A Garden as a Metaphor for Love, Loss and Life favorite_border

Conversations from the Heart - May 8th 2020

Author: Rachel Brathen

Topics: Lifestyle, Food, Self-Love, Healing, Love, Growth

Links: Apple Podcasts / Spotify

About the Episode

We are all subjected to one ultimate truth of life: nothing is permanent. Plants, people, jobs, relationships, and homes – everything that surrounds us is fragile and fleeting.

In this week’s episode, Rachel has been watching her garden be assaulted by lizards, dogs, white flies, mildew and a multitude of other challenges, and she is suddenly hit with the realization that her garden represents a metaphor for all of life.

We may not have control over the eventual outcomes, but we do have a choice when we are faced with obstacles or opportunities. We can choose to show up and nourish the plants regardless of the hardships, or we can give up and miss out on the joyful process of the journey.

This episode will remind you that the magic of being is found in the journey itself, not in the final destination. We cannot let the fear of pain, grief, or loss hold us back from doing what we love.

After all, it’s the fragility of life that makes it so valuable. All we can do is immerse ourselves in as much life as we can while we are here.

Key Takeaways

  • Is there an area of your life where you are holding back in fear of losing the very thing you are longing for? Can you choose to let light shine in that area, and begin the process of opening yourself up to opportunities for growth, happiness, and love?
  • Is there an area of your life where you have chosen love? Can you reflect on that journey and the presence you felt along the way?
  • Life is about the journey, not the destination. To remain present is to remain in the process.
  • It is the fragility of love that makes it so special. Knowing deep down that you are vulnerable to loss makes you love so much bigger.
  • We cannot let the fear of pain, grief, or loss hold us back from happiness, love and life.



[0:02] Welcome to a brand new episode of the Yoga Girl podcast, Conversations from the the Heart. I am sitting [laughs] sitting in my guest room right now, drinking my second cup of coffee of the morning. It is 9am, and if I look outside, the sky is kind of interesting today. We have a little bit of a hazy, cloudy kind of morning, it’s like the day hasn’t decided if it’s going to be a rainy day or a sunny day, which is rare for Aruba, and beautiful for Aruba. I love it when it rains here because we have, you know, every day is the same here in terms of weather, it’s the kind of weather you really long for and ache for if you’re in a part of the world where it’s very gray or cold, you know, the sun shines pretty much every day over here. But when you live in a place like this, with this kind of climate, you start to miss the seasons, right? You start to miss transitions and change in weather. So whenever we do have a little bit of a rainy day, it feels so different over here.

[1:12] So, I am sitting here right now with just the, the weirdest feeling [laughs] in my body. I’m kind of happy and joyful, and I’m also feeling a little bit hopeless at the same time. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt this amount of hope and hope…[Lea Luna yelling in background] [laughs]…hope and hopelessness in my body at the same time. The sound you just heard was Lea Luna, jumping up and down on the couch, she’s watching the Jungle Book. She’s never watched the Jungle Book before, I don’t know what I’ve been doing with my life that I have a child who’s three years old who still hadn’t watched the original, you know, Jungle Book. So I showed it to her the other day and it’s immediately her favorite movie. Give me a moment, I’m gonna, I’m gonna go tell her to be a little more quiet.

[2:04] Okay, now that my [laughs] little monkey is in another room…so, yeah. I am, I’m really excited to be able to sit here and share and talk today. It has been a, it has been a pretty big week, pretty big week for me. It’s a beautiful morning and I am, I’m sitting here contemplating the impermanence of life. [Laughing] It’s like a, like a fun thing to contemplate on an early morning, right? I mean…I really am, I’m sitting here contemplating the impermanence of things, of life, of relationships, of everything, you know, and this is something that I think as human beings we don’t like to think about that much. And the moment we do, it sort of changes our perception of everything.

[2:56] So, before I get into this, this fun and exciting, very spiritual and human concept, let’s take a moment to ground, shall we? So wherever you are, now, in this moment, just go ahead and close your eyes [inhales] and let’s [exhales] let’s take a moment to place the hands anywhere on top of the body. So just wherever you’re drawn; I immediately just placed my hands on my belly for a moment. And then increase the connection that you have here between the palms of the hands your physical body, just so you can really sense yourself. And then looking to fully become present in this experience of sitting here, in this moment, in this body, with this breath, here, now.

[3:46] It’s such a, such a simple concept, and also very complex at the same time. How can I fully embody this moment? How can I allow myself to be here, all the way — to really show up in all my totality, right now? [Inhales] So you can begin by taking a really deep breath, imagining you’re breathing into this area of the body, where the palms of your hands are resting right now. Sometimes, I like to imagine that I’m, I’m breathing in through the nose, and I draw that breath all the way down to the tips of the toes, just really sensing my entire being filling with space.

