Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Ruthless Gardener

Bell near St. Clare's statue in the San Francisco de Asis courtyard

As I continue to practice dropping out of my mind and into my body, several interesting things have been occurring.  One is that my normal state of intense study and research is becoming less normal.  I simply don't have the same intensity of thinking, which also means less writing.  I've been finding myself at a loss to even comment on all of your blogs.  Even this post is more like an eruption than a coherent thought process.

At the same time, my level of physical activity has accelerated quite a bit.  As I'm spending more time in my body than my head, really listening to it, I hear that it wants to move and work, for the sheer joy of it.  I have taken up running with a zest I didn't know was possible.  For most of my life, physical activity was something I thought about doing, felt like I should be doing, but didn't actually want to do.  Now I look forward to it, and find myself having to temper my enthusiasm so I don't OVERdo it.  I've also been working in the yard, gardening.  I planted pumpkins, and they sprouted!  My arms are sore today from pulling up weeds.  There is an incredible level of satisfaction in all of this.

But nothing stays the same.  I simply don't know from day to day what my perspective will be.  It's as though things are shaking loose within me, swirling about, uprooted.  I worked hard on trying to let go of a thing I wanted.  That didn't work.  So I started praying earnestly for that thing, something I'd never tried before.  I prayed specifically and articulately every day with all my heart.  Until I discovered I didn't really want what I was praying for.  What a paradox - when I tried to not want it I wanted it more, and when I gave myself over to wanting it, I stopped wanting it. 

Now the loud voice of wanting in my head is shrieking with rage because I've abandoned it and it doesn't have an anchor anymore.  It's desperately trying to seek one, and I'm just watching and listening.  Not judging, not giving in to its ludicrous demands, just seeing.  Just hearing.  Go ahead and rant and rave, I can't stop you anyway.  I will just wait here in the quiet you can't touch until you diminish, which is already happening and is in fact the reason you're being so obnoxious, trying to cling to life.

Nothing stays the same.  Everything shifts and sometimes that looks "wrong" or dangerous.  "To enjarre or not to enjarre" got pushed way into the background this week because I got very sick.  I won't go into the details, but I was showing exact symptoms of a pretty serious condition.  However, by the time the doctor looked at me, the symptoms were gone and my tests came back fine.  I'm convinced that I made myself sick by listening to the shrieking voice.  I let it take me over for a couple of days, and became unguarded enough that the tumult of emotion that accompanied that rotten thinking caused something like an oil spill in my body.

When I finally felt better physically, and could listen to the shrieking without being taken over by it, I was eager to go for a run.  It had been days since my enjarre encounter.  I waited until evening so there would be no crowds at the church, since I was still not quite ready to deal with that challenge. 

Nothing stays the same.  Have I mentioned how very much I love the little grove by the church?  Well, they cut down most of the trees.  They only left the ones around the perimeter, but essentially, the grove is no longer.  It's just an empty lot full of tree stumps.  They took down the tire swing my son and his friend strung up with an old garden hose; in fact the tree it was hanging from is gone.  I'm welling up with tears as I write this, as I did when I first saw it. 

Nothing stays the same, but everything outward is reflected inwardly with an eternal tint.  I think of the metaphor of pruning in John 15.  Some prunings are bigger than others.  Sometimes life is pruned so radically it's alarming, and doesn't fit my idea of how things "should" be.  Do I really ultimately know what "health" means?  Do I really know what is for the ultimate good of myself or the world?  

Oil spills, sickness, destruction of trees.  All ranting and raving is a wall of nothing against such things.  These things happen, and I see them all together.  I see in them meaning and connection that suggest a story I cannot fully tell.  I hear in them only the call to awaken, the thunder of tremendous bells. 


  1. I find it hard to comment here, polli, because it is beautiful and I would love to be able to sit somewhere with you, maybe on one of the stumps of those trees that have been cut, and talk with you.

    I resonate with what you wrote, even though I am in a different place, but I can recognize in my own life some of what you talk about.

    Yes, we are very much called to awaken. To awaken to a lot of things. In my case, I would say to awaken to the love within so that it can start flowing without...

    But there are so many more reasons to awaken :-)

    Thank you, polli, and blessings.

  2. Oh Claire, I wish I could sit with you too!

    I feel like awakening means awakening to EVERYTHING, sometimes all at once, and sometimes one thing at a time. And, in a way, it means seeing things without naming them, which is what my recent thread of experience is like.

