May 31, 2013

How I Found my Garden of Zen

When faced with your own mortality, one starts to look at the world differently. Sure we're all gonna die one day, but when the possibility of dying becomes YOUR reality, it's then, and only then, that we stop and take pause. Sure there are a few of you who have mastered the art of being centered, so much so that you joyously bound trough life, rolling with the punches, knowing that each day is a gift that's why it's called the present. I envy you. Me, I seem to haphazardly tumbled through life, aimlessly tending to whatever is set in front of me, dwelling on the past and worrying about the future. I'm never quite able to unwrap the elusive "present". Sure, I see it sitting there. And I want it bad. But as much as I want it, I tend to get wrapped up in the drama that seems to surround my life. 

I don't fancy myself a drama queen. However some may argue, and you know who you are, that perhaps I create all the drama that surrounds me. To that I say, most definitely not. I know people, again, you know who you are, who love to swirl in a sea of drama. If drama isn't happening they feel the need to create their own. Somehow I seem to attract these people like flies and there in lies the problem. Knowing this about myself, through the years I have slowly started eliminating these drama queens and kings from my life. That was my first step. 

The second step is to start surrounding myself with loving, caring people who have that thing that I want. People who live in the now. Those who choose inner peace over outward materialism. I can no longer tolerate being around those who are driven by money, power and greed. Not that I could ever handle that type of personality, but in the past took the passive approach, I made excuses for that type of behavior and looked the other way, somehow justifying their shallowness. 

Third, I need to practice being the type of person I want to meet. It sounds silly, like I'm inexperienced in how to be me. The truth is we're all a work in progress, that is the beauty of being human. We're all like a clay sculpture that is never quite complete. Our family, our life experiences both past and present, our jobs, and the people we come in contact with everyday, all play a part is molding our clay. 

Part of my studies on how to be come the me I want to be include meditation. You would think that is a simple enough task, however my personality tends to be the opposite of everything that meditation represents. I'm an over thinker, I am A.D.D., I can't sit still, I can't leave things undone, I guess I'm a bit anal retentive. These are not the best traits for someone who wishes to meditate and be in the now. The good news is, I know this about myself so I'm halfway there!

Last year Greg and I took a class on how to meditate. Again, sounds silly that we need a class on how to sit still and clear our minds. I've tried meditation on my own, on and off for years and never could figure out how to shut off my brain. So taking this class was a great way for both of us to learn techniques in silencing our overactive minds. It was an hour a week class for four weeks. Every week when I left meditation class I felt this high. My whole body was like Jello. My mind was at peace. Sadly I couldn't retain that feeling for more than an hour or so after class. Reality is a cold, cruel bitch and she came knocking on my door with a baseball bat, making sure I snapped out of it. I always thought if I could just push myself into meditation for mere 15 minutes a day, I'd become a better person and soon learn to push that bitch, reality, back out the door. 

Now that I've had mortality rattle my cage, I've sharpened my focus on creating zen moments in my life and ultimately finding my bliss. I know it will take baby steps. I also know it will require discipline and practice. Today I've started putting the process into motion by designing a meditative healing garden. During recovery from my colon resection surgery and throughout my first two cycles of chemotherapy, I have found that spending time in my screen porch is very relaxing. Sitting under the ceiling fans, gazing out at the two giant oaks and all the little critters that call them home is quite soothing. However this one corner of the yard, to the left of my porch was a big o' mess of dirt and weeds. I thought it would be great if I could brighten that spot by creating my own healing garden to serve as source of beauty and serenity on my journey to zen. 

And so I did. 

I have to give props to my trusty side kick, Hannah for all her help. 

Garden Ninjas!!!
Got all our materials gathered up!


my view from the porch

the finished product
Let the healing begin! 


  1. Don't be disappointed with 15 minutes of peace maybe tomorrow you will get 16 minutes! Or maybe none. Just settle in on that screen porch, exhale...and don't take your stopwatch. See if you can't frustrate the hell out of that anal retentive side.


  2. garden looks look great!! thinking of you every day!
    phone and email still work...
    love, your seester, Lex

  3. PS...gardening is good for the soul!

  4. Linda, we hope you find some calm in your lovely patch of peace......thank you Hannah for helping. It looks lovely.
    Love you, Beryl & Rog

  5. I saw your link on the colon club. I smile as I read your blog. It will be two years in July since I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. I am currently NED. I smile because as horrific as it all can be, I have learned to quiet my chatty mind since studying meditation. Yep, I never could do it on my own, but as you say facing mortality helps open up that mind with a little help from someone to guide the experience. Your garden is lovely and so connected. Stay strong.

    Light and love. Laura Bennett

  6. thank you all for your supportive comments.... they help more than you know!