Seasons of Time: A Reflection

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The metaphor of gardening has often been used to describe the spiritual experience of women. Unlike a masculine model of spirituality, where the experience is often a linear journey striving to pierce levels of spiritual attainment and moving towards an ultimate end, women’s spiritual experience is often described as circular and organic. The female experience of the spiritual life is a garden, growing, flourishing, bearing fruit, dying back and needing to be planted again and again.

I remember so many times beating myself up for not achieving self-imposed benchmarks of my personal growth. I should have been more joyful, more generous, more compassionate, less irritable, less selfish, less anxious, et cetera, et cetera. That’s the linear approach. That’s the journey model.

Using the gardening model, now I see spiritual experience in seasons of time where there is growth, followed by barrenness. I till my spiritual garden, water it, weed it. It bears fruit. Often the cold winds of life sweep through and I dry up. But I don’t worry about it. Spring always comes.

And the fruit will be as sweet and full of juice as ever.

Text and image: Lori G. © 2007

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12 responses »

  1. Lori, I really like this model. It does hold true, and I am going to try to remember to apply it to my own life. It would certainly cut down on the frustration sometimes. But rather than periods of barreness, perhaps they are periods of fallowness, with the garden resting so it can bear fruit with vigor once more.

  2. I echo your thoughts Lori, spiritual growth is ever circular and always regenerating. Thank you for putting this into words so beautifully. Spring always comes is wonderful to remember as we go through our cycles of growth.

  3. Beautifully put, Lori. I believe, that everything in nature is circular, therefore, everything in our lives as human beings is circular because we are a small part of Nature’s whole. When we are down, if we can understand and know that the circle will come around and bringing with it the good, then the bad times are easier to bear. l

  4. Yes, very beautifully said, Lori. Keep on planting those seeds, even if we don’t see them sprout, we have to believe that some day, for some one, they will.

  5. I prefer the analogy that women tread the circuitous paths of a garden in all seasons as opposed to a masculine straight line through what?
    If you ask a man to get from one side of a circle to another he will take the shortest route. Ask a woman to do the same and she will most definitely take the picturesque route, touching many points of the circle before reaching her destination – so much more fulfilling.
    I can never go to a place by the most direct route, mine will always be circular. Even if takes a little longer it will be, to me anyway, much more interesting

  6. This is a lovely post! I used to see my path as linear also, and now I visualize it as a rose unfolding — always connected to my center, but always expanding and revealing that which was within all the time, but unrecognized. Your blog is beautiful and I will come visit it often!

  7. This is so true Lori,

    I’ve always found gardening to be my ‘outlet’ and ‘inspiration’, when I feel the need to prune away ‘old stuff’ no longer needed in me, my life, etc. I prune my garden plants.

    They seem to understand and love me for it, I feel a real affinity with plants and whether it is them calling to me or me calling to them, all the old, dead, no longer needed stuff is pruned away so new growth can blossoms.

    And the result is the plants in my garden and myself always feels better, looks better and is more able to cope with the storms of life and life’s surprises (whether good or bad).

    My garden is an endless source of inspiration, reflection and learning for me on a spiritual level.

    Thanks for this post.

    Terry Seed.

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