It occurs to me that we might learn a lesson from plants right now about settling in, even as we sit in this place of unknowing. I’ll share a story about our foray into gardening yesterday.
First, the context that is the background of everything: we do not know how many will suffer and die from this coronavirus.
For those of us who are especially vulnerable, it is unclear when we will be able to leave our homes safely.
Everything has changed and the unforeseeable, unknown future is unsettling.
Yesterday, our building of six units came together to plant an area in the front yard we share. The silver lining is that we never did this before and it was lovely, even with masks and gloves. I even learned that our new upstairs neighbor was a Master Gardener, like me!
Planting in the garden is a deep experience for me. I literally experience God in the garden: death and life, miracles beyond imagination, and life lessons among the birds and butterflies.
When you take a plant out of the pot it’s been accustomed to for some period of time and plant it in the ground, it goes into a kind of shock and trauma. The plant gets tousled around, its roots bruised a bit, and then it’s tamped down and watered. They can wilt a bit from it all. And then, most of them revive.
This morning, I went out to check up on our “new babies” in the garden.
To my delight, they had settled into their new home. If you are a gardener, you know what I mean.
The plants had recovered and you can see it distinctly. Underground, what happens is that the tiny ends of the roots recoup from the shock of planting, and send out tiny roots overnight.
The plant looks settled.
It occurred to me that we as humans can know this feeling of “settling in”.
If you are a meditator, you begin to feel settled as soon as you sit in the chair to begin a session. Ballet dancers (I remember this from when I was little) have “first position” that is a centering. Yoga practitioners have a similar way to ground themselves in the present moment.
Your body remembers.
Lurianic Kabbalah speaks about the healing of the world and ourselves (tikkun) that takes place gathering the scattered sparks of our souls.
This idea of “settling in” and “gathering in” can be learned – you develop the muscle memory of being right where you are. It is a spiritual practice, indeed.
What Might This Mean For Now?
This planting got me thinking about how we can emotionally and spiritually settle into this moment in time – knowing that we do not know what tomorrow will bring.
Settling-in is a way of calming. Just as the plants’ root system begins to accept the new place they are going to grow – how might we establish ourselves in this now – even with not knowing how long we will be here?
Can we develop some basic rituals that allow us to send out new, baby roots into the soil of now?
Might we grow in our acceptance of this now, knowing that we do not know the outcome, and practice letting go?
Is there a way we can acquiesce to what we cannot control and be settled in this experience?
Can we begin to cultivate an attitude of curiosity about how we might grow in this new space?
I would love to hear your thoughts.
For me, right now, I am sitting with this new insight, and opening myself to the possibility that this moment may teach many lessons – and perhaps I might blossom in new and unexpected ways.
Blessings to you on this journey –
PS – You can still join The Path To Self-Discovery Goes Through the Wilderness course – 4 sessions.
The next session is Monday, May 4. In it, we tackle how to navigate the wilderness we are in right now, with spiritual tools and learning.