Following is an excerpt from my book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden, which recently ran on OdeWire.com. I felt this selection was timely given the current conversation around the country. Enjoy.
Near as I can tell life on planet Earth is mostly about taking care. Taking care of our families. Taking care of our friends. Taking care of the work that we take responsibility for. Taking care of our homes, taking care of our possessions, our animals, our gardens, our plants, our cars, our water, our air, our land. Our churches, our communities, our cities, our roads, our poor, our sick, our wounded, our frail and elderly.
Taking care of ourselves. Taking care of ourselves physically. Taking care of ourselves mentally. Taking care of ourselves emotionally. And taking care of ourselves spiritually. Yep, I’d say that pretty much covers life on our planet for we human beings, and it certainly reflects my experience!
Now how we go about that is endless in its possibilities. As varied as the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the plants in the forest. And notice they are all taking care as well.
If I ask myself what is the central principle behind this endless and perpetual taking care, I’d have to say life itself. Life reaching towards life. Life ensuring life continues. That essentially is the drive behind it all, is it not? Each and every living thing on planet Earth is hardwired for doing well, for keeping the whole thing going, for perpetuating life. The lengths various species go to ensure their sticking around boggles the mind. As we are caught up in our own individual dramas and the illusions (and grandeurs) of our sense of separation, it is easy (and convenient) to forget what the essential driving force behind all this is. Truly there are beings walking planet Earth thinking it was about them. “What? It’s not about me?” Well, it is. You and over six billion other people and a several billion other species. It is humbling to contemplate when we take the time. And the distorted ways in which some of us choose to take care of ourselves and others are absolute abominations, there is no doubt. But often underneath the aberration one could find this slender thread of life’s longing at the core, hard as that might seem. What would our lives look like if we consciously brought the value of taking care, of nurturing to the fore? How would aligning ourselves with that single focus impact our lives and the lives of others? If we acknowledged fully our intrinsic programming to care and nurture for all that came within our view, our path, our neighborhood, our own small radar, what impact would that accumulative shift have on our larger reality? Jesus said to love one another. Was that not the same?
Love and earthly blessings,
Book News: It’s been an awesome month of discovery! Recently I found two wonderful reviews of Plant Whatever Brings You Joy I had not previously known about. (Thank you, Google.) The first was a review written and published in Telluride Watch by Daiva Chesonis, owner of Between the Covers bookstore in Telluride, Colorado. Here it is:
Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden (Estrella Catarina, 2010) by Kathryn Hall
This Northern California-based author called us to see if we’d like to carry her self-published book. As an independent bookstore, we try to support as many writers as possible across the spectrum of first-timer to been-there. We talked about why her book is unique amidst all the others. The garden as a metaphor is by no means a new literary concept but this is a fabulous packaging of that idea. This gardening blogger and book publicist has mashed up the sentiment of gardening into the reality of life (which means it gets shelved in several sections of the store). Thematic titles abound: Appreciate Small Returns, Move Gently Among the Bees, Reframe All Error as Learning, and Clean Up After a Storm. Fiercely Guard the Seedlings is a sweet paralleling about children. The format—52 lessons through 52 stories—lends itself to a once-a-week devotional. At three to five pages each, they’re easy to fit in as a quick grounding. But don’t just take our word for it; there’s a blurb from the cultural anthropologist who wrote The Second Half of Life [Ed.: Angeles Arrien] that heralds Plant Whatever Brings You Joy as an “invaluable resource for understanding the garden as a source of healing, growth, solace, joy, wisdom and inspiration.” This small book is proof again that what we all really need, we probably already have or have access to, whether that’s proper gardening tools or the therapy that pulling weeds, helping things bloom, and indigenous wisdom can mete out.
And, then, happily, I found this review, featuring Plant Whatever Brings You Joy as Book of the Month, this month, in the Master Gardening newsletter at UC California at Davis!
Posted on August 21st, 2012 by Kathryn
Filed under: Excerpts from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy