Doing my spring garden clean-up, I observed the trunks of two lilac bushes I planted last year. Plants amaze me. The trunks have thickened and spread, despite winter’s freezing temperatures. The lilacs had stuck it out, made the decision that they are here to stay, at least for the summer. I receive so much wisdom from my garden. Unlike me, plants don’t tizzy about being disciplined and consistent. Plants know what they are here to do. They don’t threaten procrastinate to grow and bloom. They just do it!
Much of my summer is devoted to nurturing plants and growing vegetables. In March, I order vegetable and flower seeds. April is reserved for cleaning up from the winter, pulling weeds, and determining what herbs and perennials made it through the winter. By the middle of May, I’ve pretty much established a routine, and can make the switch to maintenance. I get up a bit earlier, especially if it’s going to be a sweltering hot day, water a bit, and maybe move some potted plants to the shade.
I devote time and energy to my sanctuary, my house. I just finished having new siding installed on the front (that seems like an oxymoron, front siding). And there is some electrical work that’s coming up next month, some new lights, and ceiling fans. I got an estimate for central air three years ago, to the tune of $5,000 per floor. Summer is my least favorite season, and the only thing that I enjoy about it is gardening. I can do without the heat and the humidity, but I will pass on that central air installation. When the heat comes on strong, I’ll simply turn on the fan, drink plenty of water and catch up on some reading.
Then there’s the writing and blogging. I’m more focused on how the belief in working and earning affects our relationships with just about everything. I attribute that sharpened focus to watching my mind, being more attentive to the “being present,” which also helps me to be more grounded in the physical experience. The wake-up, curve balls, that I didn’t realize I was throwing myself, have all but ceased, and the inner conflict is being transmuting to peace.
Every morning now, there is meditation, yoga, and journaling: forgiveness, release, acceptance, and gratitude, a replacement to the struggle to order my day, and at the end of it, being exhausted from trying to get a 2 day list of tasks accomplished in 12 hours. The 15 minutes of meditation and restorative yoga before my feet hit the floor allows me to find that frequency that I ride through the day. Meditation and journaling open me up, allowing me to see the relationship between what I believe, the thoughts I entertain and the behaviors which I find so annoying. Procrastination is one of those behaviors.
For 2 years I have said that I would stop driving, and there are several reasons for the decision. Oil wars is one. I am so sick and fucking tired of these constructed pretenses for invasion and resource theft. I know that my absence at the pump once a week will not keep the U.S. military from stealing oil. But I cannot live in peace knowing that I could do more to reduce my own contribution to the theft and plundering of the Earth’s blood.
Second I have come to deplore sitting in traffic, looking for parking spaces and avoiding parking tickets; then my car sits in the garage a little over 6 months out of the year. When I am in Philadelphia, I drive 2-3 times each week, to the grocery store, in the summer, to the nursery, and then to visit West Philadelphia, which is accessible by public transportation.
Last month, accepting that I procrastinate and accepting that I don’t like it one bit, from a place of peace, I stopped talking about ending the driving experience and “began” taking public transportation in an effort to ween myself from sitting behind the wheel. I’ve become familiar with bus routes and schedules. I bought a small cart with wheels that I can take to the downtown market when necessary. And since none of the Whole Checks are easily accessible by public transportation, I will frequent another organic grocery store that is. Yesterday I made a roundtrip of 3 hours. I took along some knitting and finished a section of a skirt. Week before last, on the train from the suburbs, I finished 3 chapters of a book that I am reviewing.
Then there is the cost of insurance, gas, and maintenance—all of which can now go towards something earth friendly. It feels good to be doing, instead of procrastinating and threatening to do.
With releasing the car and driving time, I’ve become more aware of time and how I use it. I realize that I have wasted a lot of precious time, and as a student of A Course In Miracles, that time is not real, that eternity embraces time. But it is tragic to waste any aspect of eternity as far as I am concerned. Concerned for how I will manage to live in the 21st century without a car, my friend asked me, “But what if you want to go someplace that you can’t get to by public transportation?” Simple, I told her. I don’t go and I make the choice to remain at home. If there is someplace that I absolutely have to go and I can’t get there by public transportation or if the use of public transportation is not feasible, like for hauling big-ass 10-15 lbs. bags of mulch, then I will rent a car or hire a service.
Here’s another example of my procrastination. For nearly two decades I have had the desire to make clothing, women’s clothing; one of a kind, art to wear pieces, knit, crochet, felt, embroidered. But all I’ve done is talk. Procrastinating and talking about the project was starting to make me nauseous and frantic. So I accepted that I had not made one damn thing, accepted that I was pissed off about it, accepted that I could find no justification for why the project had not manifested. I just relaxed and made peace with my stuck-ness.
Then something miraculous happened. I began receiving so much information about fashion and the fashion industry: the pollution, the waste, the cheap labor, the greed. It had a profound impact on my life. I stay the hell out of retail stores now, unless I have to buy underwear, shoes, things that I will not wear and are not sold second hand, like panties. I discovered eco-fashion, botanical alchemist India Flint, repurposing and upcycling. The ideas began to flow, ideas that are in alignment with what I have come to know.
In A Course of Love in the chapter on acceptance, I read something that spoke to my heart and my habit of procrastination. It says that until we accept who we are, where we are and make peace with it, nothing can change. So now when I am feeling any kind of resistance, frustration or procrastination, I know it’s because I am in a state of non-acceptance: it could be a day when it’s raining, a day I planned to be in the garden. I accept the rainy day, and I accept that I don’t like having to scrap my garden time. Inevitably as the day passes, I realize that being inside brought an abundance of peace, even though staying inside wasn’t my choice.
I am beginning to understand why Jesus counseled us to observe the lilies in the field. Lilies and lilacs, like the ones in my garden don’t procrastinate; they don’t resist being who they are. The lilac bush doesn’t bloom in December (not in zone 5b). A white lilac is not going to display purple flowers or branches with thorns. It accepts that as a lilac bush, it is in relationship with something quite grand, even Divine and growing and blooming is simply what it does.
May 6, 2017