May 13, 2013

How Does My Garden Grow?

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Welcome to A Glitch in Time. If you are a returning visitor I say welcome back. I hope you stay awhile. If this is your first time stopping by, I hope you'll be back. I wish I could say just what kind of blog this is, but I am still not sure. What started out as an introduction to our new/old Home in Florida and a showcase for my crafting and gardening endeavors has gone in directions I did not anticipate. A broken wrist, surgery and other perhaps not so serendipitous occurrences have wreaked havoc with any vague plans I had.  I learned long ago to let Life have its own way though. Control is never more than the flimsiest of illusions at best, and a frightening delusion at worst. I know that I do not have any.  So, I will let this blog meander in its own direction and try to enjoy the journey.

We have had a good deal of rain recently― unusual for this early in spring in Florida. This is an area that has been beset by drought too often over the past several decades, with a water table that has been greatly overburdened by an ever increasing population. The rain is a great blessing. We who live here can breathe a little sigh of relief that the brush fire danger has dropped dramatically. And we are now surrounded by green not dependant on sprinklers and other forms of artificial irrigation. Here at the House, the pastures are lovely with tall, lush grasses and sprinkled with wildflowers. The level of the pond, alarmingly low after a long, dry winter, has risen a couple of feet in as many weeks. Our fish are very much happier.

The pond and island.
The pond with it's little island. Maybe someday we'll build a bridge.
Though I am a far piece from the garden of my daydreams or even what I had planned, progress has and is being made. Next year, I tell myself, and if Spirit wills it and I have the health and strength, a great deal more will be done by then. In the meanwhile, I shall at least have fresh tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, and hopefully cucumbers, squash and sweet potatoes also. And flowers. Life should be ever so much duller without the yearly delight I find in blooms and blossoms, in the heady scents of herbs and the delightful chaos of green shrubery and vines.

There is so much that needs done. At other times in my life I would be wringing my hands and essentially missing the beauty around me worrying about what I had not done rather than enjoying what I have. There is something about this Place though. This House and its environs evokes a sense of peace in me that I have felt only in one or two places in my life.

The garden house and yard.
The garden in progress.
I firmly believe that places, that physical locations, have their own unique energy signatures. They can induce all sorts of emotional, mental and even physical responses according to what sort of emanations are present. This is, of course, not a new idea. As long as people have observed the world around them, there has been the awareness or belief that places have power for good or ill, that lines of force (ley lines) connect certain points of power on the earth's surface, and that a resonance effect exists between physical life and the planet's own magnetic and electrical field. Traditional arts such as Feng Shui and Geomancy are based on precisely these beliefs and observations.

In my own experience, there have been instances where physical location colored perception to a huge degree. I have been in places where Time seemed to drag, to pass so slowly as to seem interminable, and others where it literally flew by. There have been locales that evoked  in  me sadness, anger or even euphoria. When you have an emotional response that has seemingly nothing to do with outward experience, it seems only practical to look at other factors. Mood and emotion, of course, can be influenced by myriad causes, but place is certainly one of them.

Years ago, when my Father was still living in this House, and I was working part time out here for him as caretaker of the yard and pastures, I observed that I experienced a deep sense of peace here. Though there was always a great deal of work to be done and often the heat was oppressive, the insects voracious and the weather downright capricious, the eight to twelve hours a week I spent working here were the most serene of my busy week. Time here was my only respite from an often overwhelmingly difficult life. Looking back, I could see that I had always felt a certain affinity to this Place, but I had never before looked at it from that perspective. That feeling is still here for me, and seems to effect a great number of other folks in nearly the same fashion. It is not that any problems go away here, or that life is easier or better. I can and have been pretty much as miserable an excuse for humanity here as I have been in other places. Particularly because I— not just I, I think, but much of my family— have been being challenged or tested by Spirit (God, First Cause, Supreme Being or Powers-that-Be. Spirit is usually my own preferred term.) at least since we made the move to Florida and maybe before. Still, there is what I can only describe as a deep and abiding Peacefulness or Tranquility that emanates from the Earth in a comparably small area here, and it is a wonderful thing.

