Happy Thanksgiving/World Cup

I don’t know about your household, but here at the farm this week’s focus is on turkey stuffing mashed potatoes green beans gravy pumpkin pie football soccer.

Most of those who will attend out Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday grew up with a soccer ball at their feet and for the entire crowd, soccer is the beautiful game and the odd timing of the World Cup during Thanksgiving week, a beautiful thing.

At the meal itself, I expect to walk on eggshells as I desperately search for benign topics to talk about.  The flash points will not be politics but people’s deep and abiding affection for different soccer players.  The Thanksgiving attendees watch a lot of premiership soccer, and all these soccer players have now scattered to the winds to play for the country they sometimes seem to have been born in.  This leaves me 100 % confused about Thanksgiving attendees loyalties and 100% confident I will annoy everyone by liking the wrong player or the wrong team.   

Will it even be safe to say, “How about that American squad?”  Probably not because the USA team messed up their chances to get out of the group stage yesterday by earning a tie with Wales.  And speaking of Wales, as I watched the game with some family members yesterday, I blurted out a comment about loving the Welch singing in the stands. Not a good moment.  This is just the sort of annoying thing I am likely to do. 

Perhaps my Thanksgiving should involve a vow of silence in order to avoid ruffling feathers.  One thing is for certain, I will lighten things up with my usual “go to” of a Custom Flower Essence mix to spritz.

All attendees will get spritzed as they enter the stadium house.  Seriously spritzed.  The spritz will be heavy on Anxiety, the Letting Go Flower, Don’t Worry-Bee Happy, Arbor Garden, Indian Pipe, Fairy Rose, Grounding, Eyes of Mary and Gorse.   We will need all the perspective, calm, peace, detachment, and humor possible because describing the Thanksgiving attendees as soccer fans is a cosmic understatement putting it mildly.  This is a group in orbit passionate about the game.

Let’s just hope the spritz helps remind them soccer is a GAME (I swear I heard a voice shouting Soccer is Life as I typed that!).

But back to the Flower Essence spritz. As they always do, the little people in the crowd will dance around under the mist loving the spriz.  The older ones will navigate through the Flower Essence mist without comment.  Partly this is because they’ve experienced my spritzing for thirty five years and partly this will be because they will be DISTRACTED and not by the excellent cranberry sauce or pumpkin bread. 

They will be concentrating on the day’s games which on Thanksgiving Day includes a 5 am tip between Switzerland and Cameroon, an 8 am tip between South Korea and Uruguay, an 11 am tip between Portugal and Ghana and a 2 pm tip between Brazil and Serbia. But I suspect the Thanksgiving day conversational fretting focus will not be on these games. Instead the gathered crowd will be doing the math about Friday’s game of USA vs England.  

As I mentioned, the attendees watch a lot of the premiership games so they know a great many of the World Cup players.  They love the English team.  Frankly they know and love a lot of the teams, but still, the USA team will be messing with their heads absorbing their attention as they endlessly ponder, “Can the US overcome its heartbreaking tie with Wales yesterday to move out of the early rounds?”

Being the person responsible for four hundred forty of the last forty three Thanksgivings, I have my own reasons for spritzing with a mix that will help me detach and let go.  I know what is involved in getting this feast to the table. I know how much advance prep and thought is required not to mention elbow grease. And this year for the second year in a row, I am not in charge.

Three serious soccer fans are responsible for the meal, and I am only in charge of the mashed potatoes.  This is a needed refreshing and appreciated change for me.  Let’s just hope I can really let go, because before this trio brings the meal to the table there will be 12 more World Cup soccer matches to divert them. Knowing how distracted this may make them, it will take my complete focus to NOT do any backseat cooking. 

Yesterday I failed miserably at not interfering.  I texted the three pillars of the meal- Ben ( lifelong soccer player and serious soccer fanatic ) Charlie ( lifelong soccer player and serious soccer fanatic ) and Emily ( lifelong soccer player and serious soccer fanatic ) to see if they “needed anything at the grocery store.” I am nothing if not obvious in my backseat cooking.

