Caring for a garden for me has become an amazing “composting” of addiction to patriarchal programming. Giving my attention to the small green beings in front of my feet takes me home into the wholeness of life. Let me share some thoughts and experiences with you.
One of the crafty mechanisms of the patriarchal system is to keep us trapped in “doing something important”. When we’re caught in its programming, there’s a voice whispering into our ear that what we are doing right now is not enough, and this mental disturbance disrupts our felt connection with reality. It drives us out of our bodies, out of our homes, from our families, friends and surroundings, in order to do “important things”. Of course, we also get into our cars and offices because of economic pressure: having to earn money with a job in order to make a living. But I suspect that the drive to do something “big” and “important”, as well, plays a role in keeping us stuck in these jobs and thwarting the harmonious unfolding of a truly prosperous, fulfilling life for ourselves and all beings around us. We are junkies of production, wanting to become very big in order not to feel how small, isolated and miserable we really are. This means that the addictive system can only be perpetuated as long as we are implanted with deep unworthiness. The system needs us to think that something is wrong with us in order to let us work frantically, hoping to improve. When we feel the sting of worthlessness, we try to do something “important” immediately in order to feel just a bit better. I guess this abyss of unworthiness, which goes together with a feeling of homelessness, of being banished from the body and the earth, is what keeps us down and in the system. But this abyss is also where the healing is.
Composting the programming
Any time I realize myself being trapped in unworthiness and then just stopping, not pursuing the frantic conditioned game that separates me from life, an incredible sweetness moves through my body. It feels like the mechanism is “eaten” by my body, composted and incorporated into wholeness. I don’t have to do anything, just breathe and remain present. I see then that the conditioning of being “fast” and doing “big” things is a tight net thrown over life that keeps it from breathing and naturally unfolding. This is the basis of patriarchal programming, and as long as we function this way, we keep the system in power, even if we work on making the planet a better place.
“Private” means “stolen”
While we are busy doing “big things”, the so-called “private” is reserved for the evenings, when we’re mostly tired, and the weekends, always too short. Have you ever realized that “privare”, the root of “private”, actually means “to steal”? Our lives are stolen by the system in order to make us work for it. What remains as “private” is an empty house you may call “mine”, if you are working to pay for it all your life. If you look at it more closely, this “private” house is also stolen, it is robbed from the earth to become a “possession”. So we rob a place from wholeness in order to work hard to keep it, but mostly have little time left to enjoy and to care for this “private place”. Just look at all the gardens that are suffocated with tiles because there is no time, energy and inspiration to give attention to plants. The craziness of what we’re doing is so obvious.
The healing power of a garden
For me, next to “composting” programmed reactions, caring for a garden has become an unprecedented healing force. On our small plot of land, at first just a lawn with a few hortensia’s (yes, it is “private”, and yes, we have to pay for it, and work for that), we brought a few goats, chicken, cats and some bees. It’s only two years we’re sowing, planting and sustaining a diversity of green beings here, and already so many animals came to the garden to live here: wild bees, many sorts of bumble-bees, butterflies, bugs, frogs, toads and a lot of birds. It’s amazing to see how biodiversity increases immensely in a short time on a piece of land that was just a green desert before. This garden infuses me with the interconnectedness of all living beings, with awe for this web of life, and it has become a place of great empowerment. Not only that it provides a lot of foods, herbs and beautiful flowers for family and friends. In its interconnecting dance it also weaves me into the cycles of the moon, the seasons, the weather. I sense I am a cosmic being in the garden. I feel as part of the immensity of life, and any drive to do something “bigger” or “more important” just gets swallowed by this living reality.
Paradise is not “private”
Lately someone said to me, a bit condescending, “so you’re just creating your private paradise?” No need to tell you it was someone busy with “important things”. This woman triggered shame in me, unworthiness greeted me for a moment, doubt popped up whether what I am doing is too petty or perhaps even too “selfish”. And then I realized that it’s really a paradise I’m co-creating, and all of the shame dropped away instantly. Paradise can never be “private”. On this piece of prosperous land with beauty and foods and diverse life, the very notion of “private” versus “public” dissolves. In paradise, there is no “mine”. A paradise knows no separation. I am breathed by it, my heartbeat becomes one with it. What this garden is doing for me is weaving life together again with all beings around me. A separate “self” is really impossible to trace in this celebration of the inter-being of life. Any need to do some other, more important thing than to be present with this, just falls away.
The revolutionary force of caring for small beings
Every time I see a beautiful garden, I greet it with reverence, as one of the Arches of Noah which can bring the earth and all beings through stormy waters into a world filled with beauty, love and prosperity. What a revolution to allow the so-called “private” to be of such importance in life, to love it and care for it so much. There’s an indescribable sweetness in giving love to the small beings directly in front of your feet. You’re being at one with reality, and there is no need to be seen, to be appreciated by others, because there is no other. There is SEEING, there is KNOWING. In this presence there is no separation. It allows the Big Mother, the Earth, to take back her rightful power. And most wonderful: this change is not just a great idea. It happens breath by breath, and with soil under your fingernails.