An excerpt from the book, Plant Whatever Brings You Joy

It happened that during a time my daughter and I were living in Amsterdam, the small community at Findhorn was garnering headlines in Scotland. Many readers might well be familiar with Peter and Eileen Caddy’s story. Peter, a Scottish businessman, and his wife, Eileen, found themselves making an unlikely move to Findhorn, north of Edinburgh, on the Moray Firth, where their inner guidance directed them to begin a garden.

The locals smirked behind their backs because the land was quite sandy and arid and salty and farmers were certain Peter was truly daft and delusional to begin to grow anything on such land. But Peter and Eileen were true to their inner directives and began to cultivate many varieties of vegetables and plants.

And an extraordinary thing happened. Vegetables and flowers grew beyond what anyone could expect, even on good land in the area. So much so that the Queen of England sent her botanical experts to find out what was occurring at Findhorn. An entire community grew out of that single impulse.

What was occurring at Findhorn began as an internal journey. Eileen and her friend Dorothy Maclean meditated daily for guidance. One of Eileen’s keen directives was that it is important to show respect for the plants with which we work. I found this fascinating and began to take this to heart.

Eileen counseled that we humbly ask for permission or at least advise a plant if we are to cut off its flowers or pull it up. In light of this, it became ever my practice to extend a grateful energy towards the plant from which I am about to harvest a flower or vegetable or fruit. The times I find myself in a hurry, perhaps just needing a flower here or there to freshen a faltering bouquet, and omitting this simple ritual of respect, I usually catch myself and stop and breathe and begin again. What a difference! The sheer act of extending a conscious gratitude towards the plants that provide me sustenance, medicinal support, and beauty improves the tenor of my own life tenfold. No, a thousandfold!

I do not take the plants for granted. I try diligently to hold them in reverence, as I hold all life in reverence. I still pull up weeds, kill bugs (and poisonous snakes) that may cross my path. I do. And I will. But in honoring the common lifeforce that governs us all, regardless of our seeming superiority or inferiority, I add to a body of information, to a lifestyle, to a religiosity that only enhances life on planet Earth for us all.

We are, indeed, all connected. The Bible says, “His eye is on the sparrow, so I know He’s watching me.” This implies that the Universe’s benevolence is extended to all the creatures of the Earth. It would be a travesty to believe that we are any more important in the scheme of things, even if we are different. We all have our place, our contributions, our strengths and weaknesses in the connected web of life, and we rely on each other, species to species, to exist.

Extending gratitude, respect, reverence and a gentle countenance towards that which supports us, no matter how seemingly small, is a worthy practice and holds the power to transform the quality of our lives and the days and nights of all who live among us.

Kathryn Hall is a popular gardening blogger and author of the book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy, in which she shares 52 life lessons honed from working in many gardens over the years, each illustrated by a story from her life, designed to spark the imagination -- and innate wisdom -- of the reader. In addition to being a passionate gardener, she is a devoted mother, a keen Nature observer and an animal lover. For more information, please visit plantwhateverbringsyoujoy.com.

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