Healing in the Garden

You reap what you sow, so it goes don’tcha know.  I’’m a seed that my dad planted back in 1969, there’s five of us in all, but I was the first one to sprout. . .

This is the beginning of the book that I’m writing and I’m realizing that I haven’t really spoken much about my personal journey and why this garden is so important to me.  I hope it serves other women and in turn our whole community and greater world circle.

I was raised on a flower farm in Beverly, Ma, which is North of Boston. So I get my connection to plants and flowers from my dad and my spiritual connection feels like it comes more from my mom  who was a missionary in Mongolia for 10 years.  She would rather read a book than plant something. My Grandmother, my dad’s mom, Nana Sweeney really nurtured my nature loving.  We would take walks in the back woods and find lady slippers and pick fiddle heads and take ‘em home and stem ‘em up.

Although the first few years of my life were pretty serene and peaceful, my childhood was not an easy one.  There were a lot of bumps in the road.  I don’t really talk about these things too much, but they have left indelible markings on my soul that have really been informing my work with women.  I won’t go into detail here, but the events that had such profound effects were being molested by a creepy man when I was 6 and then my stepmother moved into my house when I was 8 and taught me about jealousy rage, violence and separation.

A lot of my time here on this planet has been learning how to let go of attachments to the energy cysts that seem to persist in our bodies when we have gone through trauma. Coming to terms with letting go of people who mean harm to me and my own internalization has taught me how to rewrite the stories that I’ve carried in my body about how I’m not worthy or bad or should not speak up.  That has been the key to transformation.

After my Nana passed on I really connected more with my spiritual journey which was not about going to church on Sundays.  For me church was always the woods or the ocean or the flowers.  I had started circle dancing with some folks on the NorthShore and that felt like “church” in a way. I moved out to Western Mass to volunteer at Kripalu where I started to reconnect the dots with my body-mind and spirit.  Yoga and Dance really helped me to claim myself again as a sovereign being and I started to express all of the things that were inside just waiting for an outlet.  I became a YogaDance Instructor, Reiki Practioner and Massage Therapist and set up a private practice in Northampton for 12 years.   Creating and holding sacred space for others to do their healing work has been a very rewarding service for me and I’m very thankful to all of my clients who I’ve connected with over the years.  In 2012, my dad passed away and the land that my grandparents had purchased as a homestead for our family was sold.  Luckily for me in 2013 a vision of a healing garden came to me.  I realize now, looking back that the seeds had been planted long ago.

The fall of 2013 was the beginning of my last year of my priestess apprenticeship in the SOPHIA wisdom school.  As I sat there on the couch that winter I was dreaming about all sorts of things, gatherings of women, yurts for teaching, red tents, healing circles with plants.  Tulsi was a plant that we had been learning about and a friend introduced me to the Organic India Tulsi Rose tea.  It’s a fine gentle comforting tea to keep you company and nurture the soul.  As I was dreaming I was thinking about gardens.  I had community gardens in the past and was always led to create a circle in the center. My first journey planting medicinal plants was back in Maryland in 1996.  I planted valerian, wormwood, motherwort.  New Year’s 2014 I had gotten one of those artists journals, you know the black hardcover book with the blank pages inside. . . I just wrote and sketched and set intentions for how to use my energy best to create beauty and peace for myself and others on this planet that we share.

One day on the couch I was drawing circular gardens and the idea of combining tulsi and roses in a garden for healing through rituals, dance, meditation and music was born.  My first blog post talks about the miraculous way that the garden came into manifestation and the kind people, Janice Sorensen and Michael Hoberman who said yes, when I asked if I could plant a garden on their land.  I don’t think at the time I clearly communicated the score of the project when I said garden, but the life of the garden is unfolding day by day.

There are so many levels of peace and healing that I feel from this garden. . . the early morning garden covered with dew as the sun begins it’s rise out of the east is a different feeling than I get from when I sit in the garden on a warm summer night watching the full moon cross the sky.  The healing for me comes from digging in the earth, feeling the soil and working directly with the plants as well as the beauty that is created by the flowers.  We all have different sensitivities and at this time on the planet more and more people are becoming sensitive to more subtle energies.  When we are mere babies we are attuned to a certain frequency that is our very own energetic signature, then life piles on events and social conditioning and the frequency gets somewhat distorted.  Through spiritual practice and deep listening we are able to tune into our unique essence or Sacred Soul Song if you will.  Through my own healing journey working with energy and focusing on my connection with the land and the plants I have learned to connect with my intuition more and I can sense the gentle energy of the flowers and often feel the vibrations emitted by different energy bodies.  I invite you to come for a healing session, a meditation or class, purchase some rose petal elixir or some tulsi tea and begin to feel the essence of the flowers.  My greatest desire is that this garden through it’s events, bounty and it’s simple existence of being creates peace, beauty and healing for myself and others.