The trio is a group who keep their phones close so as to chime in immediately if someone shares a timely meme or gif on a group thread. The eight hours of radio silence led me to suspect know that the trio was watching glued to England vs Iran then Senegal vs Netherlands then Wales vs USA and also studiously avoiding my desperate bid to do some backseat cooking.

Radio Silence. It’s a special and rare thing in this era of cell phones. I should have enjoyed it. Instead I wondered if they knew exactly how limp the green beans on offer at the grocery store were and whether they had found better or were even thinking about green beans.

Frankly, after the USA vs Wales game I didn’t mind that no one was answering my texts.  I knew they all needed to bounce back from the tie in their own ways. For me it was a wander through the produce aisle at the packed supermarket wondering if the chefs in charge of our Thanksgiving even CARED about green beans.

Hopefully today’s tips with Argentina vs Saudi Arabia at 5 am today Denmark vs Tunisia at 8 am, Mexico vs Poland at 11 am and France vs Australia at 2 pm will help them all get focused on the task ahead and take my mind of the green beans.

My confidence in the above statement has just been shattered. Its 6 am as I type, and I have already been informed the 5 am game is in CRISIS as Argentina is behind. This, I was told, is a serious problem because they all LOVE Lionel Messe. Apparently more than green beans.

Yup. I need to let go.  On Thanksgiving day, I vow to join the grandchildren on the floor with the puppets, matchbox cars and play food and leave the cooks to their kitchen tasks. At worst we will have a meal of mashed potatoes. I will not care about the meal and if it contains green beans.  If soccer is just a GAME then I need to remember that Thanksgiving dinner is only a MEAL. It’s the faces around the table that count and hopefully at least for a few moments they won’t be stewing about a thirty two polygon sided ball.

Rest and Flower Essences

Fall has lingered here.  Garden tasks are done, yet the gardens are still warm and inviting.  Bulbs are planted (and eaten by the rampaging squirrels). Flower beds are tidied.  The vegetable gardens are mulched with their winter coat of hay.  In a region where fall often is a short season abruptly ending with the arrival of snow, this year is different.  Each day I sit in the gardens and rest in the soft light and palette of still vibrant colors.

The word “becalmed” keeps coming to me as I simply sit (sometimes knitting and sometimes not). According to the dictionary “becalmed” means “(a sailing vessel) left unable to move through lack of wind.”  As far as sailing goes, this sounds dire, yet the more I think about this word, the more I wonder about its broader meaning.  Is being becalmed always a bad thing? There in the very word be-calmed is the suggestion that to be becalmed can be a good thing too, bringing a state of inner calm.

Rest is built into Nature.  Our long fall of good weather has provided me a chance to just be in the gardens without a task list, but this time of year would bring rest even if the weather was colder. In November, the growing season is over, and at least for me, that means time to rest and let go and wait for the dream of the next growing season to be born after the Winter Solstice.

Rest has taken on particular significance for me this fall. I have been inspired to rest more as a revolutionary practice after hearing Tricia Hersey, author of Rest is Resistance- A Manifesto, talk about the power of rest.

Hersey illuminates the truth that our system of capitalism/patriarchy treats humans as machines bent to the wheel of profits for a select few.  Her lived belief is that if each of us take back our sovereignty through the radical act of rest, the whole system of exploitation and overwork will dissolve away, one nap at a time.

Hearing Tricia galvanized me to rest more, but it also got me thinking about all the times in my life when rest has been transformative.  Rest has always deepened my connection to our collective bigger self, and it’s often been a game changer in my life.

