Spiritual Renewal in Uncertain Times… Right in our own Backyards

I am so glad we are starting a New Year!

2017 was a spiritually tough and awakening year for me. When I allowed myself to sit with the societal challenges we were experiencing, it became one of great reflection and paradigm shifts. I’ve known for many years the principle of Yin-Yang… For everything in life, there is an opposite… Day has night… Life-death… Hot-cold… Happy-sad… Love-hate… We couldn’t experience one without the other.

What I wasn’t ready for was the overwhelming energy of hateful, bigoted, misogynistic and racist attitudes being thrown right into my face. The hard thing for me is the realization that if I want to live in a caring and loving world, I would have to embrace the self-centered and hateful world that was rearing its ugly head. In other words, if I wanted to love more, I would have to live among the haters. Dang that Yin-Yang thing…

But what would that look like? I was one of the chosen few… Male and White. The new American order was being set up just for me. The problem was I wanted to live in a loving world and in order to embrace the new American ideal of White Supremacy, I would have to believe and act on my hatred. So I chose another path — a path that said, “YES” I am male and white and I don’t believe in what the haters are saying. I needed to stand up for the other side — the balance — because we won’t have a loving world if we don’t make it happen.

The way I saw it, if I didn’t do so, who would? My lifelong best friend, a 50% Native American? A colleague of mine whose dad immigrated from the Kurdistan in the NE area of Iraq? A peer and friend who has lived in the US for 40 years but is afraid of being deported because he swam here as a teenager to build a better life? How about my best college friend who left his family in Iraq knowing that with the current regime, he was likely to never see his family again?

No, if the white boys were raising their ugly heads then this white boy was going to have to respond. And it hasn’t been pretty. And I am sure at times I looked like a real asshole. And at times it was very draining — interrupting my concentration and interfering with my sleep.

Fortunately for me, I get to work in the garden every day. And I get to hang out with wonderful people that love to garden too.

There is something about the garden and those that like to garden that is so settling and embracing. And I started to realize that here was a place to balance the turmoil I felt in the world (that yin-yang thing once again). And as I looked around, others I met in the garden were finding it a place of refuge from the outside world as well. I had always known the healing benefits of spending time in Nature but now those same benefits were being revealed to me right in my customers’ backyards.

How could it not? Nature is one of the most amazing gifts we have been given. Always willing to give of Herself and never asking for anything in return. You want crude oil? Take it. Trees? Take them. Animals to eat? They are there for you too. Always giving and never asking for anything in return.

But an amazing thing happens when you sit with Nature and ask how you can give back? Can I give you a plant that will give nectar to a neighborhood bee? Can I improve the health of your soils so your trees are happy? Can I supply find shelter, food and water for all the visiting critters? Nature responds with an embrace of assurance that there are bigger things in this life than the petty bickering among people.

And all things seem to come into balance. And the people seem to come into balance. And the life of the garden takes on a greater significance and I am whole.

2017 was a tough year, and a spiritually enlightening year. And my customers’ backyards have taken on a greater meaning. And I will be forever changed.

Here’s to a wonderful 2018 right in your own backyard…

2 Responses to “Spiritual Renewal in Uncertain Times… Right in our own Backyards

  • Bill, your New Year’s letter was very beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it. Here’s hoping the dropping of your pebble in the water will continue to send ripples throughout the year. And beyond. Happy New Year! —. Mallow

  • Bill, very thoughtful message. I couldn’t agree more with your comments. As an “older white man” myself, one who has had to work for everything he (and his family) ever received, I can only thank a higher power than myself for all the blessings I’ve received for being a part of this great experiment that’s the United States. How fortunate we all are. . .so why all the unhappiness, whining and nasty behavior. We ALL need to get back to “The Garden” and enjoy the miracle (and it is a miracle) that’s life.

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