We plant our seeds in the soil and we nurture them with care and patience. We do this with humility and respect. From my own experience with gardening - just spending time in the garden with plants is so therapeutic and it also helps the plants grow. They live on the energy of the gardener who really participates in her creations in the garden.
I have a ritual when I'm watering plants - I consciously imbue the water with energy from my 'healing' hands - it helps the plants and me! I'm a natural gardener. I'm at home in a garden... I've been to Sydney and Berlin and on both occasions spent time in their gardens, rather than inside. In Berlin last summer, I spent a day on my own skiving from the conference in the Tiergarten - soaking up the summer sun, sitting on the river bank watching the water and hiding myself amongst the trees - peace, gentle, quiet, silence, opening my heart up and grounding again - and in Sydney, I spent a whole day in one small part of the Chinese Garden, sitting, breathing, stroking rocks and leaves. Just Be-ing. Bliss.
One of the finest Zen moments(!) that came to bless me was so simple was when I had an allotment in Caerphilly, South Wales. It was November, the harvest was in. I had my pumpkins, beans, potatoes etc all gathered in and I was putting the garden to bed.
I lost track of time as my eyes slowly adjusted to the dimming light, what was left of which was reflected off the hills all around me, like the sides of a crystal bowl. Time flowed on, the light dimmed and yet my perception was that there was no change in intensity of the light - time stood still as my internal perceptions and the external stimulation of my retinas by the reflected light came into balance.
My rake with the hazel handle, that I'd cared for with linseed oil on a rag - rubbing the oil in to the grain just like my Dad taught me and his Dad taught him. The feel of the living wood in my hands. I started gently raking the soil of the raised beds. Caressing them, over and over again with my rake, an extension of me. Loving, blessing the soil, separating out the larger stones from the smaller ones with the rake, a flick and a twist. Occasionally crouching down on my haunches to reach out to flick the soil with my hands or fingers instead, or digging my hand in further - penetrating in to find deeper stones, an organic kind of surgery, meticulous, thorough, patient, kind, respectful - I never wear gloves. I want to feel the soil on my skin and, as far as I'm concerned, dirt under the nails or ingrained in the skin of the fingers is a badge of honour.
There were so many old country people who I knew in my childhood who had faces and hands etched by the weather and the land - in that sense they became part of the land. Dirt under the nails - a badge of honour. But not for them, they just Were - themselves, they were the land and the land was them. A reciprocation of unstated (because it was not necessary) love and understanding.
As the sun set and dusk developed, I was breathing in time with my raking - swoosh, woosh, swish, wish,... change position ... shadows developing, moving, dancing, shadows....swoosh, woosh, swish, wish,... change position.
A Blackbird cries out, that flickering, fluttering startled cry, and I look up from my reverie - bed time for birds flying home to their nests. It's getting darker. I can no longer tell the difference between the end of the rake and the soil..where do I end? Do I end? Where does the rake begin and end? Where does the soil begin and end?
And there I am again, swoosh, whoosh, swish, swoosh... swish, wish - another Blackbird celebrates the end of the day... and I'm drawn further and further into the bed, into the soil... is it me moving the rake or the soil working through the rake to move me? I don't know, but what I do know is that I felt a sense of oneness with that dark Welsh soil. I'm drawn into the bed and I'm dreaming, dreaming of ... nothing but. ...
The Bed - She Is my ground,
I am Being through Her
The Air - my breath
The Soil - my lover
The Rake - my hands
Caressing my lover,
Etching myself on her skin,
She opens to me,
I push a little more,
She beckons me in,
Inside her now,
Penetrating her as I move,
Flowing with ease,
In out, In out..
Her Presence building within me,
Releasing myself within her receptive depths,
Dreaming of the fertile future,
She thanks me,
And I'm grateful to have been a part of this love.
We'll be 'making hay',
When warm Father Sunshine comes back next Spring
But now, stillness and silence and lying still on the bed on my back looking up at the remaining flecks of colour in the watery, western sky. Until darkness comes. Silence. Peace. Stillness.
I leave the allotment and the raised bed behind, walking slowly, reverently home.,knowing that my work is done, for now at least. That my moments of Be-ing lost in the soil will remain in my mind and heart - winter memories to draw upon during the long dark days.....but, dreaming of Spring.