[4:33] And then as you exhale, you can exhale from that same place, either from the palms of the hands or from the tips of the toes, emptying your body altogether. And do that a couple times, whatever feels good; deep, full breath in through the nose [inhales] and, through the nose, deeply exhale [exhales]. Take a few moments just like that, a couple cycles of breath on your own, at your own pace, your own cadence….And there’s that moment, whenever we drop into this kind of practice, if it’s just a few minutes in the middle of a podcast, or if it’s at the beginning or the end of a yoga practice, or in your sitting practice, there’s always that moment when things just click, right? And it might take us a little bit of time to get there, especially if we’re feeling distracted, or if our mind’s been busy, or if we’re feeling a lot, right? There’s a moment of arrival, that moment where suddenly, yes, there you are. Here I am.

[5:54] It’s like the moment your presence aligns with the body, with this breath, with this moment, and everything that’s unfolding around you and within you. And it can be very fleeting, this experience of things clicking into place. But the moment we get there, usually we can sense something softening within us, something that we drop…could be your shoulders, could be your judgements, something that you’re able to soften a little bit, something you can put down. And then maybe your awareness will bring you to a different place and then you practice coming back, and coming back, and coming back again.

[6:49] So, just taking about another minute here, now, experiencing this moment. And allowing this moment to unfold exactly the way it is. With everything that life has brought you here, now, just staying very present, right here. And let’s take a deeper breath in through the nose [inhales] open the mouth, and let it go [exhales]. As you blink your eyes open, yeah…[laughs]. Hey gang.

[7:40] So, I’m smiling, I was smiling throughout that, that entire little, little practice we just did. I’m sensing so much energy moving through my body right now. And this is a week of the full moon, so as you’re listening to this, the full moon in Scorpio has just passed, it’s called the Dark Moon. There’s a lot of, lot of big energies at play this week, so we might be experiencing emotions and feelings and things in a little bit more of a bigger way right now, you might sense polarities, or feeling yourself drawn or pulled between two different places. Just acknowledging here, now that whatever is happening in your life this week, whatever you’ve been faced with, is an opportunity, a hundred percent. Whatever it is that this week you’re really pondering like, “man, trying to figure this out,” or, “I can’t believe this thing is coming back into my life again,” or, “here’s this feeling again,” right? It is an opportunity. It’s like Life is constantly throwing us little keys, yeah? Little nuggets of gold, little opportunities of “hey, hey, get present. Hey, wake up. Hey, listen closely. Hey, pay attention. Hey, show up, fully, all the way.”

[8:58 — Commercial Break]

[10:42] So, the biggest thing on my mind today is, is, is the topic of impermanence. The reason I started thinking about this is that…I, I am going to talk about gardening again [laughs]. Someone recommended, or told me yesterday like, “hey, you should change the name, or change your account name on Instagram from Yoga Girl to Garden Girl,” [laughs] because I am talking way more about gardening than I am about yoga right now. The thing is, gardening is yoga, right? Yoga really is, is everything we’re able to immerse ourselves in off the mat that brings us here, now, right?

[11:21] So, you know, putting your hands to the Earth, growing things, anything that taps into that creative spirit where you’re just here, like that’s the yoga, that’s the way of realization, like it’s there too. And I, I’m really wondering…so, so we started this garden, it was November of last year, and Lea Luna’s nanny, her name was Carol, she left right before, in the nick of time, right before this, this pandemic kind of closed the borders of everything. She’s French-Canadian, and she was here, you know, taking care of Lea, and she started up this garden for us.

[11:56] And when she did it, so she created it from scratch, and we had a solid five months…no, six months, a whole solid six months of that garden, you know, without me being totally involved, it was like a side project, and I was there every day but I wasn’t like, you know, she was the one who really created it from scratch. Like she built the first garden beds, she put together the irrigation system, she seeded everything, you know, for the first round of this garden. And it was this dream that I had, I always wanted a vegetable garden, but I was too busy, right? I was still, even though it was my year off, I was super busy doing other things, no way I would have time to like be out there like watering my plants every day, no way, you know.

[12:38] So when she did this, immediate success, okay? This garden, immediate yields of kale, cucumber, zucchini, Swiss chard, spinach…I remember we had like kale and all sorts of greens within a couple weeks, it was so fast. These huge, big leaves of greens that we were putting in our salads every day, and it was so abundant…every day I was out harvesting new things, right? And then, she left, you know, and then I took over the garden, the garden became all of a sudden, like, “this is my responsibility. It was always my garden but now there’s no one to help me.” And with all this time and all this space, I suddenly found myself in my life, I realized that this is something I really wanna do. This is something I’ve been wanting to do my whole life, I’ve just been prioritizing other things, like I’ve been living — I spoke about this in last week’s podcast — I’ve been living a life that wasn’t in alignment with what I actually wanted, right?

[13:32] So…so here I was, you know, you guys have followed me on social media, you’ve seen these garden updates. And immediately, immediately, I found myself with this huge, huge obstacle where these lizards started coming into the garden, eating all of my vegetables, all of my leaves, really destroying my things. So I had about a month, I think, or a lot of weeks in a row — maybe, maybe you guys followed like, we called it “the Lizard Saga,” they were driving me totally crazy — you know, of, of really trying to figure this out, to like salvage the garden. And it felt fun and exciting, and also like, ugh, I was like exasperated, and “why is this happening?” Because they really destroyed so much in such a short time.

