The Pajama Plan

In a matter of days, William will begin to hear from the colleges he applied to. Jim and I are loathe to see our baby leave the nest. Last night we again tried to suggest that the University of Phoenix was the way to go as he could do his schoolwork in pajamas HERE AT HOME. He seemed to prefer doing his homework in pajamas at an undisclosed location.

Yes……all we know at this point is that Will is going somewhere…..somewhere else. And none of us have even the vaguest idea where that somewhere will be. Will has not let slip any data about his first, second, third or even fourth choice. Not even to his siblings who have tried every trick in the sibling handbook. No matter the ploys used, not a speck of data has been revealed. The burning question remains: will we be driving east, west, north or even south to visit him?

All we know is that the Pajama home plan is not as popular with him as it is with us.

With even his siblings unable to crack his silence, we decided that we owed it to curious friends and neighbors to begin to mark our long wait to know where Will will attend college by blowing black smoke from our woodstove each day until Will announces his decision. What excitement there will be on the hilltop when we mark Will’s moment of decision by burning white smoke. Since it continues to be icy cold, all this smoke still works for us on a number of levels. We will be keeping the neighbors abreast of Will’s decision-making process while keeping our house warm.

A young William declares himself during a game of catch in St John USVI. Would that we had started pushing the University of Phoenix during these more formative years.

Mary and Martha

As you know if you have even skimmed our Flower Essence Guide, my spiritual beliefs are not exactly tied to one religion. But in my childhood, I went to a congregational church and most of the stories I learned were biblical ones. I liked the stories though I never really understood them. What was going on with Sampson and his hair? Why did all the people have to drown but Noah and his family? Why would a dancing girl want a head on a plate? So many riveting tales but so beyond me.

One story that cropped up a lot was the story of Mary and Martha. Coming from a patriarchal clan that talked ad nauseam about the value of productivity, goals and doing everything perfectly, I came to believe that Martha was on track in her bustle to prepare the food. Much as I loved Mary, I didn’t get her choice to sit around. My family of origin’s motto was, “Work ’til the work is done” which translated into me and one of my brothers doing the chores while other members of the family disappeared to their rooms.

Frankly, I found this disappearing act downright annoying, because it meant I had to do more work before the work could be described as done. It never occurred to me to question whether the work had to get done. Somehow this dynamic got set against the Mary and Martha story in my mind, leaving me feeling both aggrieved and uncertain whether Jesus would approve of me doing the work of several family members or even doing my own chores. There seemed to be the suggestion in the tale that maybe work wasn’t the most important thing. But then why did everyone in my family keep telling me to work ’til the work was done? This story got under my skin but I didn’t know what to do about it. Life seemed to require me to be more Martha than Mary so I just carried on in this vein. For like fifty years.

However, my arm break in November became a literal break from my habitual Martha bustle and an extended journey into Mary world. With my arm casted from top to bottom and pins holding the whole thing together, I found the office world was beyond me as I could not do even simple tasks like screwing on a dropper top on a bottle. In the kitchen, I could boil water but not open a can. Basically there was little I could do even when I tried to use my teeth to breach the gap in my skills.

Shut down from my lifelong “work til the work is done” mindset, I found it oddly restful to sink into a state of just being there. It was wonderfully expansive to settle into having no more specific task than appreciating the simple things like being warm or watching the clouds. In the emptiness, there were so many small joys to savor and always the creator there to visit with and love.

Jim, who by necessity was still wearing his Martha apron, would come home from his teaching job to whip around the home front. When he paused for breath, he would ask me what I had done all day. I had never done anything but my days felt wonderfully full. In my literal brokenness, I had experienced an emptying out that was a time of surprising, restorative peace. Sometimes a mind idea would light a temporary fire of “you can’t just stop doing!” within me, and I would try to do something I couldn’t do, then this mind blip would flame out and I would return to restful stillness and letting go.

With one arm in play, what I expected of myself became very simple. I wasn’t meant to “work til the work is done.” By default, I allowed myself the free pass to Mary territory, and I liked it.

