The great guru in my life in recent years has been by yard. No ordinary yard, I live in foothills east of San Diego, abutting on true wasteland between here and Mexico, where scrub brush, poison oak and rattlesnakes would scare away most intrepid gardener. This is why I refer to working in my yard, rather than working in my garden. This yard of mine is 4 of toughest acres in this neck of woods and I'm proud to say I wrestle it all on my own.
In what I am pleased to call these my "battles against nature", I have been reaching higher levels of understanding about Laws of Nature. There is nothing you know better than what you are fighting.
As a spiritual teacher, I know that every thing is in our lives to learn with and from. I would like to share some of my experiences with you in what I hope are colorful and dramatic illustrations from real life experiences with Yard Guru.
1. Red Geraniums Teach Me Lesson of True Happiness In my years of casting about for flowers that will grow in this floral combat zone, I had many hopes and dreams. I was envisioning an English garden with a little drift into Monet. I’m a romantic. I wanted cut flowers for my great hall and wildflowers to greet my eyes as I looked over dusty and barren hillside. I thought of William Randolph Hearst planting wild flowers on hills wherever his eye could see at Hearst Castle. Who wouldn’t do that, I thought, if they could afford it.
I live near best nursery for miles around. I got plants there. I ordered plants from Internet. I drove to anyplace anyone recommended. I tried everything and very few things grew. Nothing I had in mind seemed to like it out here.
There was one exception. The geraniums flourished. As a matter of fact, red geraniums had been here when I moved in. I just didn't acknowledge them. The geraniums are deep red and I don't like red. But … geraniums like it here and so finally I have accepted them and committed to them. I have welcomed them, thinned them, pruned them, fertilized them and planted cuttings from them that are now thriving all over yard. I receive many compliments on my red geraniums. What I have learned is that sometimes in life, in fact most often in life, things happen while you are making other plans. The key to true happiness, as all ancient wisdom knows, is to choose what has chosen you.
2. The Butterfly Bush Teaches Me about Laws of Attraction I grew up in Midwest and I had nostalgic memories of rich black earth filled with earthworms, thick, lush grass and brilliant Monarch butterflies.
I have cactus and honeybee swarms instead. After I got ground cleared and bee’s nest removed from my kitchen wall (they thought it was part of their tree), I started looking for butterflies. Every once in awhile I would see a small white butterfly but that was all.
I heard in passing that butterflies are attracted to certain types of plants. Sorry, but this was news to me. At nursery I asked “Do you have something called a Butterfly Bush?” It worked like a charm. Actually I got two bushes and pretty soon after that, a little drove of white butterflies arrived.
What a mathematical and predictable universe this is! If I want to attract butterflies into my yard, I find out what butterflies like (not what I think they should like but what they are known without a shadow of a doubt to like) and put it there. The butterflies come. Easy. One plus one equals two.
Let’s build out on this principle. Many women I read for want a husband. But they don’t bother to find out what kind of husband-attracting things they should put out in yard. They want hot passionate nights, courtly romance, extravagant spending allowances and trips to exotic places. Passion dies, I say. What about cooking dinner? What will you offer him in exchange for these things you want? Heads shake. They get very impatient when I say these things. They don't realize I am trying to teach them about Butterfly Bush.
3. The Morning Glories that Wouldn’t Go against their Own Natures. I didn't have much success with my morning glories, though I have seen them covering 50 feet of wall different places around town. Everyone at nursery said same thing: "You never have trouble with morning glories. (shrug) They're just a glorified weed, you know."
I discovered what problem was. I had been insisting on putting them in places where they would have to trail rather than climb. Morning glories want to climb and if they can't climb they die.
The morning glories reminded me that you have to let someone or something be true to its own nature. This is principle: don't use a fork to pound nails and don't ask someone for something they can’t readily give.
4. Being Whole It amazes most of my friends and sometimes I will admit it irks me, that I choose to do all my yard work myself but my Yard Guru has gotten quite a claim on me by now.
Instead of separating my life into “this” and “the gym”, moving my body, sweating, and “working out” are integrated into my life in a seamless way. I think this is what integrity is all about. All of me does all of these things. I am not compartmentalized. I am not two different people.
The added benefit is that I’m in very good shape for 58 years old. When I get grouchy, I remind myself that some people my age are not so lucky as to be able to do this kind of hard work.
5. The Underground River -- Use it or Lose It We have a well out here and there is always threat of drought in Southern California. For many years I have sweated out last two months of dry season, wondering if my well would run dry as some of them out here do.
A couple of years ago my daughter married a young man from Morocco who is a Sufi, those wonderfully centered mystical people who are so easy for someone in New Age to relate to. When September came, I began my propaganda about conserving water. My son-in-law looked in well and said, “It’s a river, running under ground. You won’t run out of water but if you don’t use it you have lost it.”
I was quite shocked to hear this. It reminded me of River of Life and I made a resolution to use every moment of my life and not miss a minute! Like this underground river, time does not stand still either.