Sunday, June 24, 2007

Respect in the Garden

After waiting what seemed like an inordinately long period of time for our new back fence to be installed...the one that will give us more privacy from the house next door...I finally decided to weed the long fence line. I was intending to wait to do this job...the builder next door has promised to raise our fence two feet in height, and then placing the fence directly on our property line, giving us two feet of extra space from where the fence is situated now.

But con- struction has its own time line, whereas weeds don't wait for anyone. They were taking over the shrubs and plants, pulling at them and obliterating some of them. The extra two feet would have made this job far easier; however, I could no longer wait for empty promises...the weed situation was becoming drastic.

Buttercups and Bindweed, Fire Weed and Horsetail, Blackberry Vines and wild Geraniums...all of them were having a heyday along the fence line. They were tangled amongst the climbing Roses, the Lilacs, the Sweet Gum tree and the Lavender...insidious baby seedlings, looking innocuous and gentle...and very, very lush. And some were robust adults, beautiful and in their prime.

I don't like weeding. Not because of the work involved, but because these weeds look so healthy and fine. In many instances, they look better than the cultivated plants and shrubs, with nary any insect or disease damage.

And most of them have healing properties, of one kind or another. I drink Horsetail tea, and young Blackberry leaves dry well, to be used with other herbs in a tea, for Winter's Flu Season.

Horsetail, aka Mare's Tail, Bottle Brush, Fairy really an amazing plant! This plant absorbs silica from the soil. The Romans used it to clean their cooking utensils...not just to cleanse them, but also to make them non-stick, thanks to the silica. As well, it's used to scour pewter, brass and copper, after its stems are dried. I drink a commercial brand, for its astringent qualities for the urinary system and mild diuretic qualities; it's also used in prostate woes.

This plant is left over from prehistoric times, surviving almost unchanged. Horsetail is a permanent resident in my garden; only vigilance, on my part, keeps it somewhat controlled. Its root systems have been found to extend 40 feet; the plant requires no watering, no pests mar its leaves, and it cares not that the weather is foul and not conducive to growing much.

It's been associated with various Goblins, Toads and Snakes, over the years. The Goblins and Toads are residing here; I have yet to see a Snake on my plot of land...a creature very sorely missed. More information about the plant is found here.

As working amongst the plants will do for me, I quickly lost track of the greater world around me, becoming absorbed in freeing Lady Lavender, Peony, Rhododendron Bushes and Rose Bushes from the intruders that threatened to choke their roots and their branches. Bindweed, aka Morning Glory, will sometimes hold up a Clematis vine; when I break the tie to its roots, more than once the whole plant has fallen over.

Morning Glory is tough; this long vine has been used, in a pinch, for string...although I would not recommend it...a tiny piece of that innocent looking, long string like root will grow and grow and grow, covering large areas, even finding niches in the siding of houses to travel through walls...

The white perfection of the Morning Glory blossom is makes me want to see more, and sometimes I will allow it to grow, to my everlasting regret. It will choke the life out of any plant, in very short order. But those a certain light, their breathtaking whiteness, like a spiritual trumpet calling angelic troops to order...Morning Glory can hold its own against any well-bred beauty.

Each time my hoe rips a piece of vine from under the soil, I know that there are many more feet of the root, hiding, waiting for me to be gone, when once again, it will circle and twine, wrapping and smothering its host, if I do not use vigilance and awareness.

But, as I clear the weeds, I remember those blossoms with longing, remembering the days when I lived on acreage, when a stack of wood or forgotten stump, covered with this green, green vine and white blossoms, took such a grip on my heart. Even against all dire warnings. there anything as cheerful as the yellow, shining face of the Buttercup blossom? But this spreading plant has a very strong root system, and travels by runners, much like a Strawberry plant. Each time the runner touches the soil...a new plant grows. And on it goes, until the soil is covered with those cheerful, yellow blossoms. But Buttercup is also insidious...her roots become tangled among the roots of the cultivated plants, finally choking the life out of it.

As my hoe dug deep, as I bent down to wiggle a root out of the earth, as I cleared...once more the cultivated plants shone...and I had a pile of green matter for the compost. Great stuff...but inside I still felt uneasy, I still felt a loss, as I glanced at that green pile, wilting now in the hot Sun.

All things are one. I have just eradicated a part of me.

But I am strange... as I weeded... I consciously left some rootlets behind...I made sure a new generation of "weeds" would visit again. Just in case. Just in case one day I may require the largely undiscovered benefits these plants have.

Respect for the plants, in my belief system, means I do not destroy every "weed" that grows near me. Understanding of the plant system, its growing habits, and its benefits tells me what I can live with so I can leave a few new beginnings...

Sense tells me I cannot let every plant in my small garden run rampant. I must show control, if I intend to have a garden.

And so, respect and sense find a uneasy, difficult one, to be sure.

