- A Mystic Garden: Working With Soil, Attending to Soul
Gunilla Norris pays close attention to her feelings and emotions, the inner changes and questions that come to her, as she does repetitive tasks in the garden. She finds that the garden is a place for learning patience, letting go of the need to control, and leaving behind expectations of how things will turn out. In an excerpt, she shares the ways tending a garden nurtures us.
- Ghosts in the Garden: Reflections on Endings, Beginnings, and the Unearthing of the Self
Beth Kephart describes the healing powers of a weekly trip to Chanticleer, a peaceful and luscious 30-acre garden outside Philadelphia which became for her a mini-spiritual retreat. She writes: "I was drawn to the changeability of things. To see how the clenched fist of a bud would grow suddenly generous and unfurl. To see how something limp or pale in color would take a stand and intensify. I was drawn to the birds that were drawn to the trees and sang songs they never sang in my back yard." In an excerpt, she writes about the garden and transformation.
- Spiritual Gardening: Creating Sacred Space Outodoors
Peg Streep explores ten different types of gardens honored in many of the world religions. She also examines gardening as a spiritual exercise with suggestions on working with colors, using gates and pathways, how to plant for companions of spirit, and ways to acknowledge the cycles of time.
- Inner Gardening: A Seasonal Path to Inner Peace
Diane Dreher notes that human beings have always enjoyed gardens as connections to the Earth and ways to witness growth from the earliest subsistence gardens of 7,000 years ago to the medieval pleasure gardens, the seventeenth century devotional gardens, to the modern "show" gardens of suburbia. The author relates composting, watering, weeding, mulching, sowing, pruning, and fertilizing to the spiritual ideals of renewal, balance, order, patience, presence, attention, and care. In an excerpt, Dreher presents composting as something that can lead to a transformation of your relationship to the past.
- Anatomy of a Rose: Exploring the Secret Life of Flowers
Sharman Apt Russell ponders the beauty and the incredible variety of flowers. She enthuses: "This is pure spectacle, worthy of P.T. Barnum's greatest show on Earth." Russell will draw out your delight in the loveliness and the bounty of flowers. They provide us with ample evidence of Earth's enduing marvels.
- The Japanese Way of the Flower: Ikebana as Moving Meditation
H. E. Davey and Ann Kameoka present a sturdy and illuminating examination of kado, the Japanese art of flower arrangement. This art contains meditation exercises and aims for harmony, asymmetrical balance, artlessness, impermanence, and oneness with the universe. They tell an old Japanese legend: "A young girl came to her local well to draw water, only to discover that a trailing vine had wound itself around the rope that pulled the bucket. Baking in the sunlight, a single blossom had opened itself to the day. The girl savored the flower's beauty for a few moments. Then, in order not to disturb the plant, she walked out of her way to the next well to draw water. This is an example of union with the 'flower heart.' "
- Cultivating Sacred Space: Gardening for the Soul
Elizabeth Murray takes us on an enlightening tour of 12 gardens of transformation including the Kokedera (Moss) Temple in Kyoto, Japan; Monet's Water Lily Garden in Giverny, France; the Esalen Institute Gardens in Big Sur, California, and Mary Holmes's Gardens in Santa Cruz, California. The 80 full-color photographs and illustrations make this a beautiful and profound meditation on gardening for the soul.
- The Lively Garden Prayer Book
William Cleary is a poet and a composer who regards prayer as a light-hearted, imaginative, and gladsome adventure that enables us to see, touch, hear, smell, and taste the "Green Spirit God" in the backyard. Cleary guides us into the garden and takes the side and perspective of the vegetables, flowers, and creatures who reside there. In an excerpt, he talks about manure as a transformative vehicle and spiritual teacher.
- Inheriting Paradise: Meditations on Gardening
Vigen Guroian discusses his garden as something that has given him insights into the cycle of the church year: there are meditations on Lent, Pentecost, Transfiguration, and Christmas. At one point, he suggests that we see ourselves as God's garden; thanks to the divine miracle of grace we can open our petals and shine with beauty.
- Creating Eden: The Garden as a Healing Space
Marilyn Barrett, a psychotherapist and photographer, shares the pleasures of tending her garden. She states: "Planting a garden is an act of optimism. When you plant a seed, you put hope in the ground. Your trust is in the future when there is no present sign that life will come." As we take care of our gardens, we are nourishing our souls in a greater appreciation of the abundance of life.
- Spiritual Gardening: Cultivating Love through Caring for Plants
Judith Handelsman presents five attitude changes that grow out of the process of spiritual gardening. One is stop treating plants as objects and cherish your reciprocal relationship with them. This audio presentation is a fine example of everyday spirituality.
- The Faithful Gardener
Clarissa Pinkola Estes tells a grace-infused parable about God's garden and the joys of loving seeds, trees, and the good Earth.
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