[14:13] But, I persevered, we figured it out, we covered the garden beds in the end, after trying like a hundred different things, we covered the garden beds in aluminum metal. The lizards can’t climb aluminum because it’s not, it’s too slippery for them, so they can’t get into the garden beds so, yeah, they’re all safe from the lizards. And then I had, like, five minutes of breathing space, basically, before other things started to happen. And, just for, for context: so for the past two months straight, I mean two months straight, if I…this has been my full-time job. Like I’m spending more hours in the garden than I’m doing anything else, right? [Laughs] Dennis is, you know, building me all these garden beds, building a fence, has been super handy…cemented a pole in the middle, put up like, you know, shade cloth, like he’s been so helpful. And we have filled new garden beds, I have seeded everything from scratch because of course, everything that was planted when Lea’s nanny was here is gone since long, you know, the life cycle of plants kind of, we ran through them.

[15:13] And so everything growing in the garden right now that’s growing is something I have seeded from scratch, right? And I’m learning as I go along, but every week, there is a new, massive obstacle that I have had to overcome with this garden, right? So first it was the lizards, and then when I figured the lizard thing out, almost immediately I realized we have a white fly problem. And white flies are these, these tiny little like lice-looking, like tiny little flies that suck on the back of leaves, and basically what they do is they suck the life out of plants, right? So I started noticing that like, “why isn’t my kale growing, why isn’t my spinach growing, when you know, last cycle this grew so quickly? And now they’re, all the leaves are kind of pale green, some of them are brown…” like I wasn’t understanding, I was trying to figure out the water….

[16:00] Obviously, I’ve never done this before, so, I, you know, if I was an avid gardener, if I was like a pro, I would probably know what to look for, and I’m, I’m learning as I go, right? So for a long time I thought it was like a watering thing, or maybe they had too much sun, like I was, you know. And it took me a little while, and then I just got really, really, really close and I started turning each leaf around, like, “what is going on here?” And then I saw, you know, we have not just like a white fly problem, but a white fly infestation, where all of these plants…I mean, first I thought it was only the kale, and then I realized, “no, it’s the chard,” and then I realized it’s also the corn, it’s the sunflowers, it’s the spinach, it’s the watermelon…like, you know. If I would have caught this early, it probably wouldn’t have been this bad, but because it probably was happening…it probably was happening when the lizards were there, but I was to busy with the lizards, right?

[16:49] So, I go through the problem-solving things of Googling, and asking for advice, and going on gardening blogs and, you know, watching YouTube videos and kind of going down the line of trying everything to figure this out, like how do I get rid of white flies? And then what happened is the first thing I tried basically killed the leaves, because the, the solution I was using was too strong. And then I tried something different, and I tried something different, and then the next thing was okay for the leaves, but then the flies came back and we still have this big problem, like it’s still a thing, right? So every day I’m like out there fighting this battle.

[17:21] And then right as I realize “okay, you know what? I’m just going to have to start over here, like I’m just going to have to reseed all of these things, and I feel like it’s okay. It’s okay, I can do that. It’s fun! Like seeding things, planting seeds, watching them grow…like I’ll just pull all of this out of the garden bed and just start from scratch, like that’s okay. And then I’ll really take care and make sure that I apply the correct things for this kind of bug.” And then right as I kind of accepted that, “okay, like here is this thing, I’m going to get it squared away,” I realize, we have another problem [laughs]. We have spider mites. A bunch of my plants have something called spider mites.

[18:01] So obviously this is like another area, these are indoor and outdoor plants where I wasn’t super present because I was totally zoned in on the white flies. It’s kind of like, you know, I get all of my presence on one area, and then I lose one other area, right? And then I bring all of my presence there, and then something else happens. And spider mites are these kind of really freaky little spider, tiny, tiny, tiny microscopic bugs that weave your plants into a spiderweb until it suffocates and dies. [Laughs] How insane is this? I have never heard of these things, like I never knew these things existed, but that’s real.

[18:37] So then i go through the thing, I start problem-solving, Google, blogs, Reddit, YouTube, asking friends for advice, like I’m going through all the steps: okay, figuring out the spider mites. And then I get back to the garden, still dealing with the white flies, and then I realize “oh, wait, what’s this, what’s this white speck I see here on the turnips?” And then I start like investigating, right, and then I see on the parsley there’s also some like dusty white, I’m like, “what is this? Is this like, salt from the water? We painted this pole here, maybe, is there like, you know, color…no, can’t be, like that there’s paint.” It was really like, “okay.” And then I do the same thing, start Googling, I have this app that I use for plants…we have white powdery mildew.

[19:20] That shit is a plague, okay? I didn’t know what it was, like a week ago, I did not know what this thing was, now I know it’s a plague. It’s like the plague where all things go to die. So, you know, a new thing of like “oh, my God, how do I figure this out?” So, you guys can imagine how like, every couple of days there’s another thing, right? And I’m like persevering, feeling really empowered, “I’m going to figure this out!” And then I figured out, “okay, for powdery mildew you need to use something called neem oil,” supposedly is really good. I started doing that, going through all the plants with that…and then I go to the back garden to, to just check on my tomatoes that I have in the back, and all of a sudden, overnight, half of them are dead.

