeply regrets viewing the eclipse and said he would never do it again.
As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I have felt exhausted as the eclipse approaches and have cancelled many activities in the name of self-care. My conscience would not rest easy if I did not pass along this less-known information on the approaching eclipse.
However, as a tiny update to this post, since sharing this info with friends has created lively discussion on various interpretations on this eclipse, I have now personalized my own observance of this significant day. Moments before the eclipse began, I picked a colorful garden bouquet. Now, I am staying inside listening to the Maha Mritunjaya mantra and writing my intentions for the coming year. I will then shower away past emotional baggage during the height of the eclipse.
This is all in the spirit of “Take what you like and leave the rest.” I would love to hear how the total solar eclipse affects you and what you decide to do during this time.
Has your life felt wacky lately? Mine sure has. Broken contracts, miscommunication, garbled phone lines, and I could go on. My yoga teacher usually gives me the lowdown of what planetary influences are around the corner so I can give extra attention to staying centered and not being thrown off balance.
A few weeks ago she leaned across the table and said, “The energy around us is going to feel like a turbulent washing machine.”
“How long?” I asked.
“It started July 24th and will run through September 5th,” she replied.
“Ut-oh.” She was referring to Mercury Retrograde. I knew this meant complicated communications, travel and emotions. For the record, I don’t check daily horoscopes but use astrology loosely as a guide. When I can prepare or understand what is happening, I can accept it and more easily go with the flow.
If you are wondering what I am talking about and how it relates to gardening, well, let me say…
If you are not a current believer, think of how the moon rules the tides. Take a look at The Old Farmers Almanac that projects optimal times — for planting and other activities like fishing, pruning, camping, dieting, or even pouring concrete — based upon the moon and astrological signs. Astrology, has been around for over 2,000 years, the Farmer’s Almanac for 225. Need I say more?
For me, I schedule haircuts according to moon phases (my hair doesn’t grow as fast when cut during a waning moon). ONLY after extensive research into optimal astrological dates do I select a surgical date. Various planets rule various parts of the body. (I’ve had 2 very serious surgeries with very successful outcomes and no complications. They were both performed at optimal astrological times for those body parts.)
But, the reason I’m bringing all of this up now is to help you understand why you or those close to you might be feeling edgy lately. Does time seem like it’s rushing at whitewater speed? Have emotions been extreme with people in your life? Have communications been misunderstood, or your technology and electronics on the blink?
It has for me. So, the other night when white moonlight illuminated my bedroom, I looked up and muttered, “Aha. No wonder.” And then relaxation set in. I now understood why our phone wasn’t working for any apparent reason, WordPress wouldn’t let me upload, a contract fell through, and social plans went awry. Things are usually topsy turvy during a full moon, and heightened with Mercury Retro in the works. In just the last few weeks, three long-term couples all announced their divorce and a distant relative commit suicide while 2 others proposed it.
Then I remembered that Mercury Retrograde doesn’t have to be a Big Ouch. Just enough of an ouch to say, “Okay, so things are going to churn for awhile. Take a deep breath. Know this is just the way it is right now. Stay centered.”
From August 13th-September 5th, notice if you have more than the usual challenging situations, delays, equipment breakdowns, and cranky people. If so, remember that Mercury Retrograde is passing through then double-check details to lessen frustration from plans gone awry!
Going into the garden usually helps. A walk in nature is calming. So, if things are off kilter right now, know that shortly after the eclipse comes and Mercury Retro is over, things will soften and smooth out.
8/7/2017 Full Moon
7/24-8/11 PreShadow Mercury Retrograde
8/21 Solar Eclipse
8/12-9/05 Mercury Retrograde
Someone read a poem today.
That made me think
The winding road
Many of us reach the same destination.
Albeit different ways,
Different paths, whys, hows,
with different words
for the same concept —
a nearly same experience.
Isn’t that the wonder of our uniqueness
We begin a path, a book, a plan,
then change course
for whatever reason.
Altering our course
we may step back
and the change brings greater challenges
we did not forsee
yet we gain along the way
from what we did not know,
And then it is behind us.
Why focus on the end
when we never know
the end will truly be?
I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.
I begin each day picking a word for guidance out of the cobalt blue glass container. Just a little something to set my intention for the day before the mental chatter of the “TO DO list” dictates my time and ultimately my mood. Today, the message is flexibility. “Good choice,“ I think to myself already knowing that the weeds are growing as well as the tomatoes and basil…that my border collie is waiting for her morning Frisbee…the phone doesn’t stop ringing, e-mails are mounting, the grass needs to be cut, and I’m trying to get in a daily walk. Oh yeah, did I say I have responsibilities of a job to pay the bills too? I’m guessing you can relate to this and your list is probably even longer.
Someone suggested placing no more than 5 items a day on my To Do list. That’s never seemed possible yet yesterday’s unfinished tasks glare at me rather than offer a cheery “Good Morning.” Intellectually, I know this sets me up for feeling unaccomplished and sometimes overwhelmed. (Being an HSP, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.)
