My thoughts today while transplanting seedlings.

Early Spring  is my favorite time of year. It is time to create anew my garden.  Each year I usually change “a little here and change a little there” and in some cases redo a whole strip or corner.  For the last six to nine months, I have been working out plans in my mind, and on paper for the next big change that I have planned. Then there are the plans that I have tried to make happen… and how to put a little fertilizer on those as well.   Like my seedlings,  I try to not give up on my plans; at least until I change my mind.

Today’s chore was to transplant the new little seedlings from the miniature greenhouse tray and into paper cups to stretch their roots and grow a little sturdier.  I also have them under a grow light to hopefully prevent them from getting stringy.

I tend to “zen” while doing mindless chores.  I started thinking about how amazing those seedlings are.  For the most part, they are very resilient.  A dirt clod can plop on them and they survive; and pop back up.   When you accidentally water them with the measureable equivalent of a tidal wave; still they bounce back.   For many years I have read the words of wisdom from all over the world.  Immediately I thought of some words from the Tao te Ching –

When people are born they are gentle and soft.

At death they are hard and stiff.

When plants are alive they are soft and delicate.

When they die, they wither and dry up.

Therefore the hard and stiff are followers of death.

The gentle and soft are the followers of life.

Thus, if you are aggressive and stiff, you won’t win.

When a tree is hard enough, it is cut.

Therefore, the hard are big are lesser,

The gentle and soft are greater.

When you read this, don’t just think of being flexible in the body; which is great, but in your mind as well.  When you fail to have a flexible mind, life will get to you more, and blow you over.  You will lose your balance and direction and disconnect you from your source.

I also hit on a thought, of a Biblical nature.   Jesus advised a young rich man that “it was easier for a rich man  to go through the “eye of the needle” than to obtain the kingdom of heaven.   Current Historical and Biblical thought says that the “eye of the needle” is actually a gate (very small gate) in Jerusalem.  This would then take some flexibility.  But then in another place in the New Testament Jesus also says, ” Do ye not know the Kingdom of Heaven is within.”   If I sort of combine these two verses, then an interpretation could be that it takes some mental flexibility to truly know yourself and achieve a “heaven-like peace of mind.   We must be willing to go with the flow and then come back to our center and find our balance.  We must be willing to take all that life will throw at us… and fight our way back to stand upright with our roots firmly fixed, absorbing those spiritual nutrients that come from the soil we have planted ourselves in.

I will not try to fool anyone into thinking that I am always zen-like and peaceful. Nor will I try to convince you that I have achieved such a grounded-ness, that I epitomize these thoughts.   Today, however, I will remind us all to not hold too tightly to our black and white thoughts, that this is how life “must” be, for us to be happy.  If we will let ourselves, we can be happy with many different situations and with many different “possible story lines” in our lives.  Our biggest challenge is fear.  Fear is what brings hate.  Fear is what freezes us; body, mind and spirit. Fear makes us brittle.  Fear is what makes us shrink from change.

Over time I have decided that the opposite of fear is love, not hate.  Hate is the result of fear.  Love is open and inviting.  Love is flexible and kind.  Love embraces and relaxes into the changes in our lives, like water lily in the flow of a stream.

I could continue all day with metaphors (love them) to help myself wrap my mind around these concepts.     But my plants are calling.  There are more seeds yet to be planted.   And more lessons to learn.