Monday, July 09, 2012

Day 9: Some story and a nature orientation to our mindfulness

 Home grown food, in a second big garden in Sonoma, a later story, the Chris and Marlie story.
But food and land and sleeping outside and making big gardens (the smallest at 1/3 acre, the largest at 3 out of an available 5 acres) are part of the running theme of Sonoma. (And Feldenkrais/ Anat Baniel come along then. And the work of Byron Katie. Good times. Below's a beginning introduction.)

Once upon a time I was enthralled with healing the Earth. I am dedicated to it, just now, but not enthralled. But then, I was living in Berkeley and making a living taking advantage of landscape design and garden creating as chance to do the Gurdjieff meditation full time, and was more or more obsessed with high quality food and the Berkeley farmers markets. I got to know the farmers, got to love and thrive on the food and had this wish: move to the country, become an organic farmer, do it.

This gal I was with, Jeri Lynn, was a garden lover too, and she finished her masters degree in Landscape Architecture and we both wanted out of Berkeley, no matter how amazing it was. To top that off, I’d had the good fortune to “try” out a Permaculture course, and Bill Mollison was one of the two teachers, and my question of “How in the hell are they going to teach about gardening for two weeks,” become, “How did I not know this system for relating to the Earth as a whole? I wanted access to land.

We found the place: Sonoma, California, about an hour from the bay area. We visualized a cottage with meadow and woods and creek and got them. There was a public garden, 5 acres donated by a school teacher on her death to the city of Sonoma, being managed by the Sonoma Ecology Center. The farmer there was going crazy.

After a summer of growing amazing food and making about 50 cents a pound on organic tomatoes, I was ready to take advantage of this land, which needed a visionary and an active garden maker, but I didn’t want a farm. I wanted a total permaculture ecological demonstration garden. There was already a water system and a straw bale barn on the place, and I put in grape arbors and paths and created a double ring of fruit trees with a circumferences of 150 and 130 feet. Vegetables inside. Lavender and thyme and rose beds elsewhere.

The Garden continues, now called the Sonoma Garden park. I got about 3 acres up and running ( there was a square orchard already as part of the given), and then this and that happened.

That’s for later.

For now, for today, to continue the mindfulness play:
take nature into your mindfulness practice today.
See how much time you can sneak or creak or zip or zap outdoors and spend time walking or bike riding or swimming, with a couple of places for your attention.

One: the glory of nature.
Two: your body in motion, and the pleasure of that, and the actual sensation of where your arms and legs and spine-pelvis-head are.
Three: the light coming in thing.
Four: the sound coming in thing.
Five: Feelings and thoughts as flickerings. Be mindful of them as additions to the first four and then come back to now and nature, if you can.
If we yank ourselves into being present, it’s not really going to work.
Nature (usually) doesn't yank (though the waves do crash and the lightning does strike and the fires do burn, and today: let's do the breezes and the grass growing up to delight in the sun aspect of our nature.

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