My MO is tackling a project and staying with it til the end (while feeling guilty that other tasks wait for attention) but as Dr. Phil says, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. Probably no, more often than not. Living with a workaholic does not support my efforts for balance and flexibility yet underscores the importance of it. (I learned that the hard way years ago but that’s another story for another time.) For now, I need to take small bits at a time. Weed one section of the garden, mow one acre, respond to e-mail only at designated times of the day. Reprioritize as necessary. Go with the flow. Be flexible.
Even the word flexible seems to have a nice bend to it and immediately conjures up an image from a quote I read long ago:
“…A tree that cannot bend will crack in the wind…” – Lao Tzu
To not be flexible is a death of sorts. If I first make time for stillness (meditation), the day will gently unfold, rather than feeling like I’m tackling each task like a football pro. Again, I am reminded of Lao Tzu’s wisdom:
“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
He wrote this in the 6th century B.C.! Just think about that. It was long before technology, computers, planes, cars, etc., but the population was fraught with worry and running around frantically even in those times. Perhaps these are simply life lessons for being human.
Lao Tzu’s sentiment has appeared before me a few times this week. No surprise. Thank you, Universe. Yes, everything will happen as it’s meant to be, on its own schedule. Gardening has taught me that. Sometimes I need a reminder. I’m human. Now, I’m going to take a deep breath and do some Qigong in the garden with my border collie then let the day unfold as it will…
Source: I Don’t Get It
In visiting another blog this afternoon, I was moved by the writer’s sadness and confusion of impending death and realized each of us is so different in how we think about and interpret life.
I came into this world contemplating death and vividly recall such thoughts as early as age 5. Death (separation) use to frighten me. I could not imagine being separated from the ones I love. (Note, despite my “attachment” to loved ones, I grew into an independent female.) Oddly, the “death” of these individuals gave me a deeper understanding of “life.” Someone told me that my suffering was because I was selfish in not wanting to let the dying go. That was hard to swallow but stepping back, I gradually understood what they meant and focused more on the moments I shared with that person or pet, rather than on the “loss.”
In my youth, I was introduced to a mix of Protestant Christianity (Presbyterian and Methodist doctrines) then investigated Buddhism, Catholicism, and Judaism. Several decades later I find myself believing in bits and pieces from all of them (aka take what you like and leave the rest). I do believe in God and that each of us may call it something different including “the Universe.”
But, it was working in the garden and being led to Taoism that transformed my fear of death to acceptance and understanding. Seeing a flower that buds, blooms, withers and dies, then returns each year gave me a concrete understanding of the cycle of life and hence, tremendous comfort.
If we are all interconnected, then why wouldn’t my life continue as it does for the flower that I cannot see during the winter but greets me each spring?
As in the photo I’ve included here…if I am not conscious enough to look beyond the winter grey, I would not notice the dwarf irises coming back to life in spring.
Reading about past life regression and end of life experiences also helped me arrive at my current view. In 9 months, I lost 3 very important people to me — my mother, best friend of 20 some years, and spiritual guide. In answer to my questions, a Unity minister responded that, “We cannot know another’s journey.” My resolution was that their work this time around was complete.
In the midst of processing these losses, I’ve also had a few scares with cancer. Now, I am learning about the critical importance of our thoughts. And words. As Florence Scovel Shinn advised so many years ago, “Your word is your wand.” I try to be more conscious now in my thoughts and words…having faith answer the door when fear comes calling. Sometimes I do better than others. Afterall, this is reprogramming, “transforming” several decades of thinking.
More and more I have shifted my viewpoint to believe that endings are also beginnings. I heard a radio preacher one day say that death is the gateway to our transformation. Truly, I view death as not the end per se, but a transformation. I just have to have faith of where it will lead.
I am better off, my days are better off when I begin in the flow of Qigong. Years ago I practiced Svaroopa Yoga. Its deep relaxation served me well. But, then I tried Qigong and my life really started to change. I love the cyclical flow of energy — be it in my environment or person. This morning practice is my wake-up — of energy and to life. Naturally progressing to readings from the Tao, my life transformed into a new philosophy of living, thinking and breathing. Being a gardener, the Tao deepens my connection to nature which has deepened my understanding of life.
“Tao is the process of nature by which all things change and which is to be followed for a life of harmony” so Merriam-Webster says.
If you are unfamiliar with Qigong I encourage you to sign up for the free monthly Qi Talks from the National Qigong Association. Their site is full of useful information like detailing what Qigong is, determining your energy composition, finding a practitioner who can teach you the movements, etc. And if there is no one in your locale, you can always try a DVD or visit YouTube. My favorite DVDs are Daisy Lee-Garripoli ‘s Radiant Lotus Qigong She also has videos on YouTube.
Like Yin and Yang, I find these practices produce a more gentle yet exuberant way of living life. Do you practice Qigong or the Tao? I’d love to hear your experience and how it’s influenced your life.
Plum tree branches
heavily laden with raindrops
bend toward the ground
temporarily obstructing my view
of the garden beyond.
Like the challenges we face
sometimes a relentless tsunami
We do not fully understand
or see the gifts
until widening our perspective.
Bend, like the plum tree.
Go with the flow.
Accept. Spring back. Do not break.
Rain pummels and hydrates.
The sun shines and scalds.
Endings are beginnings.
It is the perfectly natural rhythm
of imperfect life.