In case you are new to this blog, I continue by noting that my family of origin was a patriarchy with a capital P. This meant no one in the family believed in the power of rest.  The primary patriarch, my maternal grandfather, wrote a book on the origins of French mercantilism/capitalism in the 16th century.  This meant capitalism as the economic system of patriarchy was the mountain he lived and died on, and he expected us to die on it too.  The family slogan was, “Work ‘til the work is done,” a grim even dangerous motto.  No one questioned the legitimacy of this ethos, so family members either worked themselves to death or broke down in total exhaustion, depression, illness, unhappiness or addiction. 

One therapist described our clan as a group of people all rowing very, very hard in a boat without the slightest clue where we were going.  Throughout my childhood, human train wrecks happened in slow motion all around me, but no one examined why. We just kept rowing and rowing and rowing.  Regardless of the pain patriarchy caused us, the climate remained one of endless criticism about not doing enough or not doing it well enough. In lonely isolation we each labored to become something, never resting in the truth of our innate wholeness or in the fullness of just being. 

The woods, fields and waterways around my childhood home were the release valve from the crushing values of my home life. Nature was the saving grace in my life, but at home it was all about the patriarchal values of productivity, accomplishment, goal orientation and doing everything “perfectly.”

In musing about rest and committing myself more deeply to it, I recall how resting with two broken arms brought me to a new understanding of my wholeness.  I also realize how all the built in naps and quiet times of rest with little children helped me birth Green Hope Farm and my calling with Flowers. I credit the rest, quiet, naps and the very slow pace of life with little people as giving me a spacious inner landscape to dream the dream of Green Hope Farm.  In rest I found my passion for Flowers and the spiritual path. 

One of my first transformative experiences with rest happened in college. My patriarchal grandfather paid for my college, and he expected perfect grades from me in exchange for his “gift.”  During my freshman year, I studied night and day, yet my grandfather found my freshman grades unacceptable.  They were truly the best I could do when living by his rules of constant, joyless studying, but they were not perfect as he demanded.  Sad, angry, defiant and determined to just be me, I began my sophomore year with a different plant. I would stop chasing good grades. In fact I would stop studying. Instead, I decided to rest. 

I did the required reading and went to class but then, before any exam, I would move my bed into the center of my dorm room and just lie there, becalmed.  Once in the exam, I would turn over the exam to a part of my being that experienced its interconnection to all things and let that consciousness write the exam.  My childhood time in Nature had given me a capacity to go into this consciousness and now it became my way to navigate college.

Not only did rest positively transform my daily life as a student, but the more I rested the better things went. This didn’t really surprise me as the stuff I was writing wasn’t from my limited consciousness.

As I rested and relaxed into this bigger consciousness more and more, I realized none of us needed to feel alone as separate test takers or separate isolated learners.  The greater self we all share is ever there offering the support and insights we need. Rest and letting go were the doorways into this place of wholeness and expansiveness. All we had to do is stop listening to patriarchy and lie down and nap. 

Rest made me aware there were plenty of ideas and as they moved through me, I didn’t need to claim ownership of them to feel like enough.  It never felt like a less than experience to not see them as mine. Ideas were their own pleasure and didn’t need to be owned. I didn’t really care about the focus on ownership as I felt more whole and content listening to this bigger consciousness than I had ever felt leaning on “my own resources.” 

My new approach to being a student threw patriarchy into the garbage pail. Patriarchy is built on the illusion of scarcity. It exhorts us to compete for limited resources against each other, yet here I was experiencing that we were all part of the same consciousness so all divisions were false, all ideas were shared and academic or any other kind of competition was like the left hand slapping the right hand.   

This was just the beginning of many skirmishes with patriarchy. Another came much later when I began Green Hope Farm.

Out of enthusiasm, love and rest was born the business of Green Hope Farm, but business was a territory held by patriarchs and even in my tiny town, they didn’t welcome outside the box thinking. This meant that patriarchs who got wind of my tiny business seemed intent on caging me in with their rigid constructs or thresholds guardian of fear. Anything to stop me in my tracks. 

