“It’s crowded today,” I say to the woman at the front desk.
“Oh, that’s because two busloads of school kids just arrived. I hope they won’t bother you.”
They might, they might not. So far, their vitality is contagious and I feel grateful that there is an opportunity for them to enjoy beauty, to be loud and a little wild. In the gardens they are even closer to their essential natures, not having to contain or modify what is alive inside. Their movement is natural— their gates unique, fluid and authentic.
I’ve learned over the last few weeks to let what happens in the garden do so as it will. The ongoing construction related to an expansion project, the weather, the bugs, etc. I don’t care anymore. I’m tired of being disappointed and exhausted by my own expectations and unrelenting standards. I find comfort in this mini-retreat experience each week, in getting a break from the daily grind and also from my own conditioned nature.
“To experience life directly, we need to receive the world, just as it is, in the empty, unobstructed field of fundamental consciousness.” – Judith Blackstone
When I am mindful of my five senses, let go of judgment and the need to change circumstances beyond my control, I come closer to my essential nature. When I focus on my “being” self rather than my “doing” self, I know I belong just as I am.
In those brief moments of being free from my own fixations and willfulness, gratitude washes over my heart. I can count on the effortless safety net of simply existing.
The more I “take the one seat in the center of life” as Jack Kornfield says, and the more I have faced hurts and healed from grief and disappointment, the more certain I become that I can always count on myself to handle life. The one seat of simply existing is always there and from that place I can tolerate witnessing pain; my own and the larger grief of our world.
In the best moments, I bring this trust to my daily life– my work, my relationships, my struggles and joys.
The fern garden still sleeps
loam damp, barely sunrise–
red rock is square,
round stones are black.
The guide points it out as an example
of a garden designed to blend
into the natural landscape.
I’m trying so hard
to describe my falling-in-to-
but my words
are only shadows behind my pen
created by diffuse light waking ferns.
-Renee Podunovich, 2015