But now both arms are back in play. And everything feels different than before because I see the binding of this “work til the work is done” idea more clearly than before and realize I don’t have to be run by it anymore. Now the roles of Mary and Martha are both choices for me and the story of Mary and Martha has been turned on its head. I see it is not about one person doing it right and another doing it wrong. Instead it is a story of each person finding her way to what she is called to do as an expression of her love for God and as an unwinding of her own individual spiritual bindings. Additionally, there is no need for anyone to think, “I am a Martha and always will be a Martha” as I had long thought. Instead, each moment is a blank slate in which we can seek if this is a Martha moment for us or a Mary moment.

For me this new understanding means going very slowly to figure out what I am supposed to be or do each day, asking for a lot of moment to moment guidance, and accepting that I am going to stumble and fall into my old pattern of doing too much despite my best intentions. I stumble into doing too much because working too much can sometimes feel more comfortable to me than waiting in the unknown to find out what I am meant to do or not do in any given hour. Fortunately, as I ride with training wheels into this new life, I have the blessing of an arm that gets very sore and a system that gets tired quick when I fall back into “work ’til the work is done” mode and this reminds me to stop and go savor the clouds again.

Pippa Reports In

Late winter and it snows every day- all day and all night. Enough with the cold white stuff! Even an inventive, mischievous as well as attractive cat like myself gets bored with indoor projects.

Fortunately there are now knitting projects on every flat surface.

Each project gives me at least a minute or two of pleasure as I mess with the yarn… but then I remember:

it is still snowing out there.

February Update

It keeps snowing here in that New Hampshire in February way of things. We expect Winter Storm Hugh to bring us gifts beginning tomorrow night after sweeping across so much of the country. Despite all the snow, we begin to prepare for spring. The brighter light has brought on lots of blossoms in the greenhouse. Here, Calliandra explodes in radiant red balls while the Sweet Olive and Citrus blossoms waft their fragrance into the warm humid air.
My arm is much better. I have been delighted to find that I am able to knit once again something that took me at least a year to be able to comfortably do after the first arm break. Elder stateswoman cat Mishka checked out the hoodie I just knit for Grace and said it would do.

I am so happy to have knitting needles in my hands again and to have the seeds ready to start in the greenhouse in a week or so! I hope spring is showing its encouraging face in your world too!

Yahoo for Garden Planning for 2013

Yahooooo! It’s that time of year for us- Garden planning time! Today I gave my arm a workout by inventorying all our seeds- opening and closing the dozens of ziplock bags I keep leftover seeds in to check what remains from last year to use this year. I need to start somewhere with using my left and right hand together if I hope to be shoveling manure by April!

For 2013, staff goddess and beloved of the honeybees, Laura Carpenter, has been given the assignment by the Angels and Elementals to design the main vegetable garden at Green Hope Farm. Having Laura in charge of creating the design with the Angels and Elementals of this central circular garden feels very right and very auspicious to me.

Bringing Laura into the design process reminds me of twenty five years ago when the Angels and Elementals had me do classes for a number of years to share how I co-created gardens with them. This was back in the 80’s and early 90’s, a time when there was a great deal of interest, at least in our region, in Angels and Elementals. The classes drew all sorts of people in a happy and eclectic mix of cultures and personalities. I originally did the classes as a one day workshop but then found the fun of the class was in meeting a number of times. This was because of the stories people returned to class with after they got rolling with the project of designing their gardens with help from “upstairs.”.

Even the skeptics found themselves in a state of amazement, and this was because in-between classes the Angels and Elementals would use all sorts of inventive, funny even outrageous ways to demonstrate that they did indeed exist and wanted very much to work with the class participants.

My favorite story, which I know I have mentioned in the blog before, involved a woman who thought the class a bit of a fool’s errand with fairies the stuff of children’s stories. I told her at our first meeting that there was nothing the Elementals enjoyed more than proving they were there to someone who was at least open to seeing the signs. I encouraged her to ask for exactly what she needed from these masters of manifestation and then to sit back and watch the show.

After that first class she drew a line in the sand and declared to the Elementals if indeed they existed that she would only proceed with the class and an open mind if the Elementals sent her free of charge all the ingredients for a garden.

The next class she had all of us on the edge of our seats as she reported how since this pronouncement she had been given unasked a dump truck load of well rotted manure, a woman’s entire garden of perennial plants and all the seeds for an enormous vegetable garden. After this experience, her life turned in a new direction and she became a force to be reckoned with as she painted and sold hundreds of gorgeous oil paintings of Angels and Elementals as well as gardened with them in a wildly beautiful way.

