Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cultivating Abundance

Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Growing in the Outdoors
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they encourage their children to connect with nature and dig in the dirt. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


It begins to be seen that the poor are only they who feel poor, and poverty consists in feeling poor.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Feeling poor happens very easily in our mainstream culture, due to our perpetual desire for more.
Shannon Hayes, Radical Homemakers

In our garden we cultivate many flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables, and even two chickens. But the thing we cultivate mostly is invisible, but most important of all: abundance.

Our garden is the location for regular celebrations with family and friends: cherry blossom picnics, royal wedding picnics, birthday picnics, sunny day picnics... When the cupboard feels bare taking a loaf of bread and cheese and a box of homemade biscuits outside transforms it magically, thanks to grass, sun and a friendly robin, into a feast fit for a king. Shared with family and friends it beats dinner in the finest Michelin-starred restaurant.

A boring afternoon “stuck” at home is transformed into a creative adventure when my sister comes by with a big sheet and we all paint it together.

A long day of gardening is magicked into sweetness as we toast marshmallows over a fire made of the cuttings, the flickering flames warming our spirits.

It is a hub for the other children who live on the estate who seek it out to play with water and stones, their fancy mobile phones and expensive toys abandoned to get on with the real work of childhood.

It is from our garden, a living artist's palette of colour, that we pick flowers to add beauty to our kitchen table, seasonality to our nature table, or express love to a family member who is sick or a friend who is celebrating.

Here that I can pick a few herbs to transform a mundane supper of pasta and tomato sauce into something sublime, or a pot of boiling water into heaven.

Being bored is impossible. It is only a little patch, but full of so many latent possibilities: we can plant seeds, fill a paddling pool, hunt for bugs, jump on the trampoline, pick flowers, find craft materials, kick a ball... the possibilities are endless.

We have made a conscious decision to live on less, to take work which pays far less than we are “qualified” to earn, we choose our family well-being and a rich life over financial wealth. We drive one car, don't go on foreign holidays, do homemade birthday parties and restrained gift giving. Because of this we are very much out of kilter with many of the other parents at our local school in material terms, and I find myself having to explain to my son about the choices we make. But I know, and I think he knows, that his life is rich in so much more than what money can buy.

It is in our garden that we are richest, because we are in contact with the magic of life itself. The mystery of becoming, of growth and decay. The sap rises unseen in the trees, the force which makes the green shoots emerge, is also in us. The sun which shines on our strawberry plants, turning flowers to fruit, how can it not make us fruitful too? We are part of this magic, this abundance, how could we ever be poor?

In the infinity of where I am,
All is perfect, whole and complete,
I am one with the power that created me,
I am totally open and receptive to the abundant flow 
That the Universe offers me...
My goodness comes from everywhere and everyone.
All is well in my world.

Louise L Hay You Can Heal your Life


If you liked this, then why not read some of my other posts celebrating nature, beauty and abundance...

God paints in bright colours - a celebration of nature in words
An Eden to call our own - part of the Earth Day blogging carnival

