I love to swim laps in the pool, so now I do my meditation while swimming laps. I find that the quietness of being in the water and the methodical rhythm of my breathing just naturally induces a meditative calmness for me. I usually like to swim the front crawl to one end followed by […]
Sometimes in the morning I like to wander through my vegetable garden in my pajamas to start my day with a smile. Yesterday I was wandering through the veggies in my fleece pajamas and wool socks because it was really chilly and I decided to “just pick the rest of the cayenne peppers and tomatoes”. I ended up being outside in my pajamas for the next 8 hours winterizing all of my vegetable gardens and flower gardens and preparing the lawn for winter. Big surprise. I don’t do moderation very well.
I have been working all summer on mulching my yard so that I won’t have to use a gas mower anymore. I am keeping the grass in my backyard because I can use my eco-friendly push mower back there, so the extensive boulevards on my corner lot have been my focus. Yesterday I was planning to mulch 1 of the 2 side boulevards with my mom. I figured that in an effort to practice a little moderation in my life, doing half of the job was more realistic than a marathon session of mulching. When my mom arrived, she asked why we didn’t just do the whole thing in one day and be done with it, so after a little convincing me, we decided to do the entire thing.
Since my usual compost site where I get free mulch is closed on Thursdays, I found another place in Minneapolis where we could get enough free mulch to get the job done. Between the two of us, we could haul about 400 gallons (2 cubic yards) of mulch in our cars. So we drove out to the site and found the cleanest, most beautiful pile of mulch I have ever seen. Then again, my appreciative eyes have had lots of experience with identifying good mulch and it is one of those things that quickens my heartbeat a little as I imagine the beauty I can create with such a simple recycled product.
I had a hard time not feeling overwhelmed at the beginning from the scope of our project, but then I realized that I wasn’t practicing mindfulness. So I committed myself to not being irritable despite the hot weather and being loving towards my willing and patient mother. That is exactly when I started enjoying myself. Despite working in 80-90 degree weather with high humidity, we worked all day in the direct sun. My neighbor Sally joined us right in the middle of the project when we started losing motivation and one of my patients stopped by to deliver some flowers from her garden for me. Sally was telling me that long before meditation became popular, she went into her own little world while gardening and it has always been her meditation. This is what I love about gardening!
We saw many neighbors throughout the day and enjoyed a lot of cameraderie. We took many breaks to drink cool water and sit in the shade, but by the end of the day, we were both overheated and dehydrated. It took us a total of 11 hours to haul the 1200 gallons (6 cubic yards) of mulch and lay it down on top of newspapers. A special thank you to all my neighbors who donated their newspapers and encouragement on this project. I’m so thankful to live in such a supportive neighborhood and to have a really energetic and loving mother. I’m looking forward to this additional way in which I can make the world a more beautiful place.
I woke up today feeling very optimistic about the mulching project I had planned. My goal this summer is to put mulch down on all of my boulevards, so I don’t have to mow anymore. This is a huge job because I live on a corner lot, but I’m up for the challenge. So I spent 6 hours putting down 400 gallons of mulch, which is 2 cubic yards. I put down 5 to 6 layers of newspaper and quickly run to get the hose to spray it down so the wind doesn’t take it away (no easy feat with today’s weather). Then I put mulch on it and lay some more newspapers. The thing I love about this project is that I automatically practice mindfulness and forget about all my worries. Thoughts on food, money, business, relationships… it all just goes away and it’s me and my hands working to make the world a more beautiful place.
I did end up running out of mulch when I was 3/4 of the way done, so I decided to get another load from the compost site. Before leaving, I dug out my hacksaw and cut a 20 foot branch that had fallen in Thursday’s storm into 2 pieces so I could fit it in my little Civic. Then I pruned my apple tree – I know this isn’t the right season for pruning, but the branches are so close to the ground it’s very difficult to mow the backyard. I shoved all those branches into my car and went to get another load of mulch. While I was there, I was commending myself for lifting the 18 gallon buckets of mulch like an old pro. I’ve gotten really strong doing these projects and I’m really proud of myself, since I wasn’t sure I had the endurance when I first started. Now I can lift the heavy buckets with little effort.
Sometimes I like to wander around my gardens at night in the dark before going to bed. Tonight I felt I needed the soothing hush of my flowers to help me fall asleep, so I practiced mindfulness while wandering around my flower beds and appreciating each and every bloom. This is one of my favorite quieting practices before going to sleep.
I just got in from planting the wildflowers that my Uncle Dicky brought me from Oulu, Wisconsin today. Yes, I know it’s 10 pm and yes, I know I’m covered in dirt and mosquito bites. That goes with the territory when you’re planting in the dark. The story goes like this…
I went to bed last night at 11 feeling quite exhausted from a joyful memorial day weekend and a lot of mulch hauling and didn’t wake up until noon. Around 4 pm, I went to Somerset to meet Uncle Dicky and pick up the wild lupines and sedum he brought me. The wildflowers needed to be put in the ground today since they traveled quite a journey in the trunk of his car, but after getting the flowers I didn’t have to come home before going to Brasa to celebrate mother’s day and my mom’s birthday with my family. So when I got home from dinner at 8:30 pm, I started planting and was really enjoying the quiet summer night while practicing mindfulness. Until the mosquitos came out a little after 9. Then I was just digging up the rock hard ground as fast as I could in between swatting at my arms and legs with mud-covered hands. So this is how I came to be covered in mud and dirt, yet smiling the hugest smile of summer so far. I believe life is made for the great stories and usually those come from a little bit of joy mixed with a little bit of suffering. May your summer be filled with as many great stories as mine will be.
I’ve spent a few days hauling 500 gallons (2.5 cubic yards) of free mulch from the compost site. My goal is to get rid of all the grass in my front yard because it is so full of dandelions that I have to use a gas mower. My backyard has beautiful grass that I can mow with my push mower that relies on my own qi to operate, so I don’t mind it. Along with being eco-friendly, the push mower is great because it is quiet and I can practice mindfulness while methodically pushing it around the yard.
I’ve been putting down newspaper in the front yard and then covering it with mulch. I designate the walkways using stones, but someday I hope to put down pavers. I’m still gathering flowers for the new flower beds, and actually I’m getting some lupines from wisconsin today, which my uncle Dicky is bringing for me in a cooler. I can’t wait!
The next time you come to the clinic, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the wildflowers in the front yard and know that all the work done here was done with my own power and love.