Spiritual lessons of gardening
(1) Minimal intervention (the Tao): I set up the soil and make sure plants get the right amount of water daily. Beyond that, there is not much to do. I trust in ways and wisdom of nature. In Taoist philosophy, this is called wu-wei, which means "non-doing" or "without exertion".
(2) Giving and receiving (Grace): Somehow what you give to the garden (your intention & effort) will be returned abundantly. Words cannot describe the wonder and joy that goes with harvesting vegetables and flowers that you planted merely as seeds some months earlier.
(3) Yin-Yang, Death & Resurrection: Funk and decay (i.e., compost) gives life to plants and to us. Often in life, the funk - that which we fear and resist - is that which makes us grow. Moreover, in gardening the "circle of life" is not merely heady philosophizing; rather, it is something that you witness and get involved with experientially hands on.
(4) Awake in the here & now: Even though there is minimal intervention in gardening, I learn to be attentive to each plant - a similar kind of alertness when I kept an eye on my kids while they played in the playground as toddlers. When I garden, I am awake - my senses are fully engaged.
(5) Gardening is Christ-like work: It provides the opportunity to practice compassion, kindness, & patience (1 Cor. 13: 4-8). This article talks about the history of the depiction of Jesus as a gardener "as one who 'plants' us and grows us [and the one who] gets his hands dirty in the soil of our hearts, bringing us to life and cultivating us with care so that we flourish."
Garden Motifs & Themes
I tap into particular spiritual-mythological archetypes, and explore how they might complement the life of garden plants within the southwest landscape and culture. They include: the labyrinth, the cairn, the bridge, the sun/moon, the circle, spiral shape, & local southwest desert animals. The overall design has also been influenced by Japanese zen gardens.
Free garden art consultation
If you are interested in commissioning me to enhance your garden with art (example, garden poles, or perhaps a mural of an ancient mythological archetype that is meaningful to you), contact me to schedule a free consultation.