It is really feeling springish out there, with the play back and forth of the soul-softening sunshine and eager, earnest rain showers. We planted some rhubarb across from the dishwashing window so it’s been measuring spring’s progress for me in its fuschia, candy-colored measuring stick stalk and the ever-opening green fists of leaves I mentioned a while back.
Seeing the plants return still amazes and bewilders me. When I notice the delicate fringe of the bleeding hearts and the generous broad lamb’s ear leaves, I am grateful that these community members are still with me! They came back!! I feel affection for my beloveds and vow to keep building this silent green society. But those buttercups? Blue bells? Dandelions? Blackberries, morning glory? Errant bamboo or wisteria? No, bad, my ego says, “No! You do not belong here. I am going to tear you out, now!”.
My gardening reveals the younger part of my soul. I still want things to be a certain way. I do respect the strategy of the underground network of tendrils many of these weeds use to perpetuate their own families. They are shameless in their manipulations, springing up amid their cousins who look so similar but who pass my test of who belongs and who shall be exiled. I rationalize my weeding by telling those takers over that they just don’t know how to share space with equanimity, so I can’t trust them and they all have to go.
I dream that I can control something. My delusion includes my opinions being truths, and I take it as failure or insult when my order becomes disheveled.
The part of my soul that is starting to grow up can laugh more and allow things to spring up where they will. I am taking ideas from Richard Rohr again. He talks about “the second half of life” being a time when “you can actually bless others in what they feel they must do…”, rather than wasting precious time in criticism or proselytizing. I just got a scam call, which I was able to disentangle with a few shrewd questions, and I got to apply this remedy to the caller, but I did call my bank to protect myself. The Buddhist path asks us to go further, to reach for compassion for folks who are constructing future struggles with their present choices.
Richard Rohr also encourages us to stretch ourselves toward becoming “soulful people”, who are slowly shedding the necessary ego skin of youth. He says “the ego…demand(s) a tit-for-tat universe, while the soul swims in a sea of abundance, grace and freedom…Soulful people temper our tantrums by their calm, lessen our urgency by their grace, exhibit a world of options and alternatives.”.
In his own practice, Rohr looks for opportunities to practice humility everyday, because he knows how wiley the ego will continue to be. It’s like a swirling, burrowing tendril of blackberry, from across the street, that tunnels through the dark until it can pop up in the back corner, masquerading as a raspberry.
I won’t surrender my little oasis of a yard to floral invaders, but I may reframe their presence as reminders of my own ego, popping up in every waking moment. The dandelions might become my everyday humility practice, or maybe I can just bless them in what they feel they must do!
OK folks, time to get my trowel, to get down on my knees and bow down to this ever-repeating cycle, seeking to find my footing in the slippery mud.