[20:01] [Laughs] Like just telling you guys these stories is like “why…is this a joke? Like is this, is this seriously real?” I have eleven beautiful tomato plants back there, they are doing amazing, I tuck them in, go to bed, wake up the next day, and half are dead. Like dead. Not like wilting, and looking sad; they’re dead, they’re out, they’re gone. Can’t figure it out. Turns out I have another thing, I have something called leaf miners in the garden, which is a weird-ass little larvae? Like a tiny little, like, maggot or wormy looking thing that mines its way through leaves, like eating them from the inside [laughing]. What? I mean…can you believe that this is real? Like can you?

[20:28] So so far, it’s only been two months of me like, finding this church, right, religion of gardening, like I am so dedicated, and I’ve had lizards…oh, and then I had dogs, like my dogs were digging at the garden beds, the I had my daughter who was pulling my plants out of the garden bed, then I had white flies, then I had white powdery mildew, then I had spider mites, then I had some weirdass shit called leaf miners, and now I also found mealy bugs. This is eight massive hurdles in two months. That means once a week I have found another ginormous obstacle that is trying to completely take over and kill my garden [laughs]. And, so far, like I have been so positive, I have really, like, “okay. Like I’m good at problem solving, I like to be creative and innovative, like I like to find problems, like ‘I’m going to figure this out,’ right, like I’m, that’s something that I enjoy doing.”

[21:43] And then this morning, I found the leaf miners this morning, and I realized, and then I went back to my tomatoes in the back and realized, “okay, that’s what they have, that’s why they were all dead overnight, because they were just eaten from within. I’ll go back to my tomatoes in the main garden, which is where the big like, beautiful tomatoes that have been doing so amazing are…” they all have it. They all have it. So I took a moment there, just kind of sitting in my garden, looking around, realizing that every garden that has something not working, right, every, almost every plant, even my seedlings, have some kind of insect, bug, fungus, mildew, lizard army [laughs] something attacking it, something that I have to fight, something that is slowly, slowly, slowly destroying what I have spent months building.

[22:33] And [laughs] I just, I just sat down on a rock and it was one of those moments like, “I don’t know if I should just hysterically cry right now, or if I should just sit here and laugh.” And I took a breath, and I just looked out at the garden, and I just started laughing. Like I just started laughing [laughs]. Like one of those hysterical, kind of like if someone caught me laughing that way they would think that I need some sort of help, you know what I mean? Like that kind of really, you know, “ha ha!” [laughs] Freaky kind of hysterical laugh, I just couldn’t stop laughing, it was like this laugh came from deep within my soul. And it was this laugh of “no matter what I do, right, I have no control. No matter how much time I spend building, everything can be wiped away in the blink of an eye.”

[23:23] I mean, for me, just to, you know…let me give you an example. So, the cucumbers that I have, I have a bed of only cucumbers. I have English cucumbers and Lebanese cucumbers in my garden. For me to grow these cucumbers, so I plant little seeds in like tiny little cells, right? I water them twice a day and I move this, this, this it’s like a little nursery, and I move them around because they don’t love being in one place, like I keep them in the back in the morning because then morning sun is nice for them. I take them out of the sun in the middle of the day because the sun is too strong, and then I move them back, but then it gets too windy in the afternoon. And then I bring them back under, under the, the roof of the patio for the night.

[24:02] So it’s like when I’ve planted these seeds, watering them several times a day, I baby them, right? Like I am connecting with them like five or six times a day, carrying them around, checking on them, loving on them, I tuck them in at night, like I give them so much love and attention. And then, all of a sudden, they sprout, and it’s the most amazing thing. Like to me, it’s like the most exciting moment. You never really know how long it’s going to take a seed to sprout, right? I have some seeds and after just two day, like I can see them sprouting. Some of them, like after weeks I give up, like, “okay, something’s wrong, the seeds aren’t working. They’re not going to grow here, or it’s too warm, whatever,” and then all of a sudden, one day, there they come, you know, and I’ve like totally forgotten that they exist. You never know how long it’s going to take for a seed to actually sprout or show itself above surface, it’s all so exciting [laughs]. And very emotional.

[24:55] And then all of a sudden they sprout, and then you realize “okay, now they need a different kind of watering, they need a little more sun,” you know and I keep a really close eye on them all the time. And then there comes a moment, so depending on what I’ve seeded, sometimes I plant then in a bigger cell before they get transplanted to the garden, sometimes from the cell they get transplanted to the garden. And when I transplant them, I take the morning and I like prepare the soil, I measure out exactly how much space should I put between these, each of these little seedlings, I Google it — I always put them a little closer than I’m supposed to because it’s very valuable real estate, I don’t have that many garden beds. I use a little fork from inside my house, like one of those like regular eating forks, and then I very, very gently scoop out the cell, taking care to make sure none of these little fragile roots break, and I gently put it in this little prepared hole that I’ve made in the soil. Put fresh soil on top, tuck him in like really nicely, like pat the dirt down, and then I do that with each one, and then I gently water them.

