by Andrew Pacholyk, MS L.Ac
from his exciting new book, Lead Us To A Place ~ your spiritual journey through life’s seasons.

Gardens have been associated with our spirituality throughout history. From the Gardens of Eden and Gethsemani to the Gardens of Haifa and Earthly Delights, these sanctuaries have great healing and curative powers. I love being able to meditate in a summer garden. The air is clean, the scent of flowers drift by throughout the day and offer up a visually breath-taking combination of colors. It is a wonderful way to connect to God.

For as long as I could remember, my mom and dad created beautiful gardens around our home each summer. I will never forget the unbridled pageantry and natural allure the gardens would offer. From every color in the rainbow to the creatures they would attract, it seems everyone is attracted to flowers and herbs growing in a garden.

From “secret gardens” and Japanese style gardens to floral, vegetable and English gardens, the opportunity for creating a bed of flowers is endless.  A garden is a sacred place. It is a place to contemplate, entertain, meditate or simply to wander and enjoy its beauty.

Creating a garden is as easy as marking out the area for the plantings and bringing to it, all the items that make it your own.

Planting a garden for summer flowers should start around mid-April and no later than early May. Till and turn up the soil. To keep away such pests as snails and slugs, create a border with crushed egg shells or coarse sand around the perimeter of the soil.

Have a clear intention for your garden. Will your garden have a theme?  Which plants and flowers will you add to it? What colors are you hoping to see?  Will you add additional elements such as a bird house, crystals, garden objects?   How will you place these elements in your garden?

You can grid your garden out, either in your head or on paper. Sketch out what you would like to see. Create borders, high and low points, areas with space around them so that larger flowers will have room to grow and spread out. Learn which two flowers look good together, which flowers will attract butterflies and where you will place a garden bench, fountain or bird bath.

A tribute to the elements may be added to enhance the “flow of energy” by placing the appropriate color of plant, object or shape into your garden. In Feng Shui, we balance the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Therefore, the water element may be assisted by adding a fountain in the north. Red flowers in the south would enhance the fire element, bringing more sun. A wind chime in the west and white flowers in the northwest would enhance the metal element. Tall, thin trees in the east and a wooden arbor in the southeast can be used to strengthen the wood element or growth. A stone sculpture as the centerpiece of the garden with yellow flowers in the northeast and decorative rocks in the southwest would add a balancing touch.

Like any spiritual practice, once your garden is planted, you must nurture it every day.  As the flowers grow tall, you can stake them so that they won’t fall over. Pull the weeds and water the soil. Like anything, the more you nurture it, the better the possibilities of it rendering you all the love and joy right back. Your spiritual practice will benefit in the same way.

Your garden will grow and offer you a beautiful respite from your day. It will give you bouquets of flowers or handfuls of vegetables. It will bring you to a place of love and tranquility. Your garden will offer you sensory experiences from the birds, colors and smells it brings to you. It will give you a place to meditate.

Bring yourself to your garden with the intention of finding peace and solitude.

Sit in front of your garden. Cross your legs in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take several deep breaths in and slowly out through your nose. Take your time and simply visualize your perfect surroundings. What feels “right” to you? At some point, listen to the sounds around you. Breathe in the aroma about you.

Allow your intuition to guide you. Give yourself time without distraction or urgency.

Open your eyes when ready and admire the garden before you!

The Morning Glories (for mom)

“When the morning dew is nipped by the sunshine, as it rises over hill and dale…
You will hear the lovely buzz of the garden, as the nuances prevail.

There are lovely blooming roses and the scent of sweet perfume,
you can feel begonias smiling, as the birds all chirp in tune.

You will sense the peonies as they burst forth, in each color, as they tell their tale.
You will know the wind is gently blowing, as the daisies they regale.

 They have stories they must tell you, as the bees ring in their ear,
and the pansies they must wake up, as the butterflies come near.

 The entire garden stirs as the sun roams, past the turning point of now, high noon,
While the caterpillars crawl and the weeds grow, all the crickets are in tune.

 So the flowers they look up toward the noon sky, as they hope for just a kiss of rain.
But it looks like they will have to wait, still, for another passing day.

 Now the twilight grows and makes long shadows, as it passes by the flower beds…
And the occupants are all a-yawning, so it’s time to bow their heads.

 They will fall asleep and dream of a new day, when it comes to bring them all great news…
Of the stirring of the dew and sunlight, as once again day passes through”.

~ Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac

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