Honoring the Web of Life

Posted on in On Our Radar by Kathryn Hall

Harvest with Gratitude


It happened that while my daughter and I were living in Amsterdam in the seventies, a small community named Findhorn was garnering headlines in Scotland. Many readers might well be familiar with Peter and Eileen Caddy’s story. Peter, a Scottish businessman, and his wife, Eileen, found themselves making an unlikely move to Findhorn, north of Edinburgh, where their inner guidance directed them to begin a garden. The locals smirked behind their backs, as the land was quite sandy and arid and salty, and farmers were certain Peter was truly daft and delusional to try to grow anything on such land. But Peter and Eileen were true to their inner directives and began to cultivate many varieties of vegetables and plants. Then an extraordinary thing happened: vegetables and flowers grew beyond what any one could expect even on good land in the area. So much so that the Queen of England sent her botanical experts to find out what was occurring at Findhorn. An entire community grew out of that single impulse.

What occurred at Findhorn began as an internal journey. Eileen and her friend Dorothy Maclean meditated daily for guidance. One of Eileen’s keen directives was that it is important to show respect for the plants with which we work. I found this fascinating and began to take her wisdom to heart. Eileen counseled that we humbly ask for permission, or at least advise a plant if we are to cut off its flowers or reap its fruit. In light of this, it became my practice to extend a grateful energy toward any plant from which I am about to harvest a flower, vegetable, or fruit.

The times I find myself in a hurry—perhaps just needing a flower here or there to freshen a faltering bouquet—and omitting this simple ritual of respect, I usually catch myself, stop, breathe, and begin again. What a difference! The sheer act of extending a conscious gratitude toward the plants that provide me sustenance, medicinal support, and beauty improves the tenor of my own life tenfold. No, a thousandfold!

I do not take the plants for granted. I try diligently to hold them in reverence, as I hold all life in reverence. I still pull up weeds and kill bugs that may cross my path. And I will. But in honoring the common life force that governs us all, regardless of our seeming superiority or inferiority, I add to a body of information, to a lifestyle, to a religiosity that only enhances life on planet Earth for us all.

a man with a shovel

We are, indeed, all connected. The Bible says, “His eye is on the sparrow, so I know He’s watching me.” This implies that the Universe’s benevolence is extended to all the creatures of the earth. It would be a travesty to believe that we are any more important in the scheme of things, even if we are different. We all have our place, our contributions, our strengths and weaknesses in the connected web of life, and we rely on each other, species to species, to exist. Extending gratitude, respect, reverence, and a gentle countenance toward that which supports us, no matter how seemingly small, is a worthy practice and holds the power to transform the quality of our lives and the days and nights of all who live among us.

Excerpted from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden by Kathryn Hall. PlantWhateverBringsYouJoy.com

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