    Thank you - I feel like you're standing next to me. Blessings back.

  3. Hi Polli. This is a moving post. I am so sorry about your grove of trees. It seems to me almost criminal to cut down trees. Your story reminds me of this.....

    Today I was on a walk. We entered the backyard of an artist who pointed out a tree in the neighbor's yard and said, "See that tree? It's over 1,000 years old, and that tree the second oldest bay tree in the all of California."

    I felt like I was in the presence of a holy being. A truly venerable presence. One of my walking companions said, "It looks like the old tree might be leaning towards the house. They should cut it down."

    I cannot tell you how angry and then sad I was when I heard to woman say that. My God, is our human species really so murderous? I managed to contain my rage and offer this idea, "Maybe, since the house is only 50 years old, they should move the house."

  4. This is a fantastic post. Such strength, even if it might not always seem like it from inside you. The last phrase was was really got to me: the thunder of tremendous bells.
    With everything happening at the moment, it seems to me that we are building to some make-or-break climax, some moment of collective human decision. I can't put it exactly because I don't know what it is, but that's what it feels like to me.

  5. There is something so life-affirming about this post, it's full of energy. The wanting/not wanting dichotomy gives me something to muse over on my run today. And, 'the thunder of tremendous bells' what an image!

    I'm so sorry about the grove.

  6. Dan - I love your response about moving the house instead of the tree. I wish I'd been there to hear you say it.

    I can't help but wonder how St. Francis would feel about the trees that have been cut down.

    Tess - I know what you mean; I sense that too.

    Eryl - Thank you.

  7. Change is the only thing we can ever count on. I am moved and in awe of your process, and the way you put your finger right on it every time you post here. You are a truth teller, you are masterful.

    Thank you.

  8. Your writing is so clear, filled with both raw emotion and reflection. Very moving. It resonates with me, as I once went through a dark time in which I had to give up a dream, really, of what life and love should be, and deal with a compromise that I decided was okay, good enough. and when I did, when I let go, lo and behold, I found what I had been searching for all along. Life changes and we must flow. warm thoughts for you from me.

  9. Reya - Wow, thank you for such high praise.

    DG - Your words are a great comfort to me, exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you.

  10. Polli - I'm in such a similar place as you describe re: more embodiment and fewer words. I, too, am not sure what else to say here, but wanted you to know I read thus beautiful, poignant post. xo

  11. This post is full of energy and delight, acceptance and wellness! It speaks to me of the awareness that ultimately WE are not in control - and that where and when and what we might have influence over or in, we might want to pay very special attention to. is ALL fleeting.

    I'm glad to hear of erupting - I find for myself that this is all to often the way it goes and the eruption to write seems so personal - sharing it isn't within the moment. The words seem only for myself.

    I am sad about the trees - I don't understand - I'm not meant to understand - Do they understand? Why? I suppose there is a greater understanding in everything and in all of this and I must give into that. I've had the oil spill in my thoughts daily - I've been praying about it - wondering what miracle God might have in store for the human race in light of these and many a travesty.

    The spill is especially in my thoughts as I watch gorgeous white pelicans in the marsh here. I observed one in flight crossing the inter-coastal. I prayed the endangered wildlife will find a way to survive this. I thought of how they had no indication danger was near and no preparation to seek a place of refuge. I am wondering still about all of this out of sync type of existence that man has conjured up for the earth. Help us Oh God, Help us.

    I'm thinking still - I've had to edit this comment many times because my thoughts are scurrying...I'm thinking more into this spilling of pollutant within ourselves and the spill we are seeing externally here on earth - I'm wondering about all of this. Thank you.

    I've thought maybe, we might all pray together intentionally about this catastrophe - in one accord...What do you think of this?

    I am glad you are well, I'm glad you are running!

  12. Lucy - Thank you. I feel a sense of kinship with you in the ways we often seem to parallel.

    Jennifer - Thank you for your reflections, and especially your prayer. I'm glad you made the suggestion about praying intentionally together - this will factor into my next post.

  13. Dear Pollinatrix,

    I'm so sorry your beautiful treefriends were cut down.

    This morning I sat up in bed and remembered a poem that I'll post on my blog.

    The felling of trees is like cutting out pieces of our hearts... for indeed, we are all connected.

  14. I love this word you've made up - treefriends. Yes. It is exactly like cutting out a piece of my heart, and what really strikes me is how it is an outer manifestation that parallels an inner process for me right now.



Related Posts with Thumbnails

Search This Blog