Mother Earth’s Healing

By the grace of all that is good I find myself able to return to this blog. It goes without saying why it’s been 2 years since I was last here, given that we are now in 2022. If you are reading this, I hope you’ve also found your way to rebuilding your inner and outer world post Covid lockdown.

During lockdown my intense passion for nature and gardening was magnified. Our garden became my sanctuary. Each nook became filled with it’s own energy as I surrendered to my daily routine of cultivating all the plant babies. As I write this I can invoke the aroma of the earth in the various sections of the garden and it feels like bliss. I since learnt that there are bacterias in the soil called Mycobacterium Vaccae, which trigger the release of serotonin in our brain, making gardening a natural anti-depressant as well as boosting the immune system. This may be why not many days went by that I didn’t head out to take care of something in the garden, welcomed into the indulgent embrace of mother earth, or as we call her in Bolivia, Pachamama. I felt safe, no matter what the WHO had just declared or by how much more Melbourne’s lockdown got extended.

Seasons left, seasons arrived…. nature continued it’s dance ..

Winter’s chill wasn’t enough to keep me inside, unless it was bitingly cold and raining at the same time. In which case I still had my breakfast outside in the alfresco, breathing in deeply the sweet oxygen surrounding me, painfully aware what a gift this was, thanking Pachamama sometimes with tears in each exhale… a soft goodbye whispered into the air to family we lost to Covid back in Bolivia… each breath truly a blessed gift not afforded to all. With that in mind every time my hands held the cutting shears, or shovel to plant another propagated plant, I was humbled, and cared for the garden with loving awareness of the sacredness of the beautiful energy and Life Force flowing through from each root structure to the furthest leaf.

Remembering that we were locked down for 2 years, sometimes it was nice to garden with a glass of rose. In the furthest corner of the back yard I immersed myself to create a jungle space with wombesque like enclosed vibe. This plant enclosed area radiating a very different energy, protective, restorative, healing. The dandelions collected from weeding, an extra gift from the earth as the flowers can be used in tea infusions with many beneficial properties.

Gardening in this space burning sage, music flowing and sipping on a glass of rose

It was during this time that I began to develop a “morning routine” which restored me and which I’ve kept up even post lockdown. It evolved incrementally. As I added one practice and sustained it, another layer presented itself, creating a richness to the start of the day I’d never experienced before. Mornings used to be about trying to sleep in, then rushing out into the day. However now there were moments where I glimpsed something of what monks might feel in their carrying out of repetitive duties such as sweeping leaves off a porch, watering plants, all whilst being conscientiously present. The home as an island monastery felt like a haven in a sea of ever changing pandemic health regulations.

The Zen Buddhist quote “How you do anything is how you do everything”came to mind and became an invitation to transcend GroundHog day vibes. The simplest actions were carried out with utmost care and more fully present than if I’d tried to do them quickly for the sake of efficiency.

At times like that is when I’d see love hearts or wings in fallen leaves, when the vibrancy in each plant united in a chorus with the other plants and sang their comfort to us vulnerable humans.

My morning routine became infused with a heightened attention to detail.. a pearl in the making, exquisite in the end. The end goal being once the practice became a habit, which l looked forward to as I could feel it’s positive impact gradually moulding not just my day, but my inner world. Bringing a sense of consistent contentment and peace I wasn’t used to. Lowering cortisol levels, dissolving ego defences, limitations and wounds.

It started with drinking a cup of hot lemon water on an empty stomach. In the freezer, a bag of sliced lemons awaited their participation in the daily ritual. I would take this cleansing, alkalinising beverage outside, hold its warmth while feeling the sun on my skin…. deep breaths in … gratitude breaths out… in .. out… in …. out

Eventually I was lighting 3 sticks of incense and our darling little Cavoodle would join me sitting close by like a little Sadhu, meditating, vibing peace.

To this I then add a meditation podcast with beautiful music or listened to the wisdom and humour of Ram Dass. Such a delightful soul. His invaluable words helped shift limiting attitudes I had which nothing else managed to.

Once i’d finished that lemon water, I’d tidy up something in the garden. Establishing that connection with the plants so nourishing as I drank their beauty and magic in. For breakfast I’d have a simple omelette prepared in either a heavy French pan or rectangular Asian pan; an avocado with lemon drizzled over it followed by a strong Bialetti brewed coffee.

If I woke up early enough I would go outside with a blanket and a picnic rug and some Japanese incense sticks to meditate. Close my eyes to the moonlight and open them again to the sun. Such a magical, grounding feeling to be at one moment enveloped by darkness, surrounded by the peace that accompanies the twilight hours, the crispness of the fresh air, the evolving fragrance of the earth and plants as dew drops slowly descend on them sight unseen, yet my body resonating and somehow in conscious connection and oneness with it all.

Slide arrow in either direction to see the view pre sunrise and upon sunrise

One of the first things I did after lockdown was lifted was to go to Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens. The trees and plants there seemed to be dancing with joy. In my heart I was also in a state of euphoria from feeling the gentle collective energy, like a choir of harmonies echoing from all the plants.

Melbourne Botanical Gardens

Fortunately the resumed busyness of post lockdown life has not eroded the absolute delight that plants, nature bring to me. If anything I will usually point out to the family when we’re watching any streaming service, what a great job the plants in any scene are doing! It’s not just their aesthetics that enhance a scenario, but their energy that heals, restores and comforts the messy human beings that give themselves to them.

Ironically the more connected I became to nature, the more nature seemed to reach out too. For months we had several birds trying to come into the house, sitting on branches eyeing the door or flying repeatedly into the window.

In a way we all share the same home. The illusion of separation created by walls doesn’t lessen that truth. Let’s take care of our best health, and of our beautiful Pachamama earth.

ps: If you’re looking to add green beings to your home, I highly recommend a visit to Garden World in Springvale and Dig Emporium in Collingwood. If you love grabbing a coffee and being surrounded by lush plants in an idyllic atmosphere you can’t go past Mannix, the tiny urban jungle in South Yarra

So much is made of our precious planet earth and the politics operating on it. Let’s not forget that time is fleeting and as many of our precious life moments as possible should be spent taking in the incredible beauty which surrounds us, nurturing it to grow, sharing that with others and celebrating within it.

The less detached we are from nature, the more natural it becomes to love it, and honour its existence as much as our own. There’s an incredible sense of well being that comes from cultivating plants, not just arranging them as part of the landscape but really tuning in with their energy and enjoying the process of nurturing them.

I invite and encourage you to become a plant parent today, even if it’s of one house plant, you never know when that can become a jungle and before you realise, the jungle truly feels like home.

Artwork by Andi Leh
Follow on Instagram @artbyandileh

The true meaning of life is to plant trees

under whose shade you do not expect to sit

nelson Henderson

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