Mama turkey and poults

So, I survey my little garden, and instead of kicking myself for not getting more done, I can smile and appreciate the beauty of the growing things around me, of the weathered barn and garden house, of the warped dock on the pond and the yet unfenced barrens that will become the permanent vegetable garden. We've come a long way. The weeds in the garden area were taller than my son and I when we went out and started clearing them during the winter. Broken pipes and faucets have been repaired and replaced. The raised bed I cleaned out to be an herb garden is providing temporary home to tomatoes and peppers. Baby turkeys are hatching out and following their mothers through the pasture. It is good.

Patio Rose Arbor

I have not had any realizations or epiphanies this past week or two. I have yet to actually pull out my yoga mat or make significant progress toward a healthier lifestyle, but it is still on my mind. I have got enough use of both hands again that I can (yay) type without difficulty, drive in my local area, and I have been able to use my camera without difficulty again, so I've been taking pictures. I am not anywhere near where I want to be personally or spiritually, but I'm not beating myself up about it or blaming either myself or anyone else. I am where I am right now, and the one sure thing I can count on in life is change. My Garden is growing alright just now. I hope yours is too.

May 2, 2013

Peace, Love & the Path to Freedom

Barn door
Remembering my Blessings! Beauty and inspiration surround me here.

Being at peace, finding contentment and following your bliss are all high spiritual ideals. They are wonderful states to contemplate. Just thinking in such terms evokes an emotional gestalt for me that I can only describe as "the warm fuzzies". But practically speaking, is it likely that such states can be achieved and maintained in this frantic, chaotic and fast paced world we inhabit? There are tools like yoga and meditation that can help. There is mindfulness, immersion in the present without the nagging voice of memory prattling in your ear or, either anticipation or anxiety about the future distracting you. Nice if you can manage it, but difficult in a world of deadlines and hectic schedules. Certainly, we all encounter people who are very "spiritual", who seemingly have it all together and just radiate their Love and Harmony to everyone they meet. Some of them are even genuine. More power to those. Spiritual attainment is hard work. You can't just meditate and think good thoughts. More often, this spiritual realization comes as the result of years of effort, of divesting oneself of the very human accoutrements of greed, desire, selfishness and pettiness, of being willing to look back over life, and both release and heal all that has occurred in the past. All of this requires that we both See ourselves for all that we are and have been, and that we find it in us to forgive ourselves also.

There are no magic shortcuts to Enlightenment, nor are there easy Paths to get there. There are plenty of folks out there who offer these very same though. It is true, however, that nothing truly worth having comes easily or cheaply. So, if this book or DVD, or that course and teacher promise to set you on a path to realization, what do you choose? Each of us is ultimately left to discern for ourselves what coin we're willing to spend, and indeed, whether we want this spiritual aspect of being enough to make the required sacrifices. The Secret masked by all of the religious and philosophical Mysteries throughout the ages, isn't really a secret at all in my view. To embark upon a Path of spiritual attainment requires your readiness for same, and your absolute and unwavering intent that it be so. That is all. However, until you have reached that point, it all remains a great Mystery indeed.

Seeking the LightNow, anyone reading this has no way of knowing whether I have a clue about what I am speaking of, or not. That is perfectly alright with me. I have nothing to gain by making any of these statements or suppositions. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been privileged to attain some rather profound spiritual states in my life in the past, and I should very much like to begin moving in those directions again. Not that I ever ceased to struggle in these very directions, mind you, but it has been a struggle. More of one than I have been up for in a very long while now. Life, with all of its insistent demands and cares, has kept me mired in what I can only call deep earth energies― not quite Hell, but all too often this world's equivalent. Perhaps it is Time though for me to Seek the Light again, and perhaps I am supposed to take along any who care to follow in this instance. Having achieved certain levels of what I suppose I'll call Enlightenment not just once, but on several different occasions, there are those who may rightly wonder why I did not maintain that exalted state, and why I do not now consider myself anywhere near it.