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Get Out!Momma Jorje gives reasons she doesn't think she gets outside enough and asks for your suggestions on making time for the outdoors.
  • How Does Your Garden Grow?The ArtsyMama shares her love of nature photography.
  • We Go Outside — Amy at Peace 4 Parents describes her family's simple, experiential approach to encouraging appreciation of nature.
  • My Not-So-Green Thumb — Wolfmother confesses to her lack of gardening skills but expresses hope in learning alongside her son at Fabulous Mama Chronicles.
  • Enjoying Outdoors — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine describes how her children enjoy the nature.
  • Five Ideas to Encourage the Reluctant Junior Gardener — For the rare little ones who don't like to get their hands dirty, Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers tips for encouraging an early love of dirt (despite the mess).
  • Connecting to NatureMamapoekie shares how growing your own vegetable patch connects your child to nature and urges them to not take anything for granted.
  • The Farmer's Market Classroom — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares how the Farmer's Market has become her son's classroom.
  • Seeds — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment's hubby Ken shares his perspective on why gardening with their kiddos is so important . . . and enjoyable!
  • Toddlers in the Garden — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares her excitement as she continues to introduce her toddler and new baby to the joys of fresh veggies, straight from the garden.
  • Nature's Weave — MJ at Wander Wonder Discover explains how nature weaves its way into our lives naturally, magnetically, experientially, and spiritually.
  • Becoming Green — Kristina at Hey Red celebrates and nurtures her daughter's blossoming love of the outdoors.
  • Little Gardener — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis looks forward to introducing her baby girl to gardening and exploring home grown foods for the first time.
  • Cultivating Abundance — You can never be poor if you have a garden! Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on what she cultivates in her garden . . . and finds it's a lot more than seeds!
  • Growing in the Outdoors: Plants and People — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reflects on how she is growing while teaching her daughter to appreciate nature, the origins of food, and the many benefits of eating home-grown.
  • How Not to Grow — Anna at Wild Parenting discusses why growing vegetables fills her with fear.
  • Growing in the Outdoors — Lily at Witch Mom Blog talks about how connecting to the natural world is a matter of theology for her family and the ways that they do it.
  • A Garden Made of Straw — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares tips on making a straw bale garden.
  • The Tradition of Gardening — Carrie at Love Notes Mama reflects on the gifts that come with the tradition of gardening.
  • Gardening Smells Like Home — Bethy at Bounce Me to the Moon hopes that her son will associate home grown food and lovely flowers with home.
  • The New Normal — Patti at Jazzy Mama writes about how she hopes that growing vegetables in a big city will become totally normal for her children's generation.
  • Outside, With You — Amy at Anktangle writes a letter to her son, a snapshot of a moment in the garden together.
  • Farmer Boy — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares how her son Joshua helps to grow and raise their family's food.
  • Growing Kids in the Garden — Lisa at Granola Catholic shares easy ways to get your kids involved in the garden.
  • Growing Food Without a Garden — Don't have a garden? "You can still grow food!" says Mrs Green of Little Green Blog. Whatever the size of your plot, she shows you how.
  • Growing Things — Liz at Garden Variety Mama shares her reasons for gardening with her kids, even though she has no idea what she's doing.
  • MomentsUK Mummy Blogger explains how the great outdoors provides a backdrop for her family to reconnect.
  • Condo Kid Turns Composter and Plastic Police — Jessica from Cloth Diapering Mama has discovered that her young son is a true earth lover despite living in a condo with no land to call their own.
  • Gardening with Baby — Sheila at A Gift Universe shows us how her garden and her son are growing.
  • Why to Choose Your Local Farmer's MarketNaturally Nena shares why she believes it's important to teach our children the value of local farmers.
  • Unfolding into Nature — At Crunchy-Chewy Mama, Jessica Claire shares her desire to cultivate a reverence for nature through gardening, buying local food, and just looking out the window.
  • Urban Gardening With Kids — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares her strategies for city gardening with little helpers — without a yard but with a whole lot of enthusiasm.
  • Mama Doesn't Garden — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life is glad her husband is there to instill the joys of gardening in their children, while all she has to do is sit back and eat homegrown tomato sandwiches.
  • Why We Make this Organic Garden Grow — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her reasons for gardening with her three small children.
  • 5 Ways to Help Your Baby Develop a Love of the Natural World — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama believes it's never too early to foster a love of the natural world in your little one.
  • April Showers Bring May PRODUCE — Erika at NaMammaSte discusses her plans for raising a little gardener.
  • Growing Outside — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers how to get her kids outside after weeks of spring rain.
  • Eating Healthier — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she learns to eat healthier and encourages her children to do the same.
  • The Beauty of Earth and Heavens — Inspired by Charlotte Mason, Erica at ChildOrganics discovers nature in her own front yard.
  • Seeing the Garden Through the Weeds — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro talks about the challenges of gardening with two small children.
  • Creating a Living Playhouse: Our Bean Teepee! — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares how her family creates a living playhouse "bean teepee" and includes tips of how to involve kids in gardening projects.
  • Grooming a Tree-Hugger: Introducing the Outdoors — Ana at Pandamoly shares some of her planned strategies for making this spring and summer memorable and productive for her pre-toddler in the Outdoors.
  • Sowing Seeds of Life and Love — Suzannah at ShoutLaughLove celebrates the simple joys of baby chicks, community gardening, and a semi-charmed country life.
  • Experiencing Nature and Growing Plants Outdoors Without a Garden — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares some of her favorite ways her family discovered to fully experience nature wherever they lived.
  • Garden Day — Melissa at The New Mommy Files is thankful to be part of community of families, some of whom can even garden!
  • Teaching Garden Ettiquette to the Locusts — Tashmica from Mother Flippin' (guest posting at Natural Parents Network) allows her children to ravage her garden every year in the hopes of teaching them a greater lesson about how to treat the world.
  • Why I Play with Worms. — Megan of Megadoula, Megamom and Megatired shares why growing a garden and raising her children go hand in hand.
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  1. Just beautiful. Thanks Lucy for the inspiration. I want to transform my new garden right now into the paradise you describe.

