Recently, I was lucky enough to acquire an allotment and for me it was like winning the lottery.
It’s therapeutic with a capital T especially for a recovering alkie like me.
These last couple of nights I’ve been turning over the soil and it’s like an hour in the gym: a great workout in the fresh air with the sound of the birds. But most of all what I’ve discovered is community.
Everyone who I have met at the allotment is friendly and quick to offer a hand with both physical help and also great advice from those who have been up here for a few years as to what I should and shouldn’t do.
Isn’t it wonderful that I’m able to listen to their advice and to take on new ideas about what to plant and when to plant it.
Can I be the change that I wish to see. Of course I can and the time to begin is now. In this precious moment, which has never happened before and will never happen again.
I’m reminded as I weed the soil of how much I need to weed out the unhealthy side of my thinking and cultivate the healthy side.
I remember my Zen teacher telling me one time that if I was growing a lettuce and the little lettuce was limp and dying, would I blame the lettuce or would I look at its environment. Would I check if the soil is moist enough and filled with nutrients? What about the position of the lettuce. Is there enough light, enough space?
This weekend on #GardenersCorner - is Portaferry the new Darjeeling? @davidgmaxwell visits Ireland's only #tea plantation. A visit to Ards Allotments as the growing gets going and @KLaitenberger on the 'immortality plant'. https://t.co/U1kjed7uRu pic.twitter.com/YacbVlE5tk— BBC Radio Ulster (@bbcradioulster) May 28, 2021
The lettuce does not exist on its own. It needs the sun the moon and the stars. It needs the rain and the wind Without the elements there would be no lettuce.
I’m mindful that we too are like the lettuce. We don’t exist on our own. We need each other. We need company, community and friendship. We need healthy environments that enable us to grow, to blossom and to shine.
We need to reach out to others and not suffer in silence. Our nature is to be nurtured.
The big question is. 'What am I doing with this precious life?' Am I waiting for it to begin, for someone to fire the starting pistol for me to go.
THIS PRECIOUS MOMENT
Can I be the change that I wish to see? Of course I can and the time to begin is now. In this precious moment, which has never happened before and will never happen again.
Let’s plant the seeds of kindness. Let's smile the smile of gratitude and most of all let’s reach out the hand of friendship to others.
I remember back in 1996 in New York, being greeted by a wonderful zen social activist called Bernie Glassman. On meeting him, he reached out his hand of friendship and said, "Hi, Frank, how can we help each other?" I can still sense the warmth of his hand on mine and his kind words of mutuality, How can we help each other?
Now there’s a thought that we can practice as we grow together.