[25:57] And for the days after the transplant, it’s like a very sensitive time. Imagine you were pulled up by the roots where you’ve lived your whole life, and then you get planted somewhere else. Like that’s kind of scary, it’s a lot of change. Big transition for a plant [laughs]. And the I watch them really closely, take super, super, super good care of them, make sure not to water the leaves because they can burn, and just water the roots super gently. And then, you know, if everything goes well, they love it there, they grow big, suddenly they go from like a little seedling to an actual plant.

[26:30] And the cucumbers need to climb, so I have these little garden twines that are hanging from a structure above my garden bed, that I hook with a little ring from the base of the plant. And then as the plant grows bigger, sometimes it goes and little haywire and it like turns left or right, or it wants to go down to the ground, or it wants to like spread out across the bed. Then I gently take the plant, and I wrap it around the twine and make sure I guide it upwards, so that it can keep reaching toward the sun, and up toward the sky.

[25:59] So, this is just one plant, right? I have like, I dunno, 50 different things out there, varieties in the garden, maybe more? [Laughs] So, just, I just wanted to like share the time and love and encouragement and dedication it takes just for one thing to grow, right? And then to realize that everything you’re growing is dying, there’s like little things happening, and it’s not like these, you know, leaf miners and white flies and lizards, it’s not like they’re out to get me, like it’s personal or something, even though it felt like it was personal with the lizards for a while. But this is nature. This is nature doing it’s thing. Like these insects exist for a reason, they wanna eat, right? It’s like…there’s no, I have no choice but to accept, like this is nature, and in the great scheme of things, I can’t do much about it.

[27:52] But to sit with all of this, this months of this work, and then basically, in front of me, watching it get wiped away, watching it die, watching it not work, watching it all fall apart, it brought me to this pace this morning of just on my knees, like head up at the sky, just laughing, like “what do you want from me God? Like why, why is this happening? But also I understand that this is happening, because do you know what? What is permanence?” Like can you think of one thing in your life that actually is there to stay? One thing in your life that you can actually trust is going to work out? That you actually know is there forever?

[28:40] I…I was pondering this all morning, this, you know…I, and I, and I couldn’t think of a single thing. And this is like the part as human beings, we don’t like to think about the impermanence of things because it’s really scary, right? It really, really is scary. At the end of it all, each of us is going to die. [Laughs] Sorry I’m like, taking such a dark turn here, but it’s so absolutely true. And we all kind of know it, you know, we know at the end of this, everyone is going to die, we know no one is here forever, right? But we can’t walk around with that knowing, like in front of our face or in front of our mind’s eye all the time because life would be, you know, it would be too hard to bear.

[29:27 — Commercial Break]

[30:59] There’s this, this, this saying, or this quote that I don’t know if you guys, if you watch NBC’s the Good Place, or if you watched it before they ended, but Dennis and I love that show. And there’s a moment in there where Elenor, Kristin Bell, she says, you know, “being a…this is what a human being is, we’re all aware that eventually we are all going to die, eventually this is all going to go away. So we’re all just a little bit sad all the time.” Like that’s the pain of being human. And I love that so much because I think it’s really, it’s really true, you know, part of this, this underlying feeling that so many of us have of a little bit of unease right? That little feeling of just something feeling unsettled, or not a hundred percent all the time, like I think it really relates to that, to the fact that we know, at the end of this, none of this is here to stay. We can try and try and try and try and hold onto everything that we cherish, but it’s totally out of control and in the end, we die. Right?

[32:03] So, of course, we walk around and we’re a little bit sad all the time. And when I was just looking at the garden as this, one of these great metaphors of, of “this is impermanent, everything is, is impermanent.” Doesn’t matter, you know, how much love or time or dedication I bring into these little seeds and seedling and plants, like at the blink of an eye, I can watch it all get wiped away. So I was really contemplating, you know, why am I gardening? Why? A lot of people have asked me that, you know, if it brings you so much agony, like if it’s so hard, if you have so many obstacles, why don’t you give up? You know, you could pick up any other hobby, like there’s many things I could be doing with my time, trust me, I am well aware. I could sit on the couch and watch the Good Place [laughs] instead of spending six hours a day, out in the garden, out in the sun, you know.

[32:58] So why am I gardening, why don’t I give up? I love it. I love it. And what part about gardening is it that I love, you know? And I think I touched on this before: I didn’t start this garden or, you know, get super, super invested in this garden because of the destination, right? It wasn’t that I had a destination in mind, and I think it would be different if that was the case; if I started this garden thinking “okay, in X amount of months, I’m going to harvest this many vegetables, this much fruit, this much herbs and greens, and then we’re going to live off of that, and that’s the goal,” or “I’m going to sell that and make some money and that’s the goal.” You know, if the goal of this garden was the end game, like “I need to harvest food,” or “I want to harvest food,” then probably it would be different, right? I would get to a place where it just wouldn’t be worth it.