    Choosing time over money and authentic abundance over material glut has been my guiding light for nine years now. It is a most magical soul gift that i wouldn't part with for the world and you sum it up perfectly here.

  2. I love this post! I love the magic you see in the everyday pleasures of life, and the joy your garden and your attitude bring to others. Isn't it so true that simply bringing food outside makes it that much more tasty and fun?

  3. Wonderful! Beautiful post :). Less is absolutely more with the gifts of perspective!!

  4. What a gorgeous post - and such inspiration! I do find myself in that trap more often than I would like of 'wanting more' - and it's not what I want for my daughter. Learning to see the beauty in what we have is so much more important!

    I'll be saving this to think on again - thank you as ever for your beautiful writing Lucy!

  5. Lucy, I have a hard time commenting on some of your posts because they are so poetic and wise that I can't see how anything can be added! This piece is no exception. I love this: "It is in our garden that we are richest, because we are in contact with the magic of life itself. The mystery of becoming, of growth and decay."

  6. Your garden sounds magical! Your children are going to have such amazing memories. What a gift you are giving them! Thank you for sharing with us.

  7. What a beautiful post! Amazing what a "little patch" of earth can bring. I love the magic you find and celebrate in nature. It's a great reminder to me that there are simple and easy ways to remind ourselves and teach our children that we are all interconnected. Understanding our interconnectedness helps us value ourselves, the earth and each other. It's the gift that keeps on giving. :)

  8. This is gorgous! Makes me want to sweep by and linger under that lovely blossomy tree!

  9. Oh, how I long for my own little patch. But until that day, should that day ever come, we'll have to "settle" for the abundance of Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden!

    And these words are words I need to hear now. I'm looking at days? weeks? months? of unemployment right now, and I am working against that oh-poor-me feeling of poverty. Thank you!

  10. Hi Rachael,it is wonderful to have one's own patch, but having access to beautiful public space is great too, as you get to enjoy it and NOT HAVE TO DO ANY WORK - no grass mowing, seeding, weeding, tidying up... it has it's bonuses. We are very grateful that we live next door to a beautiful large garden which is open to the public, and both sets of grandparents live just minutes away with large lawns, and we have a public grassy space on our estate, so rather than be sad that we only have a small estate garden, we are grateful hat we have access to so many large grassy spaces and beautiful gardens... WITHOUT having to put our physical energy into sustaining them.

  11. Just lovely! Embracing simple pleasures, cultivating contentment. Thank you for inspiring us. :)

  12. Spot on lady! Abundance is totally a state of mind. I have a friend who always talks about how poor she is, even though I have other friends much poorer than her who are just getting on with life and accepting that they can't have the most expensive this or that. I am the kind of person who lends, lends, lends, and gives freely to others. It makes me feel whole. I don't always get stuff back but I prefer being this way that suspicious of others, too stingy to give first. Somehow the more you give away the richer you become. The opposite of what many people believe! And anyone who is scared of gardening, all I can say is that this scaredy cat first time clueless gardener has lots of veggies coming up in a very pretty patch of joy in my garden...... whereas just five metres away, the ground elder is running riot! Oh well.

  13. What a beautiful post! Your garden sounds like a magical place. I'm so inspired by your musings :)

  14. beautiful. What an inspiring paradise you have created and you are indeed blessed with abundance. I love how you see that. People visit us, look out of the window and admire the beautiful view we have, and you know, in the 13 years I've lived here I've never once taken that view for granted - I feel rich every morning. Thanks for a lovely post.

  15. Beautiful blog and post! You write very well. So true that abundance has so much to do with attitude and living in the now with what we have. I look forward to keeping in touch and reading more. :)

  16. i love this post it mirrors my response to my daughters reaction to a very affluent aquaintence in her class , she has every thing money can buy which my daughter doesnt not because I cant afford it but because I dont feel she needs it ( although many of these things wold be a years savings!!lol) but this particular child never sees her dad as he is always on bussiness ; I said to my daughter she may have a dvd player mobile ipod etc etc but you have your dad home every night for dinner with you to put you to bed; she may have a yaucht in the med and we camp in our teepee in a wood but you have your mum dad and siblings with you to make a den, swing on a branch, paddle in the stream; toast marshmallows on a fire, you are far richer my lovely one in ways that matter and are important to your heart; she would i know love to swap all her material wealth for a day in your happy family orientated life cos in our world your riches are things that money can not buy!; my daughter smiled and said I love you mummy xx



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