We have already hosted several concerts including, 56-String Duo, Radiolaria and the Gong Temple.  We’ve hosted a women’s weekend, weekly meditations and other sacred gatherings and I plan on running some programs for summer 2018; Goddesses in the Garden,  a 7-week women’s circle to encourage our use of our intuition and our connection with the plants and caring for the world around us as well as the Sing Your Sacred Soul Song class which is a circle that uses writing prompts, vocal chakra activation exercises and the spirit of Tulsi to rewrite the stories that have been holding us back from being our best selves.

I hope that you get a chance to visit the garden this summer.  I will announce the women’s classes and events here on the blog and we will also host a few events for all genders to come together in the spirit of peace.

Until then,

Deep peace of the running wave to you!

Sulis

New Moon Musings

Today in the Tulsi Garden

Barefoot walking through the wet grass.  Cold steps plodding through the thick carpet of grass that has not been mowed in over a week. . . longer and softer than usual.  My feet warm up when I stop and stand still for a moment.  It’s early and I can see the sun rise over the hill across the field. Wouldn’t it be nice everyday to wake up and walk around the tulsi garden and for a few moments not worry about time. . . September and another round of lavender is asking to be harvested for aromatic bouquets.  We had a little cold snap at the beginning of September, but now we’re back to high 80’s this weekend.  I harvested the sticky flowers of the calendula to make medicine and of course the tulsi is constantly asking me to pick her and make tea. . . so I do.

At this time of transition going toward the winter, we celebrate the end of summer with picking apples, going to the Garlic & Arts Festival or in our own ways by harvesting what we’ve grown. I picked the basil and made the pesto and put it in the freezer and now every day I harvest tulsi for the tea.

Ive had so many sweet moments in the garden this summer one-on-one with a sister here and there sipping tea and working with the tulsi and have also been blessed to have a few sweet women gathering together. This garden is a place of peace and a place of healing.  I find my own peace just from walking, singing or working with the plants.  Next season I will be offering a program for women who want to connect with the plants and develop their intuition.  We will gather and ground and share, meditate, work with the plants and talk about ideas and concepts to create heaven on earth.

Years ago someone whispered in my ear in a busy bar in downtown DC to read the Celestine Prophecy.  I finally did at some point and although the writing leaves a lot to be desired, the content of the ideas is fascinating.  For those who are unfamiliar, one of the chapters talks about our relationship with plants and actually seeing the aura or energy around the plant and sending positive energy to the plant and eventually sending positive energy to the people around us.  How many times are we sending out vibes that are less than positive?  I know that I can definitely say that I have my moments when driving that I might get a little pissy with the people around me and complain about their driving. . .  but I also remember those moments when I’ve felt good enough in myself already that those little things just don’t matter and I don’t take any of it personally.  But what about going a step farther and sending something positive to people before we’ve even judged if they are good or bad, helpful or not helpful. . . what would our world be like if we collectively embraced this.  It would be like a cultural revolution. . . one I could really get behind.

One of the things that the garden has taught me is to slow down and when I enter her circle, to step in mindfully and notice how I place my foot in  each step.  Sometimes I walk slowly and deliberately taking in deep breaths as I raise my hands up through prayer position, up to the sky and out to the sides in the shape of the toroidal field.  Exhaling my hands down, I keep walking and breathing, slowing down and coming back into myself.  You see I have to do this to balance out all the rushing around that I do, the going from here to there sometimes without any awareness at all.  How do I bring more consciousness into my days.  How do I rush less and give myself the time to be present with myself and others.  The garden is often teaching me this and I know the protocols and the types of breathing to do, but sometimes I just don’t do them.  I know often we know what to do, but just decide to do something else.  So on this New Moon in Virgo which is a time for taking the practical steps of getting down to business one step at a time, we start the thing that helps point us in the direction we want to go and we take the first step.