But a balance, nonetheless.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Laughter is good medicine...isn't that the saying?

When I think of laughter, I think of the soft, chuckling sound, like the music of River flowing over Pebbles and Stones, of a baby's' first attempt at jocularity...

I think of the robust, hearty laughter that ensues from a good joke.

I think of the quiet, heartbreaking, despairing laughter that results from life's drastic changes.

I think of the social, charming laughter used in group situations...a warm, sympathetic sound that draws people in...

And I think of the laughter that deepens into uncontrollable, rolling hilarity...the kind I remember sharing with good friends in my teen years.

But laughter has another side, perhaps a darker side, in me.

There are times when laughter releases emotion, when I laugh at inappropriate events. And there are times when I laugh at the foibles of foolish behavior, when there is nothing left to do but shrug my shoulders...and release that deep chuckle building in my gut.

Then there are the times when laughter used in psychic warfare defuses and releases negative energy, when it aids in letting go and letting God. This kind of laughter reminds me of what a good joke life really is.

Because that kind of laughter, used when all else fails, tends to bring the other party up short, tends to remind them, too, of the ridiculousness of it all. There is no answer to laughter.

I remember the story of Rumpelstiltskin. The picture I have in my mind of him having a tantrum when his plans went awry...hopping around on that peg leg, absolutely out of control...makes me laugh every time. And this is the unfortunate picture that flashes into my consciousness each and every time I'm engaged with someone who is indulging in frustration and anger.

Suddenly, like an explosive whoosh..laughter billows out of me. This has given me grief, more than once, in my can be taken as a taunt, fueling the other person's anger, where words are then no longer used.

When emotions run amok, when anything I say is used against me, when reality is twisted into a perception only apparent to the other, when that proverbial brick wall suddenly rears up in front of only recourse is to laugh; to release that trapped ball of energy that is going nowhere...

I laugh when I no longer have anything left to say.

I have found, in doing so, that I find acceptance of the situation I'm in. And with acceptance, I further strengthen my resolve, and suddenly...I no longer feel the need to explain; to smooth the ugly, churning waters. It is what it is.

This kind of laughter renews my equilibrium.

Laughter is all about incongruity, after inconsistency in any given situation, or a sudden surprise.

Laughter is the best medicine, with dark or light humour. It allows me to put things into perspective, to remember what is important.

With my granddaughter, I share her giggles; with my grandson, my heart leaps about when I laugh with him. I share uncontrollable mirth with my partner, as we watch some humourous story on TV.

Each and every time laughter wells up in me, regardless of the situation, I feel better.

What could be better than that?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Balance Dance

Balance...the word itself is soothing to me.It seems to smooth the choppy Waters of the River I sometimes raft, against all better judgment.

It is no wonder I like the word, really; the opposite of balance is agitation, instability. A state of being I try to avoid at all costs.

But finding my balance in all things is a little like the photo of the scales, which seem a little takes constant vigilance for me to have complete equanimity.

I was taught well to worry, to go into the what-ifs, to endlessly obsess about any or all imagined has taken much constant labour to erase these instant stop and remain balanced in the middle of a difficult situation.

At times, my emotional meter is way off the mark; from day to day, my physical body changes with the vagaries of the weather; my spiritual body is usually pretty good; and my mental meter? It's sometimes at the opposite end of where it should be...

But each day is a new day. Each day, as I check my energy bodies for misalignment, I notice where to concentrate on bringing them back...back to balance. It is a dance, granted; sometimes I move back and forth on the balance beam, trying to find the perfect spot. Each day brings new information to light, more tools to use.

And, sometimes, when I achieve really good balance in all areas of my being, it feels like Heaven.

On those days, when every little thing flows along with scarcely a ripple, when even the food I eat is exactly what kind of nourishment my body requires, it is then that I live in the present moment. My mental body nourishes the emotional body, keeping it level and logical. My physical body releases the pent-up negative energy, lessening pain...and my spiritual body is open and receiving good, loving positive energy.

There is nothing like it.

And when the inevitable crises appear, I am discovering it is so much easier, now, to stand back and watch the situation, to let things play out the way they are meant. I am a big believer in Fate and Destiny; my greatest tools are awareness and balance. When I lose either one of those, when I forget that I am not the One in charge; when Ego takes over...I am instantly in trouble.

I get the proverbial slap from the Universe. In no time at all. I try not to tempt Fate, these days.

I have learned that worrying about a person, place or thing, anticipating trouble, is a sure way to bring some into my life. I am manifesting a scenario. I imagine my thoughts being monitored; perhaps the receiver, taking in all these imagined, disastrous story lines from me, over and over...thinks this is what I really desire!

There is such a fine line between good, positive wishes and negative, dark worry...I find myself monitoring my thoughts frequently.

And when the inevitable happens and I get taken aback, when I am awash in emotions, I trust my guides and allies to bail me out, I watch for signals and symbols. I fight for balance. I trust and rely on my intuition.

