Monday, March 3, 2014

the story we live

Any passion you follow leads you to research, read, talk with others who do what you do. For years, my favorite snooping has been done on gardening blogs. Being a visual person, I particularly love photos, especially photos of garden designs, seeing how plants look next to other plants and in relation to the site.

I have to admit, however, I have often been guilty of withholding from view what I perceive as the flaws in my own design. I have been guilty of taking only closeups of the best of my garden, trying to frame photos so that the ugly bits don't show. Does anybody else do that?

Of course, another part of the editing is to preserve some privacy and to protect my privacy.

Even that hasn't worked all that well for me in the past. A few years ago I walked out into the garden to encounter a man lurking around in it looking for chanterelles. Yes, really.

The previous year, I had posted about the flush of chanterelles that had appeared in the yard and there he was, hoping to find the chanterelles! I kid you not! To say I found it weird and a little frightening is an understatement.

How much do gardeners worry about theft from their gardens? I suspect it is related to the culture of the places in which they garden as well as the story they tell themselves about themselves and how other people relate to them.

There is a new story appearing amongst many gardeners I know, one of sharing. Some deliberately open up their front yards, fences are coming down, even the curb-side strip between the sidewalk and roadway is being planted with fruits and vegetables and flowers. Passersby are encouraged to pick something. Community gardens are planted with fruit and signs are put up that encourage people to pick and share and leave some for others.

Because for most of us this is a new idea, I am told that people do not pick from most of these gardens easily, at least not in daylight. Even though they have permission!

The return of a sharing economy into a space almost completely monopolized by one of legal, moral and spiritual rents and official currencies is refreshing.

So, in the interest of changing the story I have lived by up 'till now, I plan to share with you the ugly bits too. By widening the focus of my photos, I will perhaps betray my location and sacrifice some privacy. But I hope in the process I will be acting on my desire to be more open-hearted and generous, less guarded and fearful.

My hope is that my attempts will encourage others to go ahead and try. After all, gardening isn't about perfection, it's about participating in the joy of growing things. If you do discover where I live, respect my privacy and that of the other tenants of the house which I share. Let's talk and discover ways in which we can learn to know and trust each other, how we can share the joy.

One of the most profound things I have read recently is the idea that the next buddha is going to be the sangha, as I mentioned in a previous post.

After a several hundred years of a masculine story and a suppression of the feminine, I think we have come to a tipping point, a crisis, and a turning, hopefully a rebalancing. It is certainly a time of chaos, fear, challenge and destruction. It is also a time of new beginnings. Older folks like me, who even though we have been searching for a kinder and more meaningful paradigm to guide our lives, will naturally find it difficult to even imagine a new way of being. Simply finding the old story unsatisfying is not enough: we need to imagine a new story, a new mythology for our lives. And we need to live it.

The other day, I heard an interesting interpretation of the old story, the one that suppressed the feminine, that expresses its dysfunction through consumerism-gone-mad, a distortion of matter, mater, mother and earth. The feminine didn't go away. It became twisted into the illness that is destroying the earth. The spiritual or psychic myth that we live, unaware, has become a festering sore that has finally broken open.

I see the signs of the new story that may be coming in the younger people. As I have heard intimations of what the new story might be, I hear the dissonance in the story that old people still tell themselves and I realize that many will never be able to learn the new story that we so desperately need. Of course, the old white men who think they must own everything are still talking. But underneath all that, there are millions of other voices and they are saying something completely different!

For more on that, I recommend two books: "The Empathic Civilization" by Jeremy Rifkin, and "The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible" by Charles Eisenstein.

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