Coexisting with my garden

Some of life’s lessons do not come in obvious statements. There are things to learn about living and peace by just waiting patiently. Here is the story of how I found my philosophy of life from watering my garden.

I was about 31 years old when I came to live in my current home. I was a very broken woman. I had run away from the mainstream life a few years ago to look at the alternative lifestyle. I thought I would find happiness in that. So far that hadn’t happened. I had had many adventures: good and bad ones. At the end of them I was broke and had developed a severe social anxiety. I was also deeply disappointed with life and people.

As the final resort I had to ask my parents to let me live in the second home. All of us thought then that my stay was a temporary situation. I could not live with my parents as they triggered me too much emotionally. I was terrified of living alone but there was not other option that seemed any less terrifying.

I moved into the newly whitewashed house . It had four bedrooms, many toilets, a beautiful stairway and an open drawing room. On the outside the house came with a cemented car park and a small backyard. The sides of the house had small walkways which had some shrubs planted next to the walls. I was blind to most of the beauty and deeply satisfied at the silence inside in the house. I had only a little furniture and most the house was to remain empty. It was an old house and a lot of the woodwork was faulty. The walls inside were stained with the marks of the earlier tenant. For example, there were a lot of open nail holes.

The whitewash of the outside of the the house had not been kind to the plants. A lot of the shrubs and a couple of trees were completely shorn of their branches. It wasn’t even a clean shearing. The broken stumps were ripped and their barks were hanging over pitifully. It had been a few months since the last tenant had left so there had been no one watering the garden since that time. It had been the cool season so far; the garden had not completely charred. Still, the lawn was just a large brown patch. The garden was clearly in a very sorry state.

I didn’t want to meet any people. I didn’t have much money; just a little to pay for my food and some assorted living expenses. I could not afford to employ anyone to maintain the large house I was in or for the repair work that was needed. Even if I did have money left over, I could not stand to be around the workers due to my anxiety. I employed a maid to come in twice a week to mop the floor. That is unusual in India where labour is cheap. Due to all this I completely inherited responsibility of the garden.

My outings from my room consisted of a walk down the staircase into the garden. I started to water the garden with a hose , it was an activity I really came to enjoy. Refreshing, simple and I felt like I was contributing to the planet in a good way. Yes, watering is as large and as political as that for me. After about 10 days of daily watering the garden started to wake up and show me some signs of life.

I was deeply thrilled to spot up a little sprout of green grass amongst all the brown. From the pot which had some buried tubers, up sprouted the first few green leaves of the rain lily. I had found an activity that relaxed my anxiety. The space around me started to slowly open up.

I started to blog about alternative health, flower remedies and reiki. I saw a few clients. Soon enough, this also got too overwhelming for me emotionally. I kept going back to caring for the garden. In it I found friends who asked little of me but water. The life inside of the seed was big enough to be independent of my attention. Since to me every plant was precious , I did not judge any life that came up as “weed”. I let them grow. And grow they did.

Today it is about five years since I came to live here. The garden has about 80 species of plants, much of that was seeded by natural processes. I have a beautiful expensive palm that I consider my prize. It just appeared one day in my garden. I live in a tropical country , that is one reason for the success of the garden. Another is the self sustaining nature of ecosystems if left unharmed. I am not fully out of my anxiety issues yet. However, I live with two dogs and a house mate now. I have come to believe that also my body and mind have an innate intelligence. If I let myself be, then I am nourishing myself to my highest good.

I found a little nest of a Sunbird at my door a few weeks ago. I am sending a picture of the nest it made out of seeds and twigs.


My philosophy : If I let nature be, Nature responds with magic.

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