Thursday, May 25, 2017

Eggshell Water

89-year-old Margot is watering her hibiscus with eggshell water, and it has the biggest, most beautiful blooms ever. "I have an egg for breakfast every morning," she says, "so collecting the eggshells is easy."

Eggshell water? Put 3 eggshells in a glass, and smoosh to smithereens. Cover with 2 cups of boiling water and let it sit all day. This leaches the calcium and other minerals out of the eggshells and into the water.

Water your houseplants the following morning, and let me know what your results are. You can even drink the (taste-free) eggshell water.

The reason we take calcium is that ever so slowly, minerals are leaching out of our bodies. Without even noticing, our bones are becoming porous. Earth elements are invisibly returning to earth, even while we think we are our same old selves. Ha!

We can replenish ourselves--or our plants--with eggshell water or some other form of calcium. It's a temporary fix that works for years, hopefully decades. But eventually, our own bodies will be broken eggshells headed for the compost pile.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Big Purple Balls

 My grandmother had flower beds all the way around the brick ranch house that she and my grandfather moved into in 1955. Every Saturday, while mother went grocery shopping, we kids stayed at Nonnie's, and she gave us a tour around her flower bed. Very boring for this teenager, but I now take pleasure in what pleased her. One of her unusual specimens was 3 alliums that bloomed with a big purple ball on a three-foot-tall bare stalk.
My purple allium balls are blooming this week—very eye-catching as they stand naked above everything else that's going on in the flower bed.

The tall things, the big things get our attention in life because they are so remarkable and give us so much pleasure.

Can we continue to pay attention as the remarkable thing fades and becomes ugly? Can we notice that all things are impermanent? My grandmother's garden—long gone.
Allium comes, and allium goes. And so do we.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Blame Game

My morning meditation group is reading a book on forgiveness. Yesterday we read a chapter on The Blame Game, which i think i would like to memorize. Then yesterday afternoon, as i was teaching meditation at the county jail, one of my students talked about her relationship with another woman inmate, and how they were just playing a hurtful blame game with each other.

The blame game starts with you-statements. This is a way of throwing a hot potato at someone. Usually, the other person will throw it right back at you with another you-statement, and then the two of you are off to the races.

It takes extreme mindfulness to hold on to the hot potato and notice that it is hot and burning and that you feel angry or frustrated and that you want to say whatever is on the tip of your tongue. Stop. Stop and notice all those pains. Count to 10. Give yourself a moment to cool down. Try to drop the hot potato. Keep trying to let go of that hot-hot-hot potato.

Of course your feelings hurt. That is your pain. Notice that "they" did not cause your pain. You are causing your own pain by holding on to a painful idea. They condemned you. So what?

It's time for you to make a change. A change of habit. Probably a change in relationship. The pain will cease. But only when you stop resisting it.

The Blame Game is a game you are sure to lose. So stop playing it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Trillium Gets Me Out of Bed

Trillium got me out of bed this morning. I was lying in my warm bed, listening to the rain, various thoughts sprinkling in my mind, when i noticed that the rain had stopped.  Trillium! I thought. It's time to transplant trillium. I sprang out of bed, rushed into my clothes, and sprinted outdoors.

I set an intention years ago to landscape the edges of my woodsy driveway with wildflowers. There are still a few bare spots, one of which i designated in my mind for trillium. As someone recently said to me, "Trillium likes to grow on the edges."

Among all the give-away plants I have been trucking around this past week are a couple of broken trillium. Only a true gardener could see the promise of a bare broken green stem, so those orphans remained with me.

As i planted the 2 trillium, the rain began in earnest again, so i hurried back indoors. Happy. Happy to have fulfilled that long ago intention. That bubbling joy lasted for 20 minutes.

We set an intention to walk our spiritual path, but sometimes we don't get around to it. We follow various other rabbit trails in life. Then, one day, we remember our intention, and we head in that direction. Yes! Our heart sings. Yes!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Allegheny Pachysandra

I'm ripping apart one flower bed that is covered with 2 ground covers.  The lamium is easy to rip out and throw in the compost. But now i am face to face with Allegheny pachysandra. I have it in another bed, where it has slowly colonized, but it has suburbanized this shady bed.

I thought that Allegheny pachysandra would be good because it is native to the North American continent. But it's still pachysandra!

Now is the time to remember my long-term goal: once i know a wildflower can survive, i can dare to transplant the colony into the woods. I have a long-term construction project with the Allegheny pachysandra. There's enough that I can landscape most of my woodland trails with it.

Now is the time to remember my long-term spiritual goal. Landscape my life with kindness, mindfulness, and patience.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

How Stress Crumbles

The Garden Club had its plant sale today. I took 2 truckloads of perennials, and brought home one truckload. Now what am i going to do with them?

The easy answer would be throw them in the compost, but i can't quite bring myself to do that. I could re-plant some of them in different places, and cross my fingers for rain--which is supposed to be coming in a couple of days.

This week and next week are the time to transplant before early summer arrives, and it gets too hot to transplant. So i've got my work cut out for me. I believe that's called stress.

I balance that stress with the joy of contributing one truckload of plants to the sales for the Garden Club. And if i focus on the joy, the stress starts crumbling. Happy, happy, happy.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Shoveling Manure

Last week, it was "too cold" to garden (according to some), and this week, it is too hot--96 degrees. I really intended to be out in the garden from 6 a.m. to about 10 and then retire for the day, but i didn't have my logistics quite right. At 7:30 this morning, i picked up a truckload of manure. Since i needed the truck to carry a load of plants to the Perennial Swappers meeting at 6 p.m., i needed to unload the truck in the heat of the day.

We have our plans, and then they (or we) go astray. Life doesn't go the way we expect it will. Life doesn't go the way we want it to.

Can i accept life just as it is? Without complaint? Shoveling hot, steaming manure in the mid-day sun?

I could shovel the manure of the mind along with the manure in the truck. Or I could just shovel manure.