Surrender 124: Garden Meditation

Today I was intentional about spending time in my garden this evening. As I moved through the day, working this morning and visiting with my mom at the hospital, I considered how to best savor those moments. I was excited about planting and hanging the vintage cone colanders and creating a permanent space for the minnow bucket candle holder. 

I set that intention this morning and surrendered to it. During the day, as I was in the flow of possibilities, two other elements clicked into place, creating an amazing opportunity. I learned about gathas. And I looked at the online holiday site, curious about what unique celebration might be available today. 

Gathas (pronounced gattas) are short poems or verses that are recited during routine activities throughout the day. They are designed to return us to the present moment, helping us to be mindful and aware. In his book Peace is Every Breath, Thich Nhat Hanh writes, “When we settle into the present moment, we can see beauties and wonders right before our eyes. Reciting gathas is one way to help us dwell in the present moment.” In his book, Hanh includes gathas for many ordinary tasks, including gardening. 

When I looked up the unique holidays for today, I discovered that May 3 is Garden Meditation Day. It all came together…my desire to be in the garden this evening, the use of gathas to practice mindfulness in the present moment, and a celebration focused on meditating in the garden. Isn’t life beautiful?

Meditation doesn’t have to be practiced sitting in a lotus position with eyes closed. Meditation is the awareness of what’s going on, right now, in my body, in my breathing, in my feelings, in my world. Garden meditation is the act of focusing on what I am doing, moment by moment…digging, planting, creating, watering and even pulling weeds. As I garden, I don’t dwell on the garden of the past or project toward a garden of the future. I remain right here, in the garden of right now, enjoying each task. 

As I mindfully dwelled in my garden, I created little flower containers from the two vintage cone colanders. Greg secured the colanders to the wood fence, using heavy duty staples. I cut a 14″ round coco fiber liner in two and formed each half into a cone shape, which I then slipped inside each colander. I filled the containers with potting soil and tucked in white impatiens and trailing dichondra. I LOVE the finished look. These are so adorable and they were so easy to create. 

I filled two battered metal buckets with flowers, setting the containers on and near an old wooden chair. The colander planters are secured on either side of the chair. Above the chair, the minnow bucket hangs from a sturdy hook, completing that garden vignette. 

As I meditatively planted and watered, I mindfully recited gathas: 


I entrust myself to Earth/Earth entrusts herself to me/I entrust myself to the Divine/The Divine entrusts itself to me. 


Water and sun/green these plants/When the rain of compassion falls/even the desert becomes a vast fertile plain. 

Lighting the candle within the minnow bucket

Lighting this candle/offering the light to the Divine/the peace and joy I feel/brightens the face of the Earth

I am refreshed by my meditative time in the garden this evening. The gathas were simple and beautiful reminders that kept my awareness on what I was doing. And my creativity was fully engaged, free to play. It was the perfect end to the day. I look forward to writing my own gathas. However this one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s resonates:

Ending the Day

The day is ending/my life is one day shorter/Let me look carefully at what I have done/Let me practice diligently/putting my whole heart into the path of meditation/Let me live deeply each moment in freedom/so time does not slip away meaninglessly. 

Surrender 116: There’s a Light in my Minnow Bucket

This evening I had time to do something with the yard sale minnow bucket that I received. I’m all about repurposing common objects, giving them new life as they serve a new purpose. It’s fun. It’s play. It gives my creativity freedom to go wild.  

I was excited to acquire this minnow bucket. The exterior part is perfect as a metal planter in my garden. I love using metal containers of all types, grouped together, to hold an assortment of flowering plants. I have wash tubs and buckets, watering cans and tall containers, a rectangular box with handles and a red toolbox. 

Holes were drilled into the bottom of the outer bucket, so that water can drain out. I learned by trial and error, mostly error, to do this as a first step. No drainage means soggy soil which results in dead plants! 

The bucket was then filled with soil and I popped colorful verbana plants into it. This newly planted metal piece will join a group of containers on the brickio. 

My imagination immediately repurposed the interior of the minnow bucket into a candle holder. I actually have such a container already, serving as a planter. I found it in a flea market. But it is lacking a top and doesn’t have the interesting pattern of holes on the sides. This adorable version has so much cuteness going for it, including a star pattern punched on the lid. 

Watching the movie A Little Chaos, I determined to bring more candlelight into my own garden. And here came the first opportunity. I never would have guessed that a minnow bucket would bring light and joy into my backyard paradise. 

I could barely wait for the sun to set. I confess that I lit a candle within the interior while it was still daylight and checked frequently, ready to catch the glow. I was not disappointed! What a beautiful and whimsical candle holder that minnow bucket makes. I am thrilled with the look. After this next round of stormy weather passes, I will create a permanent place in the garden for my new candle holder. 

Mesmerized by the soft flickering glow emanating from the bucket, I was reminded of a childhood song. “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…”  I thought too of the scripture that says don’t hide your light under a basket…but allow it to shine, giving light to others.

Don’t hide my light away. Make sure there are clear spaces for the light to shine through. I used to hide my light, or barely allow my light to shine. I tried to get by in life unnoticed. I no longer seek to be invisible. I shine, by being who I am, by expressing myself in creative ways. 

Like turning a minnow bucket into a planter and a candle holder. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…