I first became aware of this concept when I read Michael J Roads book of the same title. In it he describes an approach to gardening which involves ‘being with’, rather than, ‘doing to’. The former is where we are mostly in our heads, not paying much too attention to what we are doing and more focussed on our minds chatter. The latter is where our awareness rests in our heart, intuiting how to carry out a given gardening task or even whether it needs carrying out at all.
This really hit home for me. I have a lot of mind chatter! Gardening for others invariably means I go into ‘doing’ mode as soon as I pick up my garden tools as I have a finite time to garden for any given client.
So in my own garden, with more time available, I started to ‘be with’, my plants. This is what I do. Firstly I really study the plant, noticing every detail, opening up all of my senses, including smelling it, touching it and tasting it, if it is edible. I then shut my eyes and drop into my heart space where the minds chatter cannot follow me. I invite the spirit of the plant to connect with me and then I just sit with it. It is important to have no expectation of what, if anything, will happen. Sometimes I see a colour or the spirit of the plant will appear clothed in the imagery taken from my subconscious ( so will be different for everyone).Sometimes the plant gives me a feeling/healing associated with that plants medicine e.g. feeling peaceful with lavender and now, with practise the plants talk to me. I also invite the elemental faery of the flower/ seed /fruit and commune with it, in the same way. I then ask the plant, what can I do for it. It might ask to be watered, mulched, pruned, moved or even to be left alone.
Colours in the garden always seem more vibrant when I have been communing in this way and I sense the garden as a whole. It feels part of me and I am part of it. It feels like coming home to myself.
Entering into communion with a plant like this, is a much more fulfilling way of gardening, where it becomes a form of meditation and afterwards I always feel more grounded, heart centred and have more enthusiasm for life’s more mundane chores.
So, if I were to define conscious gardening, it would be honouring our ‘being’ state in the process of tending our gardens and on a deeper level, opening up our senses to the spirit/fae of the plant and entering into conscious communion with it. This process of nurturing nature, nurtures our nature. You may not get much done using this approach but that’s the whole point! Gardening becomes a process of co – creation and opens us up to the multidimensional aspect of nature, as dragons, unicorns, gnomes ( to name just a few of natures beings of light), may step forward and connect with you – not to mention a fae ‘race’.* The messages I have received from these are included in my book.
* My next blog will be about the different types of faery I have come across.