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Mindful Music Moments

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Chapter 2: Laberintos

"From the time a seed is planted, the vision of the forest emerges."

- Julia Orquera Bianco

What happens after the impetus that Hope brings? Action needs to follow.

It's been about a month since I last wrote about the Garden. I left it at Hope. Two circumstances took place right after writing Chapter 1, that threw me into a whirlwind of overwhelm, despair, confusion, grief, and then action:

On a stormy Tuesday, a group of friends and supporters got together at The Well. This was a very honest ask for help from me. Aside from fireproof cheerleader Stacy Sims, the table was populated by Ron Houck and his partner Dave, Chris Pohlar, Sean Mullaney, and Alistair Probst. Ron is a kindred soul and understands this craft; Chris is creating site specific installations at the site; Sean is allowing me to develop this project in his land. Alistair is my mentor for the purpose of the MATCH grant that supports my collaboration with The Well.

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Fun plants at Planet Love pocket park - May 2024

It was a sobering meeting. Hope needs to be followed by action, and in this case action meant tons of work, money, knowledge, and a specific skillset that for the purpose of this project I lacked completely. I left the room feeling defeated: for once, I did not have what I needed to move towards action.

“The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.”
― Robert Jordan

The second circumstance that added to this whirlwind was that the property that I rent - where Jardin del Sol lives - sold to a different owner.

This happened fast, and it catalyzed a process of a few weeks of holding fear first, then dread, then grief, then determination, and finally - now - a sense of coming out of the darkness with a renewed lease, an addendum for the 50+ plant species that I grew, and the acceptance that I will be still holding the grief and the joy on the same hand while I live here, and that I will sometimes feel this deeply.

"Adopt the pace of Nature. Her secret is patience." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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First Elder tree blossoms since it was planted as seedling in 2022 - Jardin del Sol, May 2024

Corita Kent's Rule #8 states to not try to create and analyse at the same time. These - she writes - are two different processes. The Lifing version of this to me has always been: don't try to make sense of a process while being in it. The answers will come later, the sense-making will come later. That is why I was not able to write about either Jardin del Sol or The Wellness Garden for weeks - although I had so much to say about both.

To add to my lack of tools necessary for action the deep anticipated grief I felt for losing Jardin del Sol half-paralyzed me. I felt powerless and in no control of my living or the project of the Garden anymore. I can discuss this openly now, but at the time it was a deeply painful process.

One of the main realizations however was that we become land-bound when we make the conscious choice to be there for The Land. To become land-bound to me expresses in two ways: one, the land I steward and I are part of each other, we are kin and one; two, I become responsible for the land I choose to steward.

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature.”

– Joseph Campbell

So the Grief is deep because the Love is deep. In being land-bound there's no space for shallowness, The Earth is all depth. Feeling like I could lose the Jardin felt like a betrayal of my promise to care for this patch of land and all her living creatures. And at the same time, designing a new Garden felt impossible. How - I asked myself - can I welcome something emerging while grieving something that is in danger of disappearing? 

Things got very existential for a bit. And that's okay. But - just like Corita Kent's rule #7 states:

the only rule is work.

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Discovering mowing the Planet Love and Wellness Gardens as an active meditation - May 2024

So, last week, I got to work.

The first phase of implementation for the Wellness Garden is the design and construction of a Labyrinth. The learning to become rather than being-in the process is layered, and started by narrowing my vision and focus to just this part of this ambitious project. The layering also happens in stages - you can at this point call it "research".

This also took weeks, and the seemingly extensive patience of my mentor Alistair. And the layering of this was exasperating at first (now I find it exhilarating). The skillset necessary for this project is so vast and so out of my wheelhouse - which doesn't mean I cannot learn it all - that feeling powerless and half-paralyzed makes sense now. But focusing on the Labyrinth was the best way for me to get unstuck and slowly but surely moving towards action. 

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Designing a Labyrinth at scale - May 2024.

I will write about The Labyrinth itself in a future chapter. Suffice it to say is: every piece of this project has brought challenges to my life, defied my own knowledge, and at the same time, pushed me to use my creativity, resourcefulness, and vast capacity for problem-solving, to truly ignite a renewed sense of: I-can-do-this! This - not without the energetic and time support of the people who are rooting for me, rooting for this project, and rooting for Camp Washington. Thank you for you.

There's a song by Argentine singer Dread Mar called "Laberintos". The lyrics tell the story of someone fearful of - but willing to - love again, and how complicated we humans sometimes make it. To this, I choose to remember these lessons:

The only rule is work. The Earth is all depth. We grieve because we love.

AND it is possible to hold - to weave - the Love, the Fear, and the Grief, together.

So I weave, and I wait. And I - still - garden. Because maybe it is Love more than Fear what moves us into action.

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
― Rumi

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Jardin del Sol after a major revamp - May 2024

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