Sunday, June 02, 2013

Reflective Practitioner in the Garden of Life

Time flies.

I swear it was just March, with only a hint of spring in the air. In a blink of an eye - it's June. Where in the world did April and May go? We did have the most beautiful spring, days and days of glorious sun warming the earth, enabling the blooming trees and flowers to linger longer than usual. Unlike last year, when we had unseasonable warm temps in March and then a frost that took all the fruit. he harsh, unseasonably late frost and heavy rains didn't hit until the blooms were gone and the leaves had unfurled. All we lost were a few fledgling vegetables in the garden - all of our cucumbers, beans, zucchini, and basil, and many of our marigolds succumbed to the frost.

The day before the rains and frost hit, (and oblivious to the weather forecast) I was determined to get my planting done before the little plants toppled over in their temporary plastic containers. So I set forth with gloves and shovel to get them in the ground. Five long hours and a major backache. A day of determined planting in the rain, knees bit by chiggers, stand as a reminder that hard work and effort are not enough when it comes to gardening.

Gardening is probably 90% luck. Good or bad, it's mostly luck.

The luck of weather conditions in my case. Hopefully I can find more beans and cucumbers and basil. Someone gave me some zucchini, so I have that at least. And my broccoli, brussel sprouts and lettuce look great!

So here I am, with an unusually quiet afternoon. Home alone, a rare occurrence these days, just me and the dogs and my sweaty glass of iced tea. The dark chocolate was consumed in one quick bite, okay, three bites, one for each piece. Consumed before they melted in the humidity, if left to linger long.

Time flies by so fast that my eight days at CREDO II feel like a blur, like a fading dream, almost like it never happened. The thick moist air these days is reminiscent of the days in Mississippi. There the heavy air was balanced by cool nights and the sounds of birds lulling me to sleep. Here the air is fraught with threat - severe storms, high wind, rain, further potential to ruin my baby garden before the plants take hold and grow.

CREDO II was an amazing experience. I do feel as if that time lingers with me, and like any delightful dream, I yearn to put myself back in that place and time. Well, no not exactly. I don't really want to still be in Mississippi, away from my husband, dogs, son, and work. But, I do want to hold onto the feeling of peace and serenity that I experienced there.

Unlike my CREDO I notebook, which I never opened again afterward and have subsequently lost, I have at my side my CREDO II notebook. It is filled with notes and lists,quotes and meditations. I pull out the final pages and read them again. My CREDO Rule of Life - and the practices I will implement to live my rule of life. These pages remind me of the goals I set, of the hope I had, from CREDO. They are not lofty goals. They are just goals to help me live life more fully. Goals to help me weather the storms and come out stronger. Weather the storms and stay rooted in the earth. My goals are a reminder to  myself to practice: 1. Being, 2. Appreciate the use of Technology as a Spiritual Discipline, 3. Do Justice, and 4. embrace Gratitude. Along with each goal I have some thoughts on what these mean to me and how I will practice them.

Being - remember how to relax my body so I don't live in a perpetually defensive state. Walking, yoga, mediation, massage, are all practices that support this goal. Be attentive and mindful and aware of myself and the world around me. I don't want feel like I am racing so fast I miss life or I am so exhausted that every moment feels like slogging through thick mud.

Technology - I read a wonderful reflection by Renee Miller on technology as a spiritual discipline. At last someone who understands my commitment to Facebook and blogging. I have never fully understood people who give up blogging or Facebook as if they are distractions from life. For me they are one more way I engage and maintain a sense of well-being.

Justice - one of the exercises we did at CREDO was a tool to help us recognize our "core values." At the top of my list I ended up with Justice. I know God, my faith, my life, and all that I do, through the lens of justice. This is another way of saying: Love God, love self, love others. So, practice justice.

Gratitude - remember that all that I am and all that I have is a gift from God. Practice gratitude, give thanks.

In the month since I left that CREDO II experience I have worked, daily, at my goals and my practices.In many ways these goals are not new, I think they have been part of my life's work for a long time. The difference now is that I have written them down, named them as goals, defined ways I will live into these goals through daily practices. They are like seeds that have taken root in me and now I must water them, remove the weediness that would stymie growth, and tend to them as they grow strong and produce fruit.


Robin said...

Did you have specific questions or challenges or readings that helped you define your wonderful goals?

Robin said...

I just looked at the CREDO website. Wow.

Terri said...

yes, a week of reflections on questions like "who am I?" Who has God created me to be? What is my baptismal identity? Who am I called to be? What does God's heart yearn for me? How is the Holy SPirit restless in me right now? What is my call? What are the habits that sustain my response to the Spirit's presence? What are the habits that enable my response to God's call? How am I changing? Who am I becoming as a person? Who am I becoming as a priest? What new identity is seeking to be born? What is a rule of life that can help you on your journey to emotional well-being?

Plus three steps with more reflection questions that are intended to focus on on developing a rule of life and the practices that will support that rule of life. Questions like: How do I and how might I care for myself? How do I and how might I express my creativity (study, reading, the arts, music?...) How do I and how might I take time for rest, recreation, and Sabbath? How do I and how might I create or preserve balance of holy rhythm in my life?To which relationships in my life should I pay special attention? How do these insights support healthy and right relationships with myself and those I love? Reflect on these insights and identity two or three practices including frequency of action....

and so on....many questions that when worked through, reflected on and prayed with, led to some great insight and response.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

you sound centered, and beyond content... you sound joyous... you've waited a long time for that!

garden? oh yeah... maybe i should get on that asap! tomatoes, herbs, peppers...

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