Massive amounts of unsolicited patriarchal advice flowed my way the second I sold my first bottle of Flower Essences.  One retired executive pinned me down at a party to drill me on something called the 80/20 rule and berate me that I had no business plan. I wanted to tell him I was lucky if I got the week’s grocery list written down on paper let alone a business plan. He leaned into me with questions like what were my short and long term goals? Ummmm. Grow more Flowers? Get the kids to school before I packed the day’s orders? Savor the fun of sharing Flower Essences with people and animals? Keep the cat from knocking over bottles of Flower Essences every day?  

Thank goodness for my years being in the garden with children, the Angels and Elementals.  As the patriarchs told me over and over again how little I knew and how screwed I was because of this, I listened instead to the ever peaceful and calm Angels and Elementals. They had been my partners in creating the gardens in the first place, so they were my partners of choice in this business too.  With their input, we set the template of the business that broke with patriarchy.  This group of advisors also solved problems for me before I even knew they were problems. They also respected my body and supported a humane and restful way to do business.

Not only did my advisors frequently speak to me about REST, but they built rest into the whole organization.  We began our work days with meditation. Each day we would meditate for as long as we wanted, and this helped our work flow immeasurably.  Our daily and weekly schedule was never a worldy one but one that was gentler and shorter.  We ended our days at three or four because most of us had small children.  If a staff goddesses needed to leave early or take time off for themselves or a child, it was not a problem.  On Fridays, the office was closed. The Angels insisted we needed this time out from the pressures of the work week and the pressures of the modern weekend.  How right they were, and how grateful I am that the Angels built rest into the very bones of the business. It made all the difference in how we moved through the next thirty five years.

Well I could yammer on and on about rest, but maybe that’s enough for now and I will just add, Long live REST!

I conclude this blog with some Flower Essence suggestions that support us to rest, help us dissolve the grip patriarchy has on us and sink us into experiences of our wholeness.  Flower Essences and the occasional big drama like my broken arms have helped me keep focused on the reality of my wholeness and the ability of rest to remind me of this wholeness. Flower Essences have also helped me with the ongoing task of dismantling patriarchy and my inner patriarch (a.k.a. Goodbye Grandpa).

Under Patriarchy in the Flower Essence Suggestions for Common Concerns list, the section begins with this reminder about what Patriarchy is:

Patriarchal values reflect a values system based on ideas of productivity, goal orientation, intellectual excellence and spiritual perfection at the expense of being human with the underlying false belief that we are not born perfect but must make ourselves perfect.

The suggestions given for dismantling patriarchy are:

The Sacred Feminine, The Sacred Masculine, Thyme from Omey Island, Lavender, Pomegranate, all Essences from Crete especially Dittany

Additional suggestions for specific topics include:

Dismantling idea of body as separate and inferior to spirit: Claret Cup Cactus, Paul Neyron Rose

Dismantling ideas of better than, worse than, and duality: Cherokee Trail of Tears

Dismantling erroneous idea that Divinity is not within us: Crown Daisy

Finding empowerment to dismantle the whole patriarchal structure: Dittany

Showing the way to escape the snares of patriarchy and patriarchal dramas: Asphodel

Concerning the topic of encouraging us to rest, here are some suggestions:

For more restful sleep: Our Sleep Trio of Ladies’ Bedstraw, Ladies’ Bedstraw from Ireland, Sweet Pea

For support to let go of the ideas we need to “work til the work is done:” Carry Less, The Letting Go Flower, Don’t Worry-Bee Happy, Coffee, Solandra

Support to experience our wholeness, oneness with creation and who we really are: Arbor Garden, Passion Flower, Indian Pipe, Omey Island, Feverfew, The Truth of Touch, Restore Divine Order, Safe Passage

Support to find sanctuary for respite and renewal within ourselves: Purple Viper’s Bugloss from Crete, Sanctuary, Restore, Disrupt, Derail and Dismantle Negativity, Gatekeeper

Much Love from all of us here and happy resting!