Seeds of Tradition

Seeds of Tradition

November 20th, 2012 (No Comments)

Winter’s presence looms. This year, fall is barely hanging onto November.

Nightly frost has crisped the garden and we are in a race to finish the clean-up by the end of this week.  The basement is piled with tubs of corms and buckets of tender pond plants. My underground forest of sub-tropical container plants drop their leaves to the concrete floor with a finality that says, “this growing season is over. No water, no light, no warmth — winter dormancy is here. Leave me alone. Let me rest in peace.”

But for us American humans it’s time for Thanksgiving and a month of holiday celebrations. Just when our body-clocks long to slow down and curl up with a good book, the frenzy of this season jolts us into action.

How do you maintain peace during the Holidays?
How does your soul respond to the thought of this season ahead?

I find that many of us tend to veer into two camps – those that love every minute of the hustle and bustle, and those that wish they could escape this cultural pressure-cooker. As a psychotherapist I have heard countless stories of how the bonds of family tradition fray and snap under the stress of this annual parade of perfection. May I offer a personal discovery? Here is a tonic for the soul that I found in the seeds of the garden. It might offer a re-charging of intention before we hurtle headlong into this season.

Despite fall’s extreme weather, there are millions of plump, healthy seeds scattered throughout the desiccated foliage. Weed seeds and pernicious spreaders hopefully get thrown in the garbage, and countless others land unrecognized on the mountain of compost. Many blow around and land hidden in the soil, ready to bloom as welcome volunteers. Others, I have been gathering, sorting and labeling them for next year: night blooming moon flowers, Kentucky beans, castor beans, and marigolds all will add color and spice to next years’ garden. Some of the fattest and healthiest pods amaze me with their capacity to hide unrecognized in this seasonal garden mayhem.

At this time of year, what heirloom seeds from your tradition does your soul long for? 

Maybe certain customs have run their course and need to be composted. Like the heavy labor of a fall gardener, to maintain an inner life demands a certain kind of mindful work especially during this season of tradition, or before long we’ll find ourselves carried off in the negative riptides of consumerism, thoughtless religion, and unconscious family patterns.

As I write, a few more questions come to my mind. Maybe I’ll take them out to the garden today and ask my Stonehaven community friends – we have an outdoor workday planned. What a gift to be growing together as unique individuals in this wonderful land we now call Stonehaven.

What aspects of family faith have offered you spiritual sustenance for the long haul of life?
What are the precious gifts you carry from your past; ones that call to be identified, stored and re-planted into this season of celebration?

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