[33:45] But that’s not why I’m gardening, and I was really wondering, like “what is it about this, what is it about this process that keeps me going, even though, seemingly, nothing goes my way,” right? Over the past two months, I can’t look at a single plant or a single vegetable, and go, “that was a success,” you know? If success would be defined by a healthy, thriving plant, with a full life cycle, with vegetables for me to harvest in the end, no. I have not had that, unfortunately. No. [Laughs] If that’s, if that’s how I would deem success. But what I think for me success around this garden is, is the feeling of joy and the feeling of peace that I feel inside after having spent a day gardening. That feeling of just being totally present with something, that completely takes me away from any kind of stress, pressure, takes me away from, from, from my computer, from my inbox, from my To Do list, from the idea that I have to succeed at something, from the idea that I have to accomplish something in a day, you know, really when I’m, when I’m out in the garden, doing what I’m doing, whatever it is — if I’m fighting the bugs, or if I’m seeding, or if I’m harvesting or whatever I’m doing — I’m just there. Like, I’m just there. It’s become this kind of direct pathway to the present moment.

[35:16] And yeah, maybe that sounds cheesy, but it’s kind of what it is. Like when I’m out there, I’m not pondering anything else, you know. And I’m out there alone, like Lea will come out with me sometimes for a little bit, she gets bored pretty quickly. Dennis will be there, he’s not into it, at all. Like he loves that it’s there, he’s very handy with the things around it, like the building of stuff, and he’s invested, but he’s not out there like, you know, like seeding things and, and taking care of the plants and things like that. So most of the time, I’m out there alone, so it’s become this, this private time, basically, for me where I get to be alone with myself and just be with myself, right?

[35:54] Because even when I’m in the house, even if we’re having a quiet day, like I’m…there’s always something, right? There’s always like Lea wants something of me, or Dennis wants to talk about something, or there’s something coming up around the business, or, or I gotta empty the dishwasher, or it’s almost time for dinner, it’s like my brain is always kind of anchored in the next thing that I need to do to keep our day running, right? But when I’m out in the garden, like four hours can pass and it’s like, in the blink of an eye, like where did that time go, because I am just so immersed in what I’m doing. It’s a real moment for me to just be in my body with Mother Nature. And I think it’s that component of the fact that this is Mother Earth, it’s this deep connection with nature, with the planet when I’m out there that’s also helping me bring, bring this level of presence into my day.

[36:41] So, that’s why I keep going, right? I keep going for the journey of it, for the…it’s not for the destination of it, but it really is for the journey. Kind of like the practice of yoga, right? I’ve had moments where I practiced yoga because I wanted something, especially in the beginning, and then I had a couple of, I had a year or two where I got really caught up in the idea of poses, and in the idea of an advanced practice where actually, where I didn’t feel good. And that’s the moments when I felt the most disconnected from myself in practice, when I practiced with the idea of a result, right? Like “oh, I wanna be super flexible,” that’s my end game, that’s why I’m practicing, or “I wanna learn how to press to handstand, that’s why I’m on the mat every day,” or “I wanna lose weight,” or “I wanna…” versus, you know, “I’m here because it makes me feel good along the way.”

[37:30] Same thing here, it’s really the journey that I’m enjoying, not so much the destination. Now, would it be lovely to have thriving plants with a full life cycle and a garden that works with an abundant harvest at the end? Yes! Of course! [Laughs] Of course, of course. Like of course that’s what I want, of course, of course, of course. But if that was the only thing that kept me going, I would have quit this morning, laughing, that would’ve been it for me [laughs]. That would’ve been it, like “let’s pack this up everybody.” [Laughs] “Let’s all go home.” But, but it wasn’t, right?

[38:07] So, [exhales] taking that into account, you know, the other areas of my life that are also impermanent — and this is kind of where this conversation becomes very emotional for me, or a little bit scary for me — is knowing that even, or also, the most cherished parts of my life, the most important things in my life, the most important people in my life, that is also impermanent. Just going down that road makes me like, ooh, I…I can sense like a little shakiness inside, if we think about it too much I would, I would probably cry, but — and I know this personally, I know this well, I know a lot of you listening know this from experience — but people die. It’s just a fact. People die, even the people that, that never in a million years could you ever imagine possibly anything like that happening to them, or an extension to you, you know, that, that happens.

[39:08] I am following — I don’t know how this has happened actually —I’m following three people online right now, on Instagram, that are going through [exhales] super, super, super challenging, yeah, worst moments of their lives where they’re losing, they’re losing someone and they’re sharing that journey online. One of those people is, she’s called @littlemissmomma on Instagram, and she has a three year old daughter called Stevie, super normal, healthy, healthy young girl, you know, pretty much exactly the same age as Lea Luna. And one day she woke up and she had some difficulty with her motor skills, and just some strange things started happening to her body. And they went to the hospital, and in a really short period of time, pretty much immediately found out that she has a terminal illness, a terminal form of cancer and there’s nothing they can do, and she’s going to die.

