lessons learned: preparing the space

Yesterday at the grocery store, I was having a bit of trouble trying to talk with the person checking me out.  “Oh,” she noted, “as I get older, I have problems multitasking too.”  We laughed, and I responded that the more I grew into my yoga and contemplation practices, the less I found myself being able to or even desiring the ability of multitask.  “It is tiring, and I’d rather be intentional about what it is I’m doing as I do it,” I noted.

As my good friend would say, “That was an HS moment.”  Clearly, the Holy Spirit had something to impart to me in that moment, and I took stock of the words that tumbled from my lips.

It is true.  I do find that more I delve into this contemplative life, the less I want or need to do all at once, and the more I strive to be present with what I am engaged in each moment.  I may work more slowly, garden more slowly, and even parent more slowly, but the intention and quality aren’t lost amidst a frantic state of ball juggling and water treading.

This morning as I turned to my time of writing, I came across this post.  It is one worth meditating on again.  ~cameron

This morning as I sat down to write, nothing came to mind.  Well, let me reframe that–a lot of words and thoughts competed for my attention, but none that were meant for this blog.  I sat in my chair and closed my eyes.  As I breathed in deeply, I realized that I’d not had enough of Quiet and Mindfulness this morning to clear my soul.

After many deep breaths, the chatter in my head seemed to subside.  It felt so soothing, I decided to “just be” in the moment then the next and the next.

That’s when it came to me.

Our thoughts are like the new seedlings we plant out in our gardens.  Before we move them out into the big wide world, we have the option of preparing the space–clearing away weeds that will compete for nutrients or allowing them to grow and potentially choke out our new plants.

the beet seedlings

Quiet and Mindfulness offer us the opportunity to prepare the space–in our hearts, in our minds, and in our spirits–to allow good and healthy things to bloom, to bring life and bounty to fruition.

May we all find the time to invite Quiet and Mindfulness into our day so that we may reap the benefits of what they have to offer.

Lenten reflection: bringing the gardens to light

In spite of a busy weekend, I managed to put aside a couple of hours on the warm Saturday afternoon and started cleaning out flower beds.  As I surveyed my scratched up arms and legs this morning, this blog post came to mind from last year.  As I read it, I was also struck by the cycle of life and how, even though a year has passed, I am still relying on the Universe’s alignment of the weather and my (nondriving) teenager’s  schedule!  enjoy~cameron

Saturday, I spent my first Spring afternoon doing nothing but tending to the gardens.  After months of working inside the house on many projects that needed my attention, the weather and my (nondriving) teenage daughter’s schedule aligned so that I had 4 hours free to do as I pleased.


If you know anything about gardening, you understand that the first part of the season is less not about planting and harvesting and more about clearing and cleaning.  Beds need to be uncovered from piles of leaves, stray vines must be trimmed back, and dead plants are clipped to make room for new growth.

new hydrangea

By dinner time on Saturday, my body was full of scrapes and scratches and tuckered out.

That evening,however, I enjoyed sitting up on my front porch and surveying all that had been accomplished by my hand.  What a delight~I could feel it way down into the depths of my spirit.

And Sunday morning, I could feel it way down into the depths of my body.  Argh~

At the spiritual retreat last weekend, I was reminded that our souls are like gardens.  We tend to them, we water them, and we expectantly wait for Spring sun to shine down and bring Light into the world.

And yet, gardens also require work.  Hard work, sometimes.  Whether we are wrestling with the thorny wild rose or hoeing in the compost, there are tasks that we’d rather not do–they’re not fun, they leave us tired, and they seemingly don’t contribute to the beauty of the garden.

When we stand back, however, and look at the bigger picture of the full day’s work, we can regain perspective.  We may be spent and have a few tender scratches here and there, but our work is not in vain.  It uncovers new growth and exposes it to light so that the garden is prepared for a new season.

My prayer for us as we near the Lenten Holy Week is that our reflections on our spiritual “hard work” will open our spirits up to opportunities for growth and new life.

a milestone to celebrate

Last year, I wrote this post on this date and reread it this morning as a reminder for my soul.  Five years post surgery in the world of cancer or illness is something to be celebrated with much joy.  I am also embracing this milestone with much reverence and gratitude as I have known many who have not made it to five or who continue to struggle with disease.  ~cameron

This date holds a special anniversary for me–it is the day four-years-ago that I had surgery which unexpectedly also removed cancer from my body–a miracle of sorts.  In the last few years, I intentionally chose to walk (and even skip!) down some new paths on my journey, and here are a few things I’ve learned.

1.  It is never to late or too early to live out your dreams and passions.  This little farm has been my inspiration for this life lesson, and I do not regret the day I said, “To heck with the grass, I’m going all garden!”

2.  You are never too old or too young to ask for help.  It is amazing how free you feel when you surrender to the fact that you can’t do it all.  And hey, why would you want to?  It doesn’t leave you with any time to play, garden, or laugh.

3.  Being outside everyday is critical to our wellbeing.  There is nothing more healing than feeling warm sun or cool breeze on your skin or standing still long enough to observe a ladybug travel across a leaf.  Nothing makes me feel the magic of childhood wonder than experiencing a sprouted seed or woven nest.

4.  Important life lessons come from trying new things.  Forget the fear of failure and making mistakes.  Goodness, how boring would life be if we mastered everything around us.  Stretch yourself, think outside the box.  (And remember, you don’t have to tell anyone about it so what’s the harm?!)

5.  Live simply.  I work on this one every day.  It’s not a goal to be attained but a way of life I want to embody.

6.  Take time to “just be.”  Most of you know, this is my mantra.  There is nothing “slack” about taking care of yourself or taking a life “time out.”  In fact, it is probably one of the hardest things you may accomplish each day.  Mindfulness and contemplation create peaceful souls.

7.  Grace is available to each of us.  We all live in God’s garden, and God tends to each of us as needed.  It is more than having a second chance or a do-over; it is about a way of life, knowing that we are being nurtured to be the best we can be.

And so today, I will celebrate life.  I will plant seeds in the ground.  I will sing loudly to my favorite music (to my teen’s dismay).  I will run with my dogs, kiss my child on the forehead, put my laugh lines to good use, and create something just for me.  I will love and be loved.  And I will give thanks and say a prayer for the journey that brought me to this day.