Why Bother?

I was out in the garden yesterday morning (what a gorgeous fall day!) and as I was digging a hole to plant the fennel,

fennel

I found myself thinking, “Why do I bother to do all of this out here?” As I paused to give my back a break, I looked around at all we’ve accomplished this fall. I took in the sweet little plants that are starting to peek out of the soil and heard the cluck, cluck, cluck of the chickens next to me. A deep breath filled me…. Such a blessing to be part of the rhythm of life. My eyes move across the garden, taking in the incredible abundance and growth surrounding me.

baby romanesco broccoli

Turnip seedlings

So, why do I bother? I realize, yet again, that this sanctuary is not only a place of physical labor. It is also a place of inspiration and comfort.The food that I grow sustains me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined without experiencing it.

onions and squash

In the busyness of our lives, it is easy to become disconnected from the cycles of the seasons. The excessive amount of food in the grocery stores woos us into the feeling that we can have anything at anytime. The cost of this excess is hidden by colorful displays, bright lights and happy music.

When I get caught up in this frantic energy of modern life, I have the garden sanctuary to embrace me. Simply walking out

into the garden, smelling the humus of the soil, watching the chickens or the cats at play all bring me back to myself and what is important in my life. The cats are wonderful examples for me. They move around busily for short bursts of time and the stop and watch to see what is the next step. Putting my hands into the soil, so hard to resist, brings me deeper into myself and my inherent connection to what surrounds me – the bigger aspects of life.

Following the natural cycles of the seasons teaches us the true order of life. As people our lives mimic the garden’s rhythms even when busyness keeps us from seeing it happening. If you look back across the years of your life, you can see periods of growth just like a young plant, times of flourishing that bring a feeling of having bloomed in spring. In the fullness of our lives, there is a feeling of productivity and accomplishment – of bearing succulent summer fruit – juicy and ripe. We reap a harvest every time a goal comes to fruition or we reach the end of a chapter. In the autumn of life, there can be feelings of melancholy and letting go, just as a tree lets go of its leaves each year.

Perhaps you can remember a moment in life when everything was at a standstill, waiting for seeds to sprout – a new direction in life, growth. This is a dark time, a time of quiet and reflection, like winter. This winter-like experience has a purpose in our lives, just as it does in nature. Without these times of quiet dormancy, there would be no integration and rejuvenation. The spurts of growth that come following times of dormancy set the stage for the harvest that is reaped further on. And on and on it goes…

Here’s a recipe from my cookbook for you to enjoy the fall harvest.

Delicious Delicata Squash Barley Soup

2-3 cups delicata squash, peeled and cut in squares                            6 small-medium carrots, shredded

½ head green cabbage, chopped                                                                 ½ daikon radish, shredded

1 cup barley                                                                                                      2 stalks celery, chopped

handful of wakame seaweed                                                                        1 tsp. Dried orange peel

6-7 cups water

Place water in large soup pot and bring to a boil.  Add barley, turn down to simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare vegetables. Add vegetables after barley cooking time is done. Simmer another 20 minutes. Add orange peel. Turn off heat. Serve after five minutes.

 

 


Loved by Nature

The day is overcast and I find myself feeling a bit restless. This is “earthquake season” in California. That time of year when the weather begins to turn. The deep quiet can often be a sign of an earthquake on the way. It’s still dry from the baking heat of  Indian summer and the threat of destructive fires surrounds us in this dry land.

When I’m restless, and perhaps a bit melancholy, I find myself wandering around the garden. Just being there I find myself feeling better. More connected, more comfortable even with my odd mood. The chickens were in their nesting boxes and so there weren’t eggs yet to collect.  As I spent time over the weekend planting fall vegetables and flowers, I decided to sprinkle some alyssum seeds in a bed that could use some lightening and color.

alyssum

As I was collecting the soil to pour on top and complete my little project, I noticed the old stump that has been sitting next to the soil pile all summer long. My heart became light as I saw the message that nature had given me. Love. That’s all there is to it.

