Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sweet Potato Happiness

Sweet Potato seedlings--sold bare-root in a bunch
In June, i bought sweet potato starts at our local farmstand. I just harvested my first crop of sweet potatoes! I feel thrilled to discover a new vegetable for the garden, and an easy one too.

Because i planted them too close together, my sweet potatoes are the size of carrots. Still, they taste delicious.

We keep the garden of our mind fresh, and even thrilling, by experimenting with new meditations. Currently, i'm teaching a class on Hardwiring Happiness. My new practice is to focus on a happy-making thing for 30 seconds. Like sweet potatoes.

Yes, sweet potatoes may be a mundane happiness, maybe only 3 on a scale of 10. Still i pay attention to that little happiness for as long as i can. A little smile comes to my lips. I breath that tiny ember of happiness throughout my body.

Sweet potatoes. New happiness.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Perennial Ageratum

Several years ago, my cousin Jeana in Indiana gave me some perennial ageratum from her garden. They are about a foot tall, taller than the annual variety. And they are blooming now.

I have a fall garden, and these ageratums are a welcome addition of color in my flowerbeds. They perfectly match a short aster in one of bed, so i've put them close together. A yellow mum from last year actually survived! Luckily it is growing near another clump of ageratum. Nice color combination!

Today i am visiting a new hospice client because her usual volunteer is away for a couple of weeks. The hospice coordinator tells me this 92-year-old woman is taking her failing body in stride. A couple of months ago, she was found on the floor where she'd been for 28 hours. When asked why she didn't use the Lifeline hanging around her neck, she said that she didn't want to bother anyone.

A person like this, who doesn't complain, who appears calm despite her failing body, this is what i call blooming in the autumn of life. An ageratum in disguise.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Houseplants Come Indoors

The houseplants have come indoors after a 5-month summer vacation. Wow! That is the longest summer vacation they've ever had.

For years, i brought my houseplants in on Labor Day weekend. Then... Shall we call it global warming? This is the first year the plants have stayed outdoors until October, and still there's no forecast of frost.

We can put our minds on vacation, any time we want. Simply pause the story you are telling yourself. The mind-vacation may not be long. Maybe half-a-second. Maybe a whole second. Notice it. Breathe into it. Before the mind launches into its next "and then...." Pause. Take a break from that stressful story. Notice you are breathing.

The houseplants are breathing indoors now. Ahhh. Fresh air!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Good Applesauce

Everyone agrees. It's a great apple year.  I have yellow apples on a "wild" tree that hasn't produced apples in 35 years. They're not pretty. (I'm not an orchardist.) But they do make good applesauce.

When i cleared the land where my house now stands, there were a handful of apple trees in the woods. I left two of them and managed to kill the others by pruning too severely. Their location is not ideal; they are in a partly shady spot. Bill pruned them into lollipops for many years before i asked a veteran pruner to attend to them. This year--apples!

Sometimes, i feel like my meditation practice doesn't produce much. I still am not adept at concentration practices. Then something happens. This year--a cancer diagnosis--and i see that my meditation practice has produced bushels of fruit.

I'm making applesauce this year, even from that other apple tree with the small apples that make pasty, blah applesauce. I'll use the blah applesauce for cooking. I'll use that blah diagnosis to support a delicious mind.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Great Blue Heron at the Fishpond

A great blue heron has been spending a lot of time at our little fishpond. Herons have a reputation for eating all the fish in fishponds, but so far we have some goldfish remaining. The frog population seems to have been decimated though.

Death comes to those we love. This is the way of nature.

When i raise the window shades at six in the morning, the movement scares the heron away. It goes to roost at the top of the weeping cherry for a couple of hours. It is a much more patient creature than i am.

When i look out the window at dusk, the heron flies away. Oh, it is persistent.

Patience and persistence are two of the qualities we need in meditation. We wait without "waiting." We effort without efforting.

The heron flies away.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Watering with Urine

The flowerpots on the front and back steps are looking fantastic. Their flowers are blooming and their vines are flowing beautifully. I suspect the lushness is due to watering the plants with urine every morning, as i mentioned in my July 3rd post.

Now that Bill is out of his leg brace, he's still finding it convenient to pee into a jar in the middle of the night. He's still training his proprioception of his right leg and foot. Every morning a pint of pee waters one flowerpot, so each one is "watered" about once every two weeks.

When we fertilize our meditation practice with daily sitting, our meditation becomes fuller. Even lush, with calm.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Eustress -- Too Much of a Good Thing

The garden club had its mum sale on Saturday, and i bought several. Usually the mums come just in time to decorate the bare front door or fill in on the back step, but this year, my flowerpots are filled to overflowing. The front step looks great without the mums.

Too much of a good thing--brimming flowerpots plus fresh, new mums--equals stress. This is eustress--the stress of the good.

Too much stresses us just as much (and maybe more?) than too little. I can't get out of bed in the morning because i can't decide what to wear. I have too many choices.

We think more is better, but think again.