This past Saturday, June 18, 2011, I hosted a surprise gardening and garden party for Zoë. Those who came to help celebrate her 57th birthday each brought a plant to go in our new front yard in an attempt to give her the front yard of her dreams this year. While most of our friends gave her plants or gift certificates with which to buy plants, a few of our friends gave us seeds. One of the things I realized in the process is that each plant and package of seeds came with growing instructions. As I thought about these instructions, I came to realize they were not just about caring for the plants, but also instructions for spiritual growth and evolution.
The first step was to plant your seeds. Nothing can grow if you do not plant it. We have to take some sort of action to call what we want to create or experience into being. In one of the creation stories in Genesis, God says “let there be _____” and there is _______. Native American spirituality also teaches the importance of speaking things into existence. If we do not plant the seeds of that which we are seeking to create within ourselves, or to experience in our lives, it cannot come to be.
However, once you plant your seeds you must water them properly. Some need daily watering, others need to be watered less frequently. However, most plants, even those in the desert, require some amount of water in order to grow. For us, the water is not necessarily physical water, but a water of intent. Once we have planted the seeds, we must pay attention to them in a loving and caring manner. We must water that which we seek to create with love, light, joy, and an appreciation for that which is to come.
Then we must patiently wait for the seedlings to break through the earth. Each plant requires a different amount of time before it becomes a seedling. We were given two different kinds of tomato plants for one of the containers on our front porch. One will begin producing tomatoes in 30 days. The other will take 90 days before it begins to produce tomatoes. Some of what we seek to create or experience in our lives will come sooner then others, however, if we water intently, they will come into fruition. The seedlings in our life may appear as manifestations of what we were seeking to create or experience. They may evolve so slowly within us that we might not even realize the transformation is occurring until there is this breakthrough moment. Sometimes, it might seem as if there is this sense of synchronicity as those with whom we are connected are all budding at the same time.
We must be intentional about maintaining the health of our garden. Once the seedlings have budded, then the work of maintaining them, nurturing them, and helping them to continue to grow and evolve begins. For us spiritually that means we must be mindful of what we are thinking, how we are feeling, and what we are doing. Are we focusing positive energies into our spiritual development? Are we continuing to water our soul? Fertilize our spirits? Add spiritual nutrients to keep ourselves growing and evolving. Is what we think, feel, and do positive and supporting us in our evolution or is it negative and leading us away from that which we sought to create in the first place.
Some of us are master gardeners and know what should be planted and where. Others need advice on what to plant. Over the years, I have been taught that every spiritual garden should have three rows of the following in it: peas, squash, lettuce, and turnips. I was taught that first one should plant three rows of peas: Patience, Positive thinking, and Persistence. Next, we should plant three rows of squash; Squash excuses. Squash blame. Squash criticism. Then, we should plant three rows of lettuce; Let us be responsible. Let us love. Let us be mindful. Finally, we should finish out our spiritual gardens with three rows of turnips; Turn up when needed. Turn up with a positive attitude. Turn up with confidence.
May you reap the harvest of your garden for years to come.