Nancy Lawson believes that all creatures — from skunks to snails — have their own important (and helpful!) place in your garden.
I have been taught that we are all blessed; some more than others, it would seem. However, everyone on the face of the planet, has at least one thing he or she could be thankful for. Another well-learned lesson is that being thankful is a prerequisite for future blessings. An old gospel song states” … the blessings will come down as the praise goes up…” and similarly the importance of gratitude can be measured from the platitude “it is more blessed to give, than to receive.” It is my hope, that even though we as human beings like to receive more than we give; that we at least express our thanks as much as we receive. Following are the five things that I am perpetually thankful for.
One of the first things I am thankful for is life, for without life, there is nothing. As long as we can awake and can breathe in a new day, our world is filled with promise. Encyclopaedia Britannica has defined life as “living matter that shows certain attributes which include responsiveness, growth, metabolism, energy transformation, and reproduction,” basically all the functions that separate living organisms from dead ones.
Our lives consist of twenty hours every day and as long as we are free from mental or physical confinement we choose how to fill those 24 hours; whether we are happy or sad, stressed or energetic, productive or lazy or any combination of the above. I chose to fill my 24 hours with happiness, productive time, relaxation and if possible, adventure.
As it happens, we are born into families and later if we are lucky, we also become part of creating a family. Family may be nuclear or extended but extends also into the wider group, the clan and the village. In today’s living arrangements, the clan is not as important as it used to be, for with private property; families rarely live in the same immediate location. I am thankful for my family which is God’s gift to me, inclusive of my ancestors who have paved our way. Despite the fact that relationships of any sort are not easy to maintain, the gift of people who are connected to you by blood is very special, truly unique and valuable. Trust me, if you don’t think so now you will see it later.
My garden is a magical place for me, this is where there is time for thought, quiet reflection and where some of life’s problems may be solved. More importantly, the garden spells hope for life, self sufficiency and food security. I also love being able to take simple cures from the garden. A great man once said that “the land turns to gold in the hands of the wise”. Another sage also purported that if one looked deeply into nature, one would understand everything better. With all these great things said, what is there not to like about a garden?
- Relative freedom/liberty
Compared to some other countries in the world, where I live is a very peaceful and stable environment. Yes, we have our economic challenges but I would not trade this rock for anywhere else… at this point in my life.
Last but certainly not least, health is one of the things for which I am thankful. Health is wealth. If there is ill health, gone is all the vigour and vitality to enjoy what life has to offer, whether it is family, the garden or freedom. Health is the glue that holds it all together. Love and health are akin and can be found in everything that I enjoy as they bind life together in a very special package.
“ Thanksgiving “ by Ralph Waldo Emerson pretty much sums up how I feel about all the things I am thankful for:
For each new morning with its light,
for rest and shelter of the night,
for health and food,
for love and friends,
for everything Thy goodness sends.
I have shared with you readers, five things in my life that I am eternally thankful for. Now it is your turn: What things do you value in your life?
I found that I need recharging, some inspiration so that I could work smarter, rather than harder. The following quote provided theneeded adjustment I required, which put it all into perspective:
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
‒ Robert Louis Stevenson
It is my sincere hope that it does the same for you.
As I sat gazing through my bedroom window, I watched with absolute fascination the interplay of bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, slowly weaving their way from flower to flower in the garden. This vivid picture of studied determination, singular focus and unwavering diligence reminds me that having purpose is one of the greatest necessities of successful living. These different entities of God’s creation carry out their duties assiduously without animosity, competition or infighting. The sole goal is simply to successfully complete the assigned task. I think to myself, that as humans, we have a lot to learn from the supposedly lesser animal kingdom.
We have often heard that together everyone achieves more. Simply put, this may be seen as just buzz words but when we study the birds and bees at work, we discover how very relevant those words are. If everyone committed to a single goal, work diligently towards its completion, moving forward with alacrity, never complaining, never comparing ; just focusing on doing his or her best, how much more would we be able to accomplish in a single day, week, month, year or decade. Just imagine the possibilities if we did this on a global basis. The sky would be the limit!
A good friend of mine is fond of saying that we need not be unified in our beliefs to be united in our intentions. How sage is this advice! Think about this: Jews, Christians, Moslems all have different beliefs but all are looking forward to the return of their Saviour. Therefore, they can put aside their differences and focus on getting ready to greet their Saviour, even if they all believe that He is a different being. In fact, let us all put aside our differences and work for our common purpose, goals, aspirations and needs and help each other along the way. Consider the birds, bees and butterflies at work in the common act of pollinating the garden.
I truly believe that” earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed,” as propounded by Mahatma Gandhi more than sixty-six years ago. We are hearing discussions increasingly that there are too many people living on the planet. My question is this: on what basis has that been decided? Again, if they really were more people than there were existing resources, and I seriously doubt that, who would be responsible for determining who were the excess persons and on what basis would those persons be selected to be sacrificed? These are all questions to ponder.
In addition, how could there be scarce resources when there is so much wastage daily on the planet, and how could there be so much poverty when multinationals have trillions of dollars. Where does this money go? Who does this money benefit? Isn’t the Earth the Almighty God’s and the fullness thereof? If so, why then do some own so much and others own so little? At the very least, the Earth is able to provide something for every single person to eat, wear and to take care of themselves every single day. Didn’t the Almighty God say that he would look after the sparrows?
Therefore, we must acknowledge that there is enough abundance for us and it is only greed that is affecting its distribution and is therefore manufacturing so- called scarce resources. The blame is squarely at the door of whoever came up with” demand and supply “and therefore encouraged men to think of ways of diminishing supply so as to create increased demand. This is manipulation of abundant resources and of the earth’s people, surely , all in the name of commerce and consequently of what the Most High intended for us.
Let us proceed to uncover and enjoy the abundance of life.
I would be very grateful for your thoughts on this important matter. Does Mother Earth offer abundance or scarcity for her people?
From time to time, we need to examine ourselves. Know Thy Self!
Gardening is my passion as it is an activity which gives me a feeling of completeness. By completeness, I refer to an activity that not only is exciting and rewarding but has an effect on my total person; mind, body, and spirit.
Gardening has a spiritual component, as the very act of planting a seed is spiritual since it embodies the whole act of creation from conception to birth, growth, maturity, and death.
In terms of the physical, gardening involves the strenuous task of digging, and the lesser demanding activities of pruning, weeding and watering. Much exercise is obtained in performing these simple tasks, which provides a workout equivalent to time spent in the gym.
Regarding the element of mind, the emotions are satisfied in the garden by the sheer beauty of the flowers, nuances in green foliage and the amazing diversity of colour.
Elements and connection to nature
In the garden, it is always possible to feel connected to nature, not only due to the flora but also because of the myriad array of bees, birds, butterflies and insects that frequent there. Notably also, gardening always comprises at least three of the main elements of creation; namely, earth, wind and water. In ancient civilisations, the fourth element of fire was employed when slash and burn agriculture was practised. In fact, the fourth element is still a feature of some modern gardens in colder climates, in the form of a fire pit.
Finally, a garden embodies the concept of completeness, in relation to the perpetual growth from seed to fruit to seed again, and in the experience of simply being in the garden; in terms of that feeling of time standing still, of love, tranquillity, a job well done and of an infinite peace with the world.
c. October 2014. All rights reserved.