We have been talking about the ascension and moving into a new world. I agree that things are changing and need to continue changing in our government, political system, banking and business industry, agriculture/husbandry, medical practices, to support fairness to all humans and to respect ecological and environmental integrity. However, we have to live in the world as it in right now while holding to the vision of how we want to see the world as it moves into wholeness and loving expression that respects diversity and all of life.
For the world to change, there has to be an inward shift toward accepting all of our gifts and weaknesses without judgment. This reminiscing about my own character and how I approach life reminds me of some great things my elders have taught me.
I began my gardening education when I was about nine years old. I got my plowing license when I was a teenager and my grandfather “Pap” taught me how to lay off a straight row. He told me to fix my gaze upon an object in the distance and move toward it. “Don’t look at the ground or where you have been,” he would say. “Keep looking straight ahead at that tree—it ain’t gonna move!”
This photo that I found at http://thegardenofoz.org/handcult.asp is the kind of push plow we used to lay off rows in our garden. (The man in this picture is looking at the ground, which make me wonder how straight his rows will be.)
If my row came out crooked, I had to do it over because if the rows were too close together, we would not be able to get the rototiller between the rows without tearing up the vegetable plants. We kept the path between the rows cleared so the weeds did not rob the crops of vital nutrients. Of course we planted by the signs using The Farmer’s Almanac.
I had to do many a row over, but it taught me patience and to respect my own mistakes. My grandfather would not say a word if he saw my row getting bowed or crooked during the process. He would sit on the bench in the shade and wait until I got to the other end of the row. Then he would ask me to look at what I had done. I often wondered why he did not stop me in the middle of the row instead of letting me do the entire row crooked. It took a lot of strength to get the plow through one row of that dense Georgia red clay.
The lessons this quiet man provided me were many:
- If you want to reach a goal, you must stay focused, not wavering back and forth.
- Keep the weeds out of your path in life.
- Pay attention to the signs the earth and heaven give you.
- Know when it’s time to sow in faith, when it’s time to wait patiently, and when it’s time to reap your reward.
- Learn to trust your feelings/intuition to get you through difficult times.
- Don’t be too quick to judge—sometimes things seem right when they are not, and the opposite is also true. Hindsight is 20/20, they say.
- Don’t tell others what to do—let them figure it out on their own. If you need them to reconsider their actions, state your request firmly without emotion.
- Practice makes better, not perfect. We are all entitled to our mistakes. Blaming does not fix a problem. Do-overs are allowed.
- If you are wrong, make amends. Don’t be angry if you have to do something over to make it better.
- There are times when you get to sit in the shade and supervise!
Pap’s wife, Nanny, was my gardening partner as well. She and I continued to plant, harvest, and preserve food together for years after Pap died. Nanny taught me to never give up and always hope for the best. She has been bedridden since 2008. She is partially blind and deaf, has dementia, and deals with pain every day. She has been such a blessing to me and so many others. She celebrated her 99th birthday on July 11, 2015 with her five generations of her family around her, many driving in from other states to be with her.
My grandparents’ legacy lives on through me and the values they instilled in me. I see these virtues in my children who are teaching them to their children. Maybe the change we are looking for in the world is in our own DNA.