Day 15: Belly in the Garden

It’s funny–I love plants and trees so much, and I identify so strongly with them as both friends and wisdom teachers, but despite my years in the greenhouse management program in high school, I am no good at getting them to grow. There is, however, one aspect of horticulture at which I really do excel: Clearing out the dead shit. 

Today I spent the whole afternoon in the perennial garden of the house I just moved into, taking out all the old brown leaves, sticks and stems, last year’s growth. It was amazing. There were all kinds of shoots under the thick mat of dry brush — even flowers that couldn’t be seen, they were so thoroughly covered. As I worked my way through the garden, I could almost hear the new spring plants taking deep breaths as they stretched up for sunlight. Wow! I was stretching up with them!


My belly overfloweth

Well, here’s how that gardening is like my project of self love. My brain is so full of negative talk, of self-criticizing thoughts, it sometimes gets so that nothing else can breathe in there, nothing else can grow. Indeed, like some of the flowers I found today–there could be all kinds of beautiful possibilities in there, but I haven’t been able to see them through all the dry, dead, thorny branches of judgment.


I don’t even know what this red guy is, but it’s awesome!

Even though it’s not the right season, I kept hearing this Samhain song in my head as I pruned:

As the trees give their leaves to the chilly autumn breeze,

I too shall give away the things that I no longer need;

As the trees give their leaves to the chilly autumn breeze,

I too shall give away the things that can no longer feed me …

It was last fall, actually, when it occurred to me that if I could liberate my mind from negative beliefs about my body, then my mind would be liberated indeed. (More on this tomorrow.) And it was then that I started trying to sing from all the parts of my body that I disliked the most–the fat parts, i.e., all of them. I did this in zikr and found … that there were sounds in there that I hadn’t known existed. 

For as beat up as I got today when I waded in to the garden and started pulling stems, and for as long as it took me to clear out the patch I was working on, the process of clearing deadening thoughts out of my mind is far longer and harder. And in fact I begin to think I can’t do it without grace. 

 But luckily, there is grace. 

Last spring (was it really only a year ago?) my now-housemate hosted an Oestara ritual in which we painted eggs with our dreams for the year and “planted” them in a corner of the very garden I was digging in today. Here’s the egg I buried:

Art and Flow, the two energies I wanted to nurture.  

Two sides of one egg


Art, like a tree, is still growing slowly but steadily in my life. And flow–well, you know that when we release things, we create space for other things to come in, things that are more aligned with our highest good in this particular moment

Today I release a bunch of old, dead sticks. I put them in the compost pile. I let the sun and rain break them down so that their richness can return to the earth and nourish that which is ready to grow NOW!

6 thoughts on “Day 15: Belly in the Garden

  1. Dear One~Oh how good and oh how pleasant,it is for brothers and for sistersto garden as one! My peonies look like the red shoots coming forth from the dark brown seemingly life less soil of the earth,into the bright light, warmth, and moisture,that welcome them to grow and grow. But not sure what you have in your garden/flower bed? Isn’t is so fun to see what comes to life…. just like our thoughts… we are greening with life and spring is a great time to be aware of what is arising everywhere. I too have a Grand Canyon of negativity in my mind and one ofmy usual habits is to greet a negative thought with… what?!?! What are doing here and …. well I try to disown it. Then, I realize, oh hey I am just pushing away a negative thought that is arising.  Hmmmm maybe I’ll just let it arise, not identify with it,simply acknowledge “Negative thought arising. Breathe. Negative thought.  Breathe.Negative thought dissolving in sunlight/air/ethernet. ”  Sometimes it works. Sometimes I reason with it… negative thought arising… (Like I just wrote something on the sand on a beach.)Negative thought washed away by a wave, let go, not attaching to anything. Positive redirected thought focused on… might even change to a different sense gate… outside self usually… Lovely bird call. Smell in the air.Feeling of earth/dishwater/ or keyboard of computer under fingers, taste of coffee, etc. and appreciate a very now presence that is more neutral.  Sometimes I stay with the negative thought arising and just let it arise, stay with it and recognize it is an old thoughtthat does not serve me well, and stay with it and noticing that is is like a smoke screen and does just rise away/disappear. Or stay with the thought, not identify with it, let a curiosity arise about the thought, and let it go also. So grateful for your sharing, the pics, and for your friendship and love. May you be well and happy,May you be free from inner and outer harm,May you come to know freedom in this life,May you know that I love you and feel your love,Halima  From: Heartland Soul To: Sent: Saturday, March 28, 2015 8:22 PM Subject: [New post] Day 15: Belly in the Garden #yiv7259018207 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7259018207 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7259018207 a.yiv7259018207primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7259018207 a.yiv7259018207primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7259018207 a.yiv7259018207primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7259018207 a.yiv7259018207primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7259018207 | heartlandsoul posted: “It’s funny–I love plants and trees so much, and I identify so strongly with them as both friends and wisdom teachers, but despite my years in the greenhouse management program in high school, I am no good at getting them to grow. There is, however, one a” | |

    • O Halima! Thank you for your beautiful comment! And for these great visualizations for working with those negative thoughts. I love them! And yes, my housemate informed me that the Red Guy is indeed Peony. My mom’s peonies were more like bushes so I didn’t recognize it just poking up out of the ground like that! ❤ ❤ ❤

    • Hahah, never mind, I just got your new address in the mail! 😀 Thank you very much, lovely friend! I enjoyed reading two separate cards at once! (I haven’t gotten to listen to the music yet– I only just got home!)

  2. Dearest Gayan, More wonderful insights and images continue to flow through your heart and body. Love seeing your garden. We each do our part and clearing away the dead stuff is vital. You are vital. La la la la la la la, I am alive! . . . Could it be, the holy, blessed One. Hugs, Joan “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

    Joan McElroy Writing, editing, research 20 Oakleigh Ave. North Providence, RI 02911 401-231-5835 (home/office) 401-569-8312 (cell)

    • Thank you so much for the song, dear Joan! I do feel we each have our strengths and also those things that we are more willing to do than others. Luckily chores have been working out conveniently like that around here! 🙂 I’m learning to trust and follow those inclinations in big and small ways.

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