I struggle for a time, on that balance beam.

And when I relax and give in, when I let go and let God...I find my balance. Every time, it empowers me, steadys me, as if I were my friend, the immovable and impenetrable Rock.

Increasingly, I find my equanimity much faster these days.

The balance dance increases adrenaline in the body; it creates chaos, where there might have been none. I no longer want to be a chaos junkie; therefore I accept the work it takes not to be one.

A balance dance...I guess that's what life is.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


In my last home, there were many hedge- rows and thickets, home to all manner of wildlife. It seems these copses of vegetation have followed me here, to intrude upon my well-ordered garden of peace. It seems I have grown an impenetrable thicket in my mind.

A thicket is defined as a number of trees and shrubs growing close together. Sharp twigs , branches, berry vines with darting, ripping thorns, entangling bindweed vines often reside along with the trees and Shrubs. If a thicket is impenetrable, if I try and try over and over again, to find my way through it...being ripped to shreds, each and every time...

Maybe it would be wiser for me to go around it.

Or, I could cut my way through that thicket. This would be drastic...years and years of growth have gone into these Shrubs, Vines and Trees...making it impossible to see the ground, a home, still, to many creatures.

But in order to rejuvenate this dense pocket of plant matter, the one I cannot barrel my way through, the one where I have run out of strength to is not a bad idea to take the pruning shears, and do some gentle pruning. The trouble is, I cannot see where one Tree begins and another Shrub ends...

The pruning may turn out to be drastic, turning this wooded area into a neatly trimmed park- like setting, a delight to my eye and soul, with merciful, benign order to the intertwining plants.

Last week, I was involved in an insanely trying time, finding myself constantly in the middle of that untrimmed thicket. I do not like to disturb the order of things; if I had my way, I would be in the middle of a well-defined path, the way forward clear. As would most of us.

But Creator has other ideas. Here, in this unbelievable place, I was being stabbed by unsuspecting Vines that suddenly appeared, by branches without leaves that jabbed at my eyes..

So, lately, I have been the recipient of messages from Spirit; I think the belief is that I have better skills than I do at deciphering them, or perhaps I require the practice. The messages do heighten my awareness.

I was visited by Hawk and Snake, last week. Both were involved in a dangerous struggle. Traveling along a mountain- ous stretch of road to visit my family, we were held up by a vehicle that had caught fire. And so, when the traffic resumed, we were part of a long line of cars, going both ways on the narrow highway.

One of the largest Red-tailed Hawks I have ever seen suddenly rose up from the side of the road against the car directly in front of us. He had a very long Snake grasped in his claws...a Snake that was fighting with every bit of his being. The car slowed, its inhabitants shocked, but did not stop. The Bird slid and flapped away from this car; he and the Snake ended up on the road in front of our car. We did stop; and the Hawk, still grasping the struggling Snake, flew directly to my window. I looked deeply into his eyes...and then Snake impaled me with his gaze, as well.

I was awestruck. I felt the World stop and for a small moment I was in a different place. In an instant, I realized this was no ordinary occurrence...and I sent a silent Thank you to the two who were putting their lives at risk to show me their presence, with their kinds' resultant messages.

The Hawk and Snake veered off, into the thickly treed forest, and we continued, the whole episode soon out of sight.

But definitely not out of mind.

Hawk is the visionary of the Air, he holds the key to higher levels of consciousness. He sees the overall view. He reminded me to be very aware of omens and spirit messages. He shows me there is a greater intensity, than before, in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual forces within me.

Snake...the symbol of transformation and healing...the symbol of Eternity. He is Fire medicine...ever changing, ever moving. Snake tells me my creative forces are awakening; my intuition will sharpen. He tells me I have the ability to experience life willingly...without resistance. He tells me all things are one and all things are created equally.

Both are Protectors, in the meaning of their forms. Both were involved in a life/death struggle. Air and Fire, with the element Air fueling Fire. This struggle the two were involved in puts me right back into my thicket, feeling the awful awareness of it all. And the futility, compared to Life/Death.

Fire in the car accident previous to Hawk and Snake's messages relayed enough inform- ation, put all together, for me to decide how to tackle the present thicket in my life.

I think it needs rejuvenation, I think some of those vines and dead vegetation have to be trimmed completely back, to start again, to transform this area into a place where peace and serenity are once more prevalent.

It is time to cut my losses. It is time to realize there are some parts of this tangled, twisted thicket in my mind that no longer serve...and it is time to do something about it.

In AA, there is a saying...Guard the entrance to your mind.

Some of the overgrown parts of this wooded, dark area will have to be cut...going around this particular mess of vegetation will keep it too close to the forefront. And I no longer want to be involved in this confused snarl of coiled, mixed-up vines and branches.

It is time to sharpen the shears.