[40:01] And I don’t know how I started following her, probably someone who shared it with me, but now every day, you know, every time this mother shares something, and she’s sharing it so vulnerably, so raw, so from the heart, it’s like I can’t not read it, you know. It really hurts, because reading her story, of course, reminds me of the fact that yeah, this could also happen to me. Right? It could happen to any of us. And we don’t like to walk around thinking about that, because life becomes too hard to bear, right? Thinking of the fragility of things, our mortality, the mortality…our mortality, our children’s mortality, our parents, our loved ones, you know, we can’t walk around, walk through our day and think about that all the time, it would not be possible to live.

[40:49] But, just reading those little things every day, it’s like it puts me at that place of “yeah, yeah, life is really fragile.” And we have two choices when it comes to that: we can let that fragility completely paralyze us, right? We can let it completely shut us down, where we become immobile, where we can’t go on, or where we choose to just give up, right? Where it’s like we become so paralyzed with fear that we just don’t take another step, or we just quit on it all together and we decide “hey, life is better off lived without close relationships, without love,” right? If we’ve ever felt that feeling of knowing that a love can be taken away, why try again, right? Why open our hearts that way again.

[41:33] I was like that, actually, before I became a mom. I was so scared of having a baby because I know that people die, and I had this big feeling inside that if I have a child, and that, and I lose him or her, right, if I have a child and the child doesn’t make it, like I…I’ll die, you know, I wouldn’t make it through that. And it was a really real, real fear that I had, that didn’t even become really present, kind of that I didn’t become conscious of until Lea Luna was almost a year old, that I was walking around every day with these thoughts, these fears, that any day, she’s going to die, right? Any day, she might just…something freaky might happen, and I might lose her.

[42:14] And, you know, this is the…this is the, the duality of life, its like we get blessed with these kinds of loves that are so life-changing, you know, so earth-shatteringly big that once we’ve experienced that kind of love, we can’t imagine going back to not having it, right? But before that, or at the same time, it’s like having that kind of love in our lives opens us up to the magnitude of actual loss. So if we live with that fear in front of us all the time, we might choose to actually not go for the love. Like why, why go for that relationship, right? Why let yourself fall in love, why let yourself really go for it with this person?

[42:58] Like, and I recognize this so much in a lot of people that I talk to, this, this feeling of, you know, “it’s easier for me to be the person to leave first, it’s easier for me to self-sabotage. It’s easier for me to stay shut down and not let love in, than to let it in and also risk losing it.” Because nothing’s permanent, right? Everything we love could be taken away. And that’s also strangely, somehow, what makes that love so big. And that’s kind of what I’m, what I’m realizing about this, you know, taking away from this garden too. If this garden was permanent, right? If these cucumbers just grew, if I knew “the moment I plant this seed, it’s a done deal, right. They’re going to grow super strong, super big, super fast, give me an abundance of cucumbers and that’s it,” you know? Then it wouldn’t require my presence. The garden wouldn’t require my presence, I wouldn’t have to be there every day, and I would miss out on the journey, right? I wouldn’t actually have that joy and the experience of being there, watching these things grow…it’s the process of nourishing them, which I can only do because they’re fragile. Like if they weren’t fragile, I wouldn’t have to be there, nourishing them. But it’s the process of, of my presence there, of my nourishing these things in this garden that brings me so much joy.

[44:25] Without it, I wouldn’t feel that joy, I wouldn’t feel that love, I wouldn’t have that experience of total presence if it wasn’t for the fragility and vulnerability of the garden. And it’s also that same fragility, you know, that, that, that brings me to these places of “man, I could lose it all,” and big obstacles of “I am almost losing it all, and I gotta fight to keep it, and it’s frustrating, and it’s hard, and then suddenly it’s beautiful and it feels like it’s working, and then it’s not.” We cannot have one without the other. If a love is sure, you know, if it was like, you know, written in stone, it’s here to stay, we wouldn’t feel that love. It’s like the love depends on the vulnerability, and the vulnerability depends on the love; that’s why [laughs] that’s why we cannot have one without the other. That’s why the love we feel for our loved ones, whether it’s our kids, or our partner, or our friends, or whoever it is we feel that big, earth-shattering love for, that love wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t also fragile. It’s the fragility of the love that makes it so special.

[45:32] And that’s, you know, the terror and the beauty of having children, is knowing yeah, for the rest of your life, your heart is beating outside of your body and you have no control. You can pretend, you can kid yourself and think “yeah, you know, I’m going to keep my kid safe for the rest of her life, I’m going to make sure she’s always safe,” that’s a joke, you know. There are certain things I can control, like yes, I can make sure she doesn’t reach up on the stove and burn her hand, right? I can hold her hand when we cross the street, I can be next to her in the pool when she swims, but I ultimately do not decide what happens in her life. I am not God, I do not decide who lives or dies, you know. Some three year olds get incurable diseases, and their parents have to watch them slowly, slowly fade away. Like that’s reality for people. They did nothing, you know, to deserve that, there’s nothing they could have possibly ever done to change that, that’s just life.

