By Deb Soule I have been gardening and studying the medicinal uses of herbs for 20 years. The process of gathering seeds, planting them the following spring, and watching them grow and flower and produce seed is truly a miracle. I feel deeply grateful that my life is centered around gardening and making and dispensing herbal medicines.
The practice of planting seeds, tending seedlings, and nourishing soil has become more meaningful for me because of mindfulness practice. Chimes and bells hanging from a maple tree and hops trellis have become the mindfulness bells in my one-acre garden. Beginning my 12-hour work days in the summer months with walking and sitting meditation in the garden has helped me be more present and enjoy the many tasks a garden asks of the gardener. Bowing to newly planted seedlings and to herbs and vegetables I am about to harvest has become part of my daily practice. The myriad colors, fragrances, and shapes in the garden intertwined with practice are what offer me hope in these times of great suffering. Each time I plant a seed and watch it sprout, I know this is also possible as I cultivate my practice.
Deb Soule lives in Rockland, Maine. She is author of The Roots of Healing: A Woman's Book of Herbs.