The sun is warm, the air is cool and everything in my yard is green and growing. Thomas Moore says, “When soul is present, nature is alive” and nowhere is that more apparent than in the setting of a garden. This is my sanctuary, the place I return to time and again when the world has been too much on my mind.
It has been a month of intense activity starting with my annual pilgrimage to the Florida Creativity Weekend for a much-needed dose of joy juice. This year I discovered a richer appreciation of how to use art as a catalyst for embracing our diversity. I see myself as a visual witness to life’s drama, with all of its warmth and wildness, and it’s always inspiring to meet fellow explorers filled with inspired, creative genius.
I’ve also moved through a new encounter with Easter and the unexpected resurrection of a friend into a new life beyond this mortal reality. I’ve guided numerous kindred spirits on “a Path to Peace” retreat, meditated, chanted and prayed with my spiritual community week after week and listened, deeply, to Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders and teachers so that I can continue to be the change I want to see in the world. And when all is said and done, I return home to my two furry boys (who are having a lovely feline bromance) and fall in love with my natural paradise all over again.
It is said that one is nearer to God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else, and it is in these special moments of unscheduled time alone with my flowering friends that I feel most at peace. I have found gardening to be a golden opportunity to literally give my faith feet … and hands.
As I work on simple plots and pots I do just what my t-shirt, “Queen of the Garden: Sower of Seeds and Puller of Weeds” indicates. I sow seeds of hope, faith, oneness, and well-rooted new beginnings. I pull up weeds of despair, sorrow, disappointment, and feelings of not-being-enough. Erasing all the limiting ideas of age, race, religion, culture, economic status, and education, I joyously create a circle where soul is welcomed and cultivated in whatever form shows up.
Sometimes I sing, raising my voice to the sky. Other times there is a quiet awe and reverence, a holy hush that falls over me. Hands in dirt can feel the essential life elements pulsating powerfully in the deep stillness. And, if I listen carefully, I can hear the voices of our ancestors, our spiritual archetypes, calling and guiding all of us home.
The personal transformations that take place are incredibly inspiring. Hearts and minds are swept clean with each rhythmic stroke of the rake. Leaves are scooped up along with dreams and visions. Clarity comes with the straightening of the seed rows. The “committee meetings in my head” are handled while walking the grounds, and the best brainstorming sessions come from a need to weed. Sermons arise from stones, and the first sign of new growth springing forth can evoke a powerful “Hallelujah!”
The sun is now setting on this beautiful day and I am filled with gratitude for the planting and flourishing of peace seeds in my mind and in my garden. My boys are meowing for dinner and some personal attention. I affirm “Only peace prevails in my life” as I put my tools away, and I rest in the awareness that all is, indeed, well.
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Through her ministry, “Doorway Into The Infinite”, Rev. Maria holds the vision for the transformation of the consciousness of planet earth. She is a spiritual change agent committed to… educating people in the process of healing… empowering the world one creative thought at a time… and experiencing peace in our lifetime. Her articles, essays, and meditations have been published in various magazines. She has self-published numerous books and manuals, and released two recordings of guided meditations. She’s created a variety of classes, workshops, and spiritual performance pieces, where she expresses her profound interest in spirituality and peace. For more information, she can be reached at her website: www.be-the-change.com or at her e-mail: RevMariaS@aol.com
Photos by Rev. Maria Shamaya Clemente