Hearing each person’s stories and seeing the unique designs they co-created with the Angels and Elementals was wonderful. It was the beginning of my understanding of how unlimited the nature of our co-creative efforts could be. There were just so many different designs with such unexpected combinations of flowers, herbs and vegetables. The sky was truly the limit as many designs went airborne with all kinds of superstructures. These classes and my own experience in receiving gorgeous new twists in design each season helped me let go of the gardens each fall, knowing in full confidence that the following year’s designs would be soul satisfying in new but deeply comforting ways.

I usually taught these classes in late winter or very early spring. Once the growing season got underway, many people invited me to see their gardens and how they had translated their designs into form. I loved these visits to their gardens. Elementals in particular have such a zesty sense of humor and the field trips were always chock full of funny stories and funny happenings. The gardens themselves were incredibly vibrant, robust and spectacular. This often left the participants in shock and awe.

One visit to a Vermont garden created by a woman in the class, I wandered her incredibly exuberant and lush almost tropical garden. The woman showed me around her paradise with her hands joyfully in the air in celebration. The garden felt so inviting that I wanted to settle down under the bean fences she had woven and just watch the entire season unfold. As with so many of these gardens, everything was super sized as was her amazed grin! It was all such a fantastic reminder that the Angels and Elementals WANT to work cooperatively with all of us to heal our shared planet.

And now, Laura will see where the Angels and Elementals lead her! Will it be a cold cabbage summer of many brassicas or a fiery one of eggplant and jalapeño? What plants have an affinity with her? Which Flowers will mix with what vegetables? My time apart mending my arm has shown me that I must pass the baton to others to help manage this bigger entity that is Green Hope Farm. I am so happy to have beloveds here ready to share the baton and dig with it!

A new generation looks to co-create a new earth and I want to help! Inside and out, happy expansive changes are unfolding here at the farm with our many ever present Angelic and Elemental guides there to support us. So many new people fill the office and surprisingly, after twenty years with an almost all women staff, we have a lot of men here. The new crew of Miguel and company have many great ideas for how to run things. It is an adventure to begin to be a part of all they have organized in my absence.

For me, it was also such a pleasure to sit with Laura and begin to flesh out other gardens while Laura begins to plan the main one. Laura and I sat in a cornucopia of seed catalogues, pens and papers and found ourselves lit from within with joy as we headed towards spring and all things green and flowering.


1) Know that the Angels and Elementals want very much to work with you and will make this as easy as they can.

2) Your imagination is the bridge for you to receive their ideas and guidance. Trust what you imagine!

3) Remember that Angels are the ones who design all form and Elementals are the ones that manifest all form. This means the Angels will give you the design for your gardens and then the Elementals will help you with all tasks related to planting and managing the gardens. I call both groups into all my meetings and ask for their help with everything.

4) As you meet with the Angels and Elementals, explain what you hope to do and then look to them for shape, layout, vegetable and flower choices as well as seed varieties. They know the kind of weather this growing season will bring to your micro-climate. Going with their choices will save you much disappointment. Even if you want melons because you love them, if the Angels and Elementals are not pushing melons, assume they know more about what kind of weather lies ahead than you do.

5) If you need something for your garden and don’t know where to get it, ask the Elementals to help. They can manifest anything and can arrange for you to find what you are looking for somehow or other. Once they asked me to make a copper pyramid formed to the same angle as the pyramids at Giza. Before I could even freak out about the unlikelihood of me being able to do any of this, they sent an enormous sheet of copper my way and a band of roofers that were so excited at this weird project of making a miniature copper pyramid. Every Flower Essence at Green Hope Farm goes under this pyramid at least once before heading off to you thanks to the Elementals (And what does this pyramid do? It clears and amplifies the positive energies of the Flower Essences).

6) Relax! This is wonderful healing work but perfection is not a relevant idea. This is about creating community and working together creatively AND joyously. It can be fun and funny since Elementals love to lighten everything with the leavening of humor! Expect to be entertained! Expect to discover how loved you really are!

Amaryllis on the kitchen table there to help.

As a community of Flowers, Angels, Nature Spirits, Dogs, Cats and even some People, Green Hope Farm can be a funny place……and I love telling you all about it!