I know a lot― about the processes involved in pursuing a spiritual path, about what sacrifices need to be made and how to go about making them, and about maintaining an outlook that is congruent with spiritual attainment. But I no longer Know these things. In other words, I lack the knowingness or understanding that transforms information into Awareness and Transcendence. In every instance that I have reached one of these spiritual plateaus, I have been given a choice. The choice is whether to continue along the Path, to become free of the need for incarnation in the physical form, or to go back into the World, to be plunged once more into the mundane and from that vantage, assist others to move toward their own freedom from the mortal veil. Though I could often as not kick myself during the in between, there is no real choice. When your Heart and Eyes are wide open, Service to Spirit is the only possible action. Your Will, God, not mine...

And in between, you forget. You forget how to Be and you forget the reasons you are doing what you are. Awareness returns oh so slowly, and if you are not careful, you will be consumed by despair when you do begin to remember. Spirituality, like almost everything in life, is cyclical. There are mountains and valleys, and when you walk through the Valley of the Shadow, it is very difficult to recall the view from those lofty peaks you have since quitted. I have been in one of those valleys for a very long while now. I have wondered when it would be Time to begin the climb again, and sometimes felt hopeless that it ever should occur. But I have felt stirrings in my Heart of late, and the beginnings of Memories more substance than phantasm.

I have not been particularly happy or hopeful of late, but my broken wrist is healing and life is resuming some sort of normalcy. I have still got a ways to go before I can resume many of the activities I love best. Though nearly every passing day brings some improvement, I am sorely lacking in the flexibility and coordination of my dominant left hand. Still, I have begun to get out in the yard and garden again, though I remain woefully behind even in a year when sunny Florida was a bit late at welcoming spring. The aches and pains which beset my body after a few hours spent in outdoor occupation remind me also how limited my activity level has been for the past two months. A week or so ago, I awoke one morning early with the very clear sense that I need to make some fundamental changes in my lifestyle. Now this was not some sort of divine revelation, not something that I did not already know on certain levels, but it was Insistent and quite vivid. Learning to listen to ones' inner voice, or Higher Self if you like, is one of the most important facets of spiritual realization. I will say that I am quite accomplished at listening, though I also remain a master at avoidance when the mood is upon me or if I don't like what I Hear.

What sort of changes do I need to make? Mostly ones that a great many people in our culture also need. More exercise― in my case, other than my usual activities, that would be resuming a long interrupted practice of Yoga. And meditating. Both of these things, while not required, facilitate spiritual growth as well as nurturing body and mind. Nutritionally, I have fallen into some bad habits these past few years. I have pretty much let my body have its own way. Like many others, it likes diet sodas, sugar and potato chips. Luckily for me, it is also enamored of fruits, vegetables and not so fond of lots of refined grains, so it is not so dour a challenge to make changes as it might be. In the past I have at times been vegetarian, vegan and even tried a macrobiotic diet for a short while. Do I think that is a necessity for someone pursuing spiritual growth? Not really, but I will perhaps discuss more on the subject at some later time.

Have I yet made any of these lifestyle modifications? No, at least not in a very comprehensive fashion. A few stretches. I pulled my yoga mat out of the closet and searched out my DVDs on same. I'm watching what I eat, but so far it's just watching. Will I make these alterations? I think so. Good nutrition, the discipline of an exercise regimen and meditation are all superlative tools for transformation. And a Seeker after any sort of spiritual accomplishment needs all the help available. Finally, it needs to be the right Time. We Seek because a spark is ignited in our Heart that will not allow us to do otherwise. We follow the path because to do aught else is a pain we cannot contemplate. I feel that call as I have not in many weary years, and it may take me awhile to hit my stride, but I will follow. And if I can be of assistance to any others along that Way, it shall be my privilege and blessing to do so.

Once more, the direction this blog is taking has surprised me. I have no idea where any of this is going just now, but for myself, all I can do is follow the Path of Heart.

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