TENDING THE INNER GARDEN
TENDING THE INNER GARDEN
Answering my call to be a gardener on this planet continues to offer deep satisfaction and also evokes a profound, almost unsayable struggle. As each fall season drifts by in such a splendid parade of colors, I struggle to sustain and direct my passion as an Earth cultivator and as a soul gardener. It is curious how with age, my vision evolves as my heart expands to hold a much broader circle of life. “Surely it must be time to down-size,” my body and mind tells me!
This weekend I had the privilege of serving as co-facilitator for a Courage & Renewal, ‘Journey toward Wholeness’ cohort at Pendle Hill; a newly formed community of soulful people joining together for a series of four weekend retreats. We came together from many walks of life, cultures and traditions. It could be said that in a very few hours we founded together a new plot of garden, that along with some carefully constructed raised boundaries for safety and nurture, we experienced the shy presence of a delicate yet courageous human community emerge. We shimmered together with glimpses of a rare kind of authenticity that reminds me of plantings of heirloom seeds that come from ancient depths and perennial tradition.
How curious too that we gently noticed and honored the messiness of our unattended weeds as they sprouted from the cracks of our lives. As we anticipate a rich year ahead of sowing, planting, and harvesting the diverse and abundant seeds of our lives, just below the surface of this freshly created beauty, some niggling questions stir within me. This morning they ask to be pitch-forked from my recesses, turned-over in the open air, left to scatter, to possibly season and ripen in our courageous community.
What does my inner garden look like?
What kind of a gardener are you?
What shape of human community does your soul long to live, work, and love from?
Do you yearn for the ordered grace of a classic French fountain garden with wise sculptures hiding between neatly trimmed box-wood, or do you relish the freedom and antiquity of a stone-walls and flowing borders of English country garden charm? Am I the gardener who longs to sweep away everything, to return to elemental basics and re-create community as a serene Zen-garden—honoring sand, stone, and one contorted pine tree?
It is clear that at times, all my soul wants to do is to root around in the dirt of an organic, edible garden, laden with knobby gourds and fat beans. Maybe – if you are anything like me, all of these have certain appeal. How complicating! How do you nurture your inner diversity, your paradoxical longings? In my many roles as gardener, each form and structure of human and other-than-human community calls to be worked out boldly, yet in harmony from the essence of my being. With age, I am thankfully learning to relish the struggle with this complex differentiation. How about you?
From what aspect of your inner soul garden do you live and work from?
In this fall season of harvest, how do you sort, save, or throw away the color-filled seeds of your tradition, education, experience, culture, and class?
What weed seeds am I unconsciously throwing around or stirring up as I eagerly plow into the next project of my life?
And then, consider a series of troubling questions for us ‘modern’ people:
Who makes the decision what a ‘weed’ seed is?
What native plantings cry to be left alone- to thrive, to come to fruition in all their rich wildness?
What mysterious entangled vines are climbing into the periphery of our fertile attention?
What native sweet-grasses plead for cultivation?
Let’s join the conversation to think about these questions as we network in community. We long to continue our work with more sustainability, to be change-agents in the world, and we have so many diverse ways and means of tending and growing a soulful harvest.
I have had the privilege of being able to cross and re-cross many cultural borders in my life-time, and am ever more certain that I often miss this core sense of living from my indigenous wild and communal self – this intuitive passion, this suffering, this paradoxical pleasure of finding my way as human in such a messy life. How I long both to sustain and be sustained more consciously as a generative earth-being in global community – just one member of this circle of All of us – in a Wisdom that is so much more alive than we can ever imagine.
Outside our front-doors, away from our computers – alas, so often, far outside our circles of chairs – Earth community roars, rattles, and sings her deep wisdom to us. I wonder how each of us is being called to grow our wild garden: to tend our native flesh, our grieving land, and our One-ness in Spirit as we stop together, to look and listen to this siren call.
October 26, 2015