Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Hyacinth Smiles

https://www.tesselaar.net.au/uploads/images/product/medium/HYHVB01.jpgI took a hyacinth to my physical therapist yesterday, but when i walked in the door, there sat Doug with a walker in front of him. Doug, a fellow gardener, was not looking happy about the walker, so i gave him (his wife, actually) the vase with the forced hyacinth.

The physical therapist, who claims she is expert at killing plants, said she was happy to give "her" hyacinth to Doug, and Doug looked a lot happier to be talking about flowers.

Generosity begets generosity.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Worm Castings

At the Seed Celebration yesterday, i bought 3 bags of worm castings. To put it bluntly--worm poop, which looks like really rich soil. Perhaps we could call it worm cast-offs?

Many people use worm castings to fertilize their seedlings, but i'm putting mine directly into my houseplants.

The sustainability movement is built on the assumption that what goes around comes around. I call that karma.

Out in the garden, i want to use organic products because i can see it's a very short step from what goes into the ground nourishes what comes out of the ground--and goes into my mouth.

One woman's trash is another woman's treasure. Or in this case, one worm's trash is this woman's treasure.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Sunny Sunflowers

Today i went to a Seed Celebration and bought home-grown seeds. As you know, my seed inventory was recently decimated by mice, so i'm starting fresh. One vendor said she grew 20 acres of sunflowers last summer.

The sunflower lady said she and her husband just walked around in their sea of sunflowers, looking at the yellow petals against the blue, blue summer sky.

Can we show our sunny disposition? Even on a cloudy day? True happiness does not depend on outer conditions. True happiness might be as small as seeing a single sunflower.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Christmas Tree Outdoors

In January, I took the Christmas tree outdoors and ensconced it in a snowbank in the white garden at the front door. Instant landscaping! A snow-covered fir tree is so beautiful and so seasonal. It's fun to look out the window and see a fir tree suddenly there, or to drive in the driveway and notice a perfectly-shaped evergreen in the garden.

Many people would like to have instant meditation. I can't tell you how many students say, "But my mind isn't quiet."

Of course, it isn't. We meditate in order to train our minds. Our inner landscape won't instantly be quiet. A quiet-ish mind (for the mind is usually at least wisp-y) requires repetition of meditation.

Outdoor, the Christmas tree stands quietly in the snow.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The First Hyacinth Blooms

The first forced hyacinth is blooming--a deep magenta-purple one. It's a welcome sight on this snowy day with its 8 inches of fresh white powder.

Underneath the snow, bulbs are slumbering. Hyacinths, daffodils, crocus still sleep outdoors. But indoors, one hyacinth has awoken to sunlight.

Even though many people sleepwalk through life, we, as meditators, have the opportunity to wake up. Moment by moment. Wake up and savor this day, this flower, this life.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tiny Library on the Beach

Most Decembers, i send my annual book of writings to friends and family as a Christmas present. (Email me your snail mail address if you want your own copy--cheryl.wilfong@gmail.com)

My sweetie took the book on vacation to Aruba. These reflection books are perfect beach reading--a collection of essays, so you can start reading and stop anywhere.

Bill finished reading All My Relations and left it in a Tiny Library on the beach at Boca Catalina, where the snorkeling is good.

Passing the book on to all my relations whom i don't even know.

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Roots of Forcing Hyacinths

It's time to bring hyacinth bulbs up from the basement. By this time, they have a vase full of swirling white roots and an inch or two of green leaves sprouting. On a few, i can even see the buds of the hyacinth itself.

Although i collect forcing vases from thrift store, i really like carafes. They are large enough to show off the roots, which are fascinating all by themselves.

If we could see the roots of our actions, we might think twice before we speak or act. Knowing that we ourselves carry the historical trauma of our ancestors, how can we bear to send any of it downstream to the generations that succeed us?

I say "trauma" with a small "t," though many people have deep Trauma (with a capital T) from this very lifetime. I am talking about the ordinary trauma of daily lives. My mother was a child of the Great Depression and collected stuff in case the Depression returned tomorrow. By osmosis, i have "inherited" her pack rat tendencies.

The best way to clean up our act today is to commit to the 5 Precepts, which guide us to a life of integrity.

Today, i intend to
  1. do no harm to anyone,
  2. take nothing that is not freely offered,
  3. use my sexual/sensual energy wisely,
  4. speak truthfully & helpfully, and
  5. keep my mind clear.
The hyacinth roots look so white, and clean and pure.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Someone's Been Eating My Seeds

During meditation at 5:30 a.m., i hear the unpleasant sound of something chewing something underneath the sink. It's all i can do to restrain myself from jumping up off my cushion, grabbing a flashlight, and looking for the rodent. It sounds bigger than a mouse. The sounds start, stop, start again.

Last month, i complained that my pumpkins in the basement had been eaten. My sweetie set mousetraps. No luck. Now, all my seed packets have been shredded.

More mouse traps. Plus a hav-a-heart trap. And, finally, a rat trap. Still, no luck.

The imagination runs wild. (Doesn't it always?)
Aversion is rampant. (A rat? A squirrel? A hibernating chipmunk?)
All stemming from unpleasant stimuli:
a sound--unpleasant
which i then imagine to be "chewing"--unpleasant
More imagination: "bigger than a mouse"--unpleasant
Evidence: pumpkins with chewed holes--unpleasant
More evidence: seed packets chewed open--unpleasant
Stories: "How did that critter get into the house?"--unpleasant
Not knowing--unpleasant.

Someone's been eating my seeds. (Some of which were 20 years old!)
Guess i'll have to start afresh.
Open the seed catalog.
Ahhh. Pleasant.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Slightly Sweet

https://www.organicfacts.net/wp-content/uploads/yaconinfo.jpgAt the Farmers' Market, i bought a pound of yacón, sometimes called Peruvian ground apple. This potato-looking tuber is crisp like a jicama, but tastes ever so slightly sweet.

The mind training we cultivate in meditation is a crisp attention to the meditation object--sounds, breath, or touch (whatever interests you the most). As we relax into the object (instead of holding it tightly), we notice a slight sweetness. A tiny happiness, a little bit of joy.

Taking a crunchy bite of yacón makes me smile.

Friday, February 2, 2018


Two days ago, i was feeding carrot sticks to ostriches and camels at Philip's Animal Garden in Aruba. Today, a friend sends me a photo of a fox walking across her snowy backyard.

Change. A big change. From 80 degrees every day in Aruba to 20 degrees her at home in the North Country. It's all in constant flux.

Sometimes, i play a mental game with myself. Could i commit Aruba to memory? But which moment is Aruba? It's impossible to disentangle any one moment from the whole experience of Aruba.

My tropical vacation is gone. Gone. Memories linger, of course. My skin is tanned. Another friend tells me i look deeply rested.

Delicious change.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Ohana: No One is Left Behind or Forgotten by guest blogger Cherie Attix

Today's post comes from guest blogger Cherie Attix who lives on Maui.

In the Aloha State we have a word that is dear to us. The word is "Ohana." To quote from the Lilo and Stitch movie, "Ohana means Family. Family means no one is left behind or forgotten."
lilo and stitch.jpg new.jpg
Family is an important aspect of life in Hawaii. I remember being called Aunty in a grocery store for the first time from a child I didn't know . That sealed the deal for me, Hawaii would be my forever home. I always considered this to mean that every adult near a child had an unspoken responsibility to that child, and the children always showed respect for their elders.
Being blessed with ohana who is there for each other means everything. Near or far, ohana is always with us.