[46:32] So, the contrast, or I guess the, the balance, I guess actually, of this is the more we love, the more fragile it is, or the more fragile it feels, so the only thing we can do is truly immerse ourselves in the journey of that love. To be present with the people that we love every day. To be present with the things, the practices, the experiences that really bring us that feeling of joy, of peace, of groundedness, of, of absolute love, you know, to be in that journey every step of the way, and to not allow fear to paralyze us. To not allow obstacles to shut us down or make us give up, right? Knowing if I, if I close the chapter to this garden right now and say “hey, you know what, it’s not working,” it’d be a huge loss. It’d be a huge, huge, huge loss.

[47:30] Yeah, it’s kind of like saying “hey,” you know — and this relates to something, a bigger conversation, but I’ve realized…we’ve been talking about maybe potentially having another kid some time in the future, mostly because Lea’s asking for it a lot. Now, I’m not pregnant so everybody can stop asking [laughs] but we’re talking about it more, because almost every day she says, “I want a brother and a sister.” And I have that feeling inside, that remembrance of the first year of Lea’s life also came with so much fear for me, you know. I was so scared that all of a sudden, she was going to stop breathing in the middle of the night. And I know every mother feels that way, but for me, it was almost unbearable.

[48:09] And it’s that feeling of letting another love into my life, as big as the love I have for Lea Luna, also means letting another fear into my life, as big as that fear. It’s like another level of vulnerability, another heart, beating outside of my body, like how, how does one manage that? Everybody listening with two kids, three kids, four kids, like how? How? How can we let go to the point of having all of these children living their lives out in this big world, you know? That whole concept for me, it’s still like a little too big to grasp. Like I’m barely, barely managing this one fragile love of this one child that I have. So how on earth could I possibly make that two, right?

[48:57] But yeah, also knowing that, and this is what everybody keeps telling me, it’s, it’s double the love. It’s like imagine the love I feel for her, again. In a new person, a new human being, like that thought is also so exciting and, and exhilarating and you know, it’s like I’m on the brink there between trust and fear, between love and fear, between, yeah, moving forward or shutting down. So, we’ll see where that lands me. But I think it’s a good thing for, for each of us to ponder this week, you know, this week of the full moon in Scorpio. Lot of endings, right? Lot of things coming full circle, closure, completion of things, maybe things were, were done with in some way, you know. What is that area of your life where maybe you’ve been holding back for a long time? Perhaps you’ve spent a lot of energy in an area of your life that you now feel done with, and you find yourself with unexpected seeds that you can plant and grow elsewhere. Right? Maybe you have harvested some sort of abundance in different areas of your life, and now you have space to grow something new, that’s kind of what this, this closing of the circle is about. Perhaps there is a part of your life where you have been shutting down because we fear that big love. Big love is scary man, so scary.

[50:22] One of the scariest moments of my life, literally, one of the most, most terrified I’ve ever been, standing on a, on a mountaintop in Maui, this is 2013, June of 2013, standing on top of Haleakalā in Maui, watching the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen in my life, literally, most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen in my life, watching Dennis go down on one knee. He went down on one knee, it was one of those like picture perfect, most romantic, unbelievable moments, you know. The love of my life, who I loved so much, on one knee in front of me, and the feeling inside of my chest was terror. Like absolute terror. Because it was this big, it was this big, big, big crossroads: “hey, do I shut down, say no, actually saying yes to this? It’s too big for me, you know? That love, that fear, you know, that love and the potential of losing that love? It’s too much. Or do I say yes and chose love even though it scares the living shit out of me? Do I say yes, and choose love even though choosing love means a potential for loss?”

[51:43] It was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. And I took a deep breath, and I said yes. Best, best decision I’ve ever made, you know. Best decision I’ve ever made. So looking at your own life, you know, what are the moments in your life where you chose love anyway, right? Or maybe every day you’re braving that terrain of just vulnerability, where you know that we can lose everything, but it’s the potential, it’s the risk of losing everything that makes it so valuable, that makes it so powerful, that makes it so beautiful. And is there an area of you life right now where you have been holding back? Where you have chosen to not let love in? Where maybe that fear of loss or that feeling of impermanence is, has become bigger than that longing for love. And maybe now is a really good time to look at that, to sit with that, and perhaps the next time the Universe extends this opportunity to keep going, to let love in, to plant those seeds and to garden, you say yes. You say yes.

[53:00] What a life, huh? What a life. What a life. What is this life? It’s wild. I wanna, wanna just take a moment to say thank you, for listening, for being here [laughs]. For listening to me talk about leaf miners, and white flies and meal bugs [laughs]. I think it’s gonna be a really, I think we’re going to have a really good, good week ahead, you guys. I’m feeling it, I’m feeling the love, I’m feeling the beauty of this life right now, and I, I hope you’re feeling it too. Thank you so much for tuning in, the Yoga Girl podcast will be back next week.

[53:41 — End of Episode]