May 2017 | GARDENING

How does the magic of being in the garden work? What does the Earth do that restores us to ourselves? If it’s a state of being, how do we carry it into our busy lives?

My friend, Carina, told me her gardening story while we were travelling together in a car.

I look at the garden from my bedroom window. I keep putting off getting into the garden. It seems so overwhelming with five foot high weeds.

Last Saturday, my friend, Manuel, came over. We looked at the garden and shook our heads, “Where do we start?” Three hours later with two pairs of hands, backs, and hearts, we’d prepared three quarters of the soil and put in seven tomato plants.

Earlier in the winter I’d dumped chicken manure on the beds. Tilling the soil and mixing in the manure, I was delighted when these long worms started popping out. Gusanos, Manuel explained. After pulling the weeds we discovered young kale, planted in the fall and now thriving.

Being in the garden helps me down-shift. During the week, most of the time, I’m running around in my head. I don’ take time to look. In the garden, I’m moving slow. I’m plodding along with no music or distractions. I’m noticing the bees swarming, the plants, the breeze―there’s a lot happening in this space. I like smelling the roots, leaves, as well as flowers. Time disappears in this ordinary little pleasure. It helps me to drop into being in my body, resonate with life’s flow. And that’s extraordinary!


Here is the poem published in the current edition of Sufi Journal. It’s one of 5 poems along with juicy articles and interviews on Spiritual Activism, Roots of Yoga, Quaker Silence, and more.

The French Garden’s Garden


When you see the pink blossoms unfurl,

their five petals cupped around light,

yellow stamens, soft leaves budding

from new growth, your heart can’t

help but open

                       to the notes tumbling

through the air― mistletoe wedded

to a branch puts forth its spiraling green,

whiffs of heady scent rise from

wisteria gone wild in riotous glory

up and down every oak, bay, fir and plum

lining the lane, each upright

petal shimmering like a fire―

then you have touched heaven and all

you touch is now made whole.


     Raphael Block

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