New Kale Bed, My First Experience with Yoga Nidra, Spring Smudging, and Contentment

This weekend’s garden work included planting a giant kale bed. A good 25 to 30-foot-long, 3-foot-wide row of two varieties of kale seeds were sown Saturday, adjacent to the greens bed. We’ve been getting down on greens a lot, and kale is a favorite. The Italian-import seeds cost $7. Seven dollars for a summer of the freshest, organic kale. Growing your own food is a bargain.

We also cleaned up the front flower bed and planted sunflower and cosmos seeds there. But I have a vision of carpets of sunflowers, so more seeds are being ordered. 2017 just feels like the year of big, beautiful sunflowers.

In the flower bed, lots of perennials are coming back. Lilies, lemon balm, beach rose, hydrangea, sage, columbine, clematis (on the arbor), thyme, lavender, red tulips, hyacinth, purple salvia, and hostas are all appearing. The later-returning varieties are yet to pop up.

My husband mowed the lawn, and together, we pulled a lot of stubborn weeds. I turned the compost pile for the first time since October. Those seed bombs I made last week were tossed by the wood line next to the house. It will be fun to see what sprouts there. Seed bombs are my new favorite thing.

Inside, the two new Basjoo banana trees that arrived a couple of weeks ago looking dead have recovered and are growing fast. In a couple of weeks, all three Basjoos will be planted at the front perimeter of the house, which gets about four hours of sun early in the day.

This will be best for bananas, which like some sun, but don’t like to bake in it all day. Aside from the food gardens, these banana trees are the things I’m most excited about this year.

Regarding things other than gardening but which are still awesome, I went to my first Yoga Nidra class this weekend. Putting it simply, Yoga Nidra – also called yogic sleep - is a relaxation/meditation technique involving no stretching or isometrics. The goal of the practice is a deep, relaxed meditation, a mind somewhere between waking and sleeping - a blissful state called ‘Samadhi’.

I loved it. It’s non-competitive and very soothing. It forces the mind to stop spinning and releases endorphins: a potent, relaxing, natural high. I felt chill and happy afterwards.

I’ve decided to add red impatiens at the outdoor shrine. Red is an auspicious color in Buddhism. At our front doorstep, all our flowers have always been red. If turquoise didn’t exist, red would be my favorite color. I think the shrine is going to be beautiful this year.

I’ve been on a serious Vietnamese summer roll jag. I’m burning through rice paper wrappers, and we can’t keep enough raw veggies in the house. I just know I’m going to do this until I’m sick of them and can’t eat them for a year. In the meantime, I’m getting lots of raw veggies and hogging lots of incredible Vietnamese dipping sauces.

Today is May 1. We had amazing weather this weekend, especially on Saturday, when it reached 83 degrees here. Working on the gardens Saturday, we were both sweating like crazy, and drinking tons of water, and the detox felt great. I was barefoot all day of course, but noticed that my winter feet have become pretty tender. More barefoot earthing will remedy that.

Sunday cooled down a bit, and the next couple of weeks are going to be on the cool side. I feel like Skyping Mother Earth and asking her to usher in summer once and for all.

My husband and I went to the shoreline Sunday. The beach is gorgeous any time of year. I grabbed some beach sand for our bowl incense burner. This morning, I burned Tibetan healing incense through the house.

While we were at the shore, we stopped at Foodworks nearby. I picked up the usual Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (eucalyptus this time), turmeric root, ginger root, peppermint essential oil (imperative for summer showers), magnesium oil spray, and bananas. I also grabbed three sage smudges for spring housecleaning.

I know that smudging gets the side-eye from some people, but I do it, especially after a long winter. Native Americans have long known the efficacy of sacred herbs and have used them to clear negative energies from their homes and other spaces.

If you need some science to feel better about it, burning herbs like sage releases negative ions into the air, which balance and purify the atmosphere, facilitate breathing, and enhance mood.

Our garden sage provides lots of smudging herbs for winter, but we ran out this year. I prefer using our own, but the smudge sticks at Foodworks are good too. We’ll smudge the house and the property and gardens this coming weekend.

Things are good. My husband and I are both grappling with very ill, very loved family members, and that’s sad and stressful. But in a convo we had this weekend, we agreed to be content with whatever happens.

The magic starts when we release those stubborn delusions of control. We have control over nothing and nobody. Sickness and hard times come, and there’s nothing to be done about it except accept it with grace.

Life is chock full of insane beauty and incredible happiness. We’re both learning to hug the good things hard, and be grateful for them. Live honestly and with integrity, travel light, give away everything you can, spread peace everywhere you go, forgive all, love without conditions, be kind to animals, read a lot of books, eat a lot of Vietnamese summer rolls, and everything will be just fine. We’re all going to be just fine.

Live in peace.

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