Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Resilience of Life—Spiritual Teachings from the Garden

DSC07324Of all the sunflowers that I planted last year, the one that flourished most was a surprise to me. I transplanted a handful of seedlings to the yard. They grew and grew. They also became tasty treats for grasshoppers as evidenced by the holes left behind in the leaves. One day, I noticed one plant’s stem was sawed in half. It was hanging on by a thread.

“What did this?” I wondered and felt sad for the little plant.

My neighbour suggested it might have been a cutworm. I didn’t have the heart to pluck it out of the ground. So I left it.


Gradually, the plant formed a scar at the cut and the stem became thicker there. The stem formed a right angle and continued to grow up. The stem became thicker than the other sunflowers that grew tall but were thin and flimsy.

The plant eventually recovered and produced more flowers than any of the others. The cut, the scar, the regrowth and regeneration of the plant actually seemed to make it hardier and more resilient than the others. What a lesson!

This year, it was the same routine. I transplanted seedlings to the yard outside my window. There was another plant already starting to grow out there. At first I thought it was a weed but suspected it could be a sunflower so I left it. And indeed, to my delight,  it was a sunflower! Now this sunflower that planted itself from last year’s seeds is doing brilliantly. It exceeds the others in height and number of blossoms. Nature has produced something more amazing than I could have planned or prepared myself.


I don’t consider myself a serious gardener. I put seeds or roots in pots and see what I can nurture into life. This is what the garden teaches me: to be humble, to be open to surprise, to respect the land. It is always an experiment full of surprises and lessons.


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River Prayer

DSC06688For years, rivers and creeks have called me into a practice of prayer. From the river flowing from Lac Leman to the creeks that feed Okanagan Lake, I have been inspired to reflect on the movement of the water.


Standing on a bridge or on a bank near the river facing downstream: I identify all that I need to let go. All the things I don’t know I need to let go of, I surrender to the wisdom of the Almighty One.


Facing upstream, arms wide:  I identify all that I am open to receive. I am open to surprise, mystery, grace, guidance.

As I open my posture and my spirit to this practice, the sound of the water washes over me, cleanses me, makes me feel renewed and whole.DSC06438

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