Heart stump

Whether you are feeling low or overly busy with life, there are many ways that nature will offer her gifts to you.

A few years back, when I was at my Flower Essence certification training in Nevada City, I had an epiphany! I realized that a wonderful way to improve my garden and the benefits for everyone who enjoys it was to plant more of the flowers that I use in my Flower Essence Therapy work with clients.

I already knew that I felt a burst of joy whenever I had Borage blooming in the garden. So, I decided to look around and see what else would do well in my yard. As a flower essence, Borage brings uplifting joy, courage and optimism.

Borage

I found quite a number of flowers blooming throughout the year that are useful for Flower Essence Therapy (for more information, go to my website www.SugiHealth.com). Nicotiana is a wonderful helper in the garden for getting rid of insect pests. As a flower essence remedy,  Nicotiana or Flowering Tobacco brings heart-centered peace as it gets rid of numbness and offers a deep connection with the Earth.

Chocolate Nicotiana

Echinacea is a well-known herb that is also used as a cut flower. Echinacea flower essence offers recovery from soul-wrenching traumas by restoring the soul’s true self-identity and dignity.

Echinacea

Love Lies Bleeding is an amaranth that is used in the garden as a cut flower and for it’s delicious leaves that serve as a green similar to chard. This flower offers a feeling of compassion for the trials of pain and suffering that we experience. Understanding our own pain gives us the ability for self-love and compassion for everyone.

Love Lies Bleeding

Some of the usual kitchen herbs that we grow in the garden are also used as beneficial flower essences. For example, Rosemary is helpful for bringing warmth into the physical experience, creating a stronger connection to the body. This is useful for people who are often forgetful, hypoglycemic or spacey.

Rosemary

Sage brings out the inner wisdom that has been received through life experiences, giving us meaning and purpose.

Sage

Nasturtiums are a great companion plant for the garden and a tasty addition to salads. These flowers bring us into a healthier balance when the intellectual forces are overused. This over-intellectualizing quality can be cold and disconnected from the emotions. Nasturtium flower essence gives warmth and vitality to this otherwise cold experience.

Nasturtiums

Another lovely cut flower is the Cosmos. Often found in a whimsical cottage garden, the Cosmos flower is just dancing with joy. Cosmos flower essence brings clarity of expression and ease of spoken communication.

Cosmos

Sunflowers

 

The sunflower is a valuable flower for any garden. It has edible seeds for us to enjoy and brightens everyone’s day. It’s beauty is unlike any other flower. The bees and birds love it equally. In flower essence therapy, the Sunflower brings balance to those with low  or inflated self-esteem – often due to an unhealthy relationship with the masculine. A great healer for men and women alike.

 

 

Sweet Peas are the darlings of the garden. Also a great cut flower it will give you more blossoms the more you cut it. In the flower essence world, the Sweet Pea helps us to develop a deep commitment to community, to find the place in the world that is “home”.

Lavendar Sweet Peas

Bleeding Heart is a gorgeous plant that loves the shade and will make a lovely addition to any garden. It’s beauty shines forth as a flower essence that offers open-heartedness and the ability to love unconditionally. Bleeding heart helps to heal heartache and grief.

Bleeding Heart

Calendula, like Cosmos, brings help to spoken communication. By bringing warmth to our words, Calendula helps to heal relationships, ridding us of argumentative, cutting qualities.

Calendula

The Iris is a classic beauty in the garden. As a flower essence, Iris inspires us, creatively infusing our souls with vitality and color.

Iris

Some new flowers that I will be planting that are from the flower essence repertoire are: Tansy, Self- Heal, Snapdragon, Sticky Monkeyflower, Shasta Daisy, Agrimony, Centaury, Evening Primrose, Chamomile, Goldenrod, Blackberry and others. Hopefully, they will bloom beautifully so I can capture their images to share with you in the summer.