The flea beetles are making lace in the gardens. The slugs have decimated most of the Venus Garden. Inside the office, the printer is chewing paper, the fax machine is on the fritz, and freeze has become the email verb of the day. And this is just the silly stuff.
But dear readers, my heart is full of a strange and lovely joy. I am so glad I get to sort through all this clamor of splendid imperfection with you. It is a great solace and delight to visit with you on this blog. The other solace I feel is, well, let me get to that in my usual sideways manner.
Last week, a woman emailed to offer her theory that my worry and general negativity attracted the bug infestations, rampant poison ivy, and garden weeds gracing Green Hope Farm this summer. She wrote that because our fears give energy to the things we fear, each of us will manifest whatever we are afraid of. She suggested that if I learned to control myself with only positive thoughts, only positive things would happen.
Thankfully, I see the bugs and life differently.
For all my complaining, I see the bugs, weeds, office snafus, and larger difficulties I face as bringing me the gifts I need this summer and beyond. Right now, I am in the whining stage about the bugs. Right now, I am completely in the dark about what their gifts will be. But, I know that when the dust settles, the literal and metaphoric bugs and slugs of my summer will gift me with the harvest I need most. It may not include any live plants, but there will be gifts.
This means my job is to accept that what is happening is for the highest good, to feel what I feel, and to stay open to receive the gifts of the experiences.
This means the big and little events that fill my life are circumstances I am not so much meant to control and manipulate as surrender to with faith that they are for my learning and for my own good.
This gets at the core of my conversations with the Angels, Elementals, and precious God.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped asking for specific outcomes. Nowadays, I try to discern what divinity asks me to do and then I do it. I try to offer up the rest to God, not that this is necessary but it helps me.
Sometimes, I get ahead of a situation and imagine an outcome.
Consider this summer’s Venus Garden, I assumed that because I was asked to plant a spiral of Mehera Marigolds, it was going to mature into a fabulous spiral of Flowering plants. Now that most of the plants have been consumed by slugs, I know differently. I have been reminded to separate process from product. I remember this with a bit of whining, but the whining is not the end stage. Once I see that something different than I imagined is unfolding, I eventually return to a place of happy expectation. I await a mysterious outcome, not the expected one, but that does not mean it won’t be a marvelous outcome. It is only that I have been reminded, this time by slugs, that outcomes are not in my hands.
I have a lot of feelings about the email I received about controlling outcome with positive thinking. I certainly felt upset that someone would lay such a burden on themselves and others. Life would be a nightmare if I still thought I was supposed to be controlling everything.
Perhaps that was the greatest gift that came from Elizabeth’s birth defects. You may recall from other blogs that she was born deaf with a cleft palate. I did not harvest many gifts during her first year. In a crisis, just getting through seems the only reasonable expectation. But given my warped family of origin training, had I not been an exhausted wreck, I probably would have tried to control her problems right out of existence. Blessedly, by the time I got used to her situation, I had come to know her “imperfections” to be the perfect gift of love from God to me. This opened me to try and see everything in my life as God’s perfect gifts, not events I needed to control.
Now, as you have noticed, I don’t pull off this attitude without complaint. Maybe in some future incarnation I will completely know that getting a foot chopped off is as good news as winning the lottery. In the meantime, it usually takes me some time to come to see every event in my life as a gift OR to love what is versus pine for what my personality wants. What’s life without a bit of highly dramatic gnashing of teeth?
Take the death threats I have mentioned before. Eventually I found a solid faith that God brought us these trials for our own good, but I did not find this faith right away. At first I was just scared and in shock. The conviction that there was purpose in these horrible events became a life raft built over time. As things continue to unfold, I feel the life raft under me more and more. I didn’t get there by suppressing my emotions. I felt hurt, angry, and sad. Often, I still feel this way.
It has surprised me that my emotions have been my way to finding a rock solid faith. One reason for my surprise is that I came from a clan that thought controlling all feelings was the way to live. I think they had some of the same ideas as the email I received. First control your feelings so as to control events and then if events go haywire, shut your eyes and pretend bad things don’t happen to good people who are doing things “right”.
I suppose some people can control events, but unless I was a God realized being I would no longer try to do this. I do not think I know what is best to happen in any given situation. Plus these control techniques require so much energy that they leave us little chance to bump into an awareness of God. The experience of God’s love has come to me in the space left by letting go of control. In letting go, I found a feeling of love and a heart felt knowledge that God loves us in the particulars of ALL events not just at the personality picnics.
