Day 15: Belly in the Garden

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!