This brings me back to the email I received. If we think good and happy events are the only way God brings love, oh my gosh, life is going to be a lonely journey. I find it a comfort to know that EVERYTHING God does is for the best, not just the stuff my personality finds fun.
Not only do I have no idea what should be, but what a relief not to depend on my imagination to manifest my life. I couldn’t have imagined a life containing the difficult challenges I face OR the sublime joys. I am so glad that it wasn’t my personalities job to imagine either because my life would be the poorer if I was meant to be in control. I couldn’t have imagined a brother wanting to kill me or parents and other relatives standing back to let it happen. Conversely, I could not have imagined the breathtaking beautiful love I find in all directions in my life here at Green Hope Farm. Blessedly, it’s all so much more than I could imagine.
More importantly, I am uncomfortable with this notion that we control our life experiences on a conscious level and therefore, if there is suffering in our lives, its because we are not doing the control techniques right.
There is a terrible secondary whiplash of guilt when someone tells us that it was our own negativity, our own imaginative fears that brought us all our woes. It’s a heavy grief to feel such responsibility. What an unburdening to know a wiser consciousness than my personality shapes my life, that God has given me this life in ALL its particulars. My job is not to fight the life I have been given either by trying to visualize something different or simply pretending what is happening isn’t happen. My job is to inhabit the life I have been given and make the best of it.
I don’t know how this all ties into theories of free will. Once, before my troubles with my family of origin exploded into a made for TV movie, I had a dream in which I looked at a diorama that said “Molly’s Life” on it. As I examined the diorama, I noticed that I could not move any of the pieces in the diorama, but that God was underneath this diorama holding it up. The dream ended with God winking at me. With that wink came a rush of amazing, expansive joy. I recalled this dream many times when nothing shifted in the family of origin firestorm docudrama no matter what I did. This dream and all my guidance suggested and continues to suggest that all I can do is let go and let God. So that is what I try to do.
I am not able to budge the bugs either. Way back when I first worked with the Elementals in new gardens of Green Hope Farm, I had some experiences in which big armies of ants did what I asked them to do. For some reason, it served me to have ants and other bugs listen and respond to my directions. Now they don’t respond. After the whining, I accept that it is more important for my soul to not have this kind of success redirecting any six legged creatures….. or four legged or two legged for that matter.
There was great euphoria in my early gardens at Green Hope Farm when the produce was bigger than life and the bugs were all well behaved. But I have learned more in my struggles with the bugs than when I could command them like an army general. It’s not that I sometimes am not wistful for that early time of pristine gardens, but it is in my suffering in the face of things out of my control that I have grown the most as a person. Whatever love and tenderness I bring to the table, it has grown because of difficulties not successes. I have no easy confidence that life is going to spare me bugs, but I now know that this is life’s blessing not its curse.
My life since the first years at the farm has been challenging. I have felt broken open by what I have gone through. But I also feel much more able to be a compassionate companion to others in their pain and suffering because of my own suffering. I also feel closer to God. Everything was a bit glossier when I imagined myself able to keep ants, slugs, poison ivy and difficulties at bay, but I would not go back to that place again.
One last thing I want to say in this blog.
Many years ago, I shared a book of stories about beloved Meher Baba with an old friend. He sent the book back covered in copious notes in which he put forth the view that he was sure Meher Baba was not a spiritual teacher or God realized because people around him suffered.
I am convinced that God, either in the form of a God realized being or in all the billion other forms God takes, is the ONLY consciousness that brings us suffering with complete love but that God does not spare us suffering. God sends comfort amidst suffering but God also sends the suffering. This is because God alone knows what we need to unravel from the illusions that bind us and God knows that what is needed is often suffering. Bugs, slugs, death threats, whatever God sends, it is sent with a love beyond our imagining. God knows what is needed, what is to be accomplished, and that love is the only reality even in terrible suffering.
Early one morning as I listened as best I could to the God within me, I received a message that compared the process of healing to modern surgery. It was explained that as with surgery, it is often necessary to cut things up and make things appear worse before making things better. It was suggested that if I were to walk in on an open heart surgery, I would freak out. The heart might be out of the body. Many people would be using sharp instruments. There would be blood everywhere. Yet it would be organized disorder leading to a healthier situation for the patient. So too suffering brought by God the surgeon. God knows what surgery needs to be done. God knows the most efficient operation to accomplish this. God knows how to do the operation. In God’s operating room, everything moves towards healing and oneness. Viva the Bugs! Viva the Surgery!