What goes around, comes around ~ compost, Karma and kindness

Greenman by candlelight

What goes around, comes around ~ compost, Karma and kindness

One of the hardest things about moving house is leaving behind a garden you have nurtured and cherished. I used to be a gardener. I am still one inside, but after our last move, from one garden that was far too big (an acre, if you’re curious) to one that was far too small, I lost heart. I found I just couldn’t do it any more. The garden was tiny and the soil exhausted and slightly toxic from overuse in the past of both weed-killer and chemical fertilizers. Turn a spade and nothing wriggled. We tended it but for me it was without enthusiasm.

But diligently we filled our two remaining composters, with teabags, veg peelings and the like. Our garden in Kegworth, we’d had a row of six Daleks and when we left, I gave 4 of them away to a freecycler who also filled some sacks with the beautiful well-rotted compost those Daleks had contained. This year, the composter in use was a glorious mass of wriggly soil workers: hundreds upon hundreds of worms.

So of course, the move became more than speculation, became a reality and it dawned on me that for the umpteenth time, I’d be leaving behind perfect compost. We dug that batch into the veg patch. If nothing else we’d restored that small patch of earth to something like a fertile, healthy soil.

Moving house is up there in the top ten stresses. I’d fretted myself almost into a breakdown by the time moving day came, paralysed by sheer anxiety into a state resembling a rabbit in the headlights. No amount of reassurance made a difference. I’ve been ambivalent about this move for lots of reasons; I suspect some of it is based on deep distrust of the bureaucracy the church can be infamous for, and also because it meant that a certain level of independence would be lost. But sometimes you just have to go where the Wind blows you, and in the end, I let go and just allowed myself to be borne away on that Wind.

I’ve just about emerged from walls of boxes now. Apart from my study most of the boxes are unpacked and the house feels like home. It doesn’t quite smell like home yet but I am working on that. The acid test is when my mum arrives next week and walks in the front door and takes a big sniff. I’ll let you know what she says.

In the first few days, I worked solidly at unpacking but one evening my other half told me something that was a pleasant surprise. There’s an area behind the garage that’s what you might call a ‘service area’ with a compost bin and such like behind a trellis fence. It turns out that there’s a compost heap too. It’s about twelve feet long and about five deep, and 3 feet high. There must be a good metric tonne of well rotted compost here. I suspect that this is about the same as all the compost I’ve left behind in the last twenty years.

There are also a dozen or so apple trees. In the last gardens I have planted dozens of trees (literally) and I don’t think when it comes to apples, I’ve ever stayed long enough to ever taste a single one. We once grew asparagus from seed; by the time we left that garden, it was getting close to being ready to crop. We never got to eat any.

Many years ago, when we had our first garden, a friend asked me why I was bothering to plant things when we knew we’d only be there for three years. At the time I answered somewhat acerbically that what was the point in doing anything when we’re only on this planet for perhaps eighty or so years. The thing is, planting trees that one will never live to see in their prime is a selfless act. One is planting for a future generation, never for oneself. If no one did it, imagine the world in fifty years time.

So seeing both copious compost and abundant apples in my new garden was a reminder that sometimes things do catch up with us. The good we do, and the bad. When you sow kindness, it’s because it’s the right thing to do, and not because you hope that kindness will be repaid one day. It won’t be. Kindness is a gift, once given, and given with no thought of return, which benefits the receiver first. But the giver benefits too, from simply doing a kind thing. Yet at times I wonder if there is some rough balance that means you tend to get back what you have freely given. I don’t believe in the so-called Law of Attraction at all, yet I do believe in grace. You don’t have to deserve it, yet perhaps when we have chosen to do good and be kind, grace finds it easier to find us. Maybe you just notice it more.

I tend to (wrongly) associate the word Karma with the negative, of punishment rather than a redressing of balance, but the principle still seems to be there. The evil we do does come back to roost, in the end. Our problems come when we wish to see the evil of others catch them up when and where we can see if and feel that justice has been done. I’m guilty of this at times, of wanting those who have chosen to hurt me to get their come-uppance and for me to know about it. That’s something I have to let go of. It’s not up to me.

There’s lots of work to do, to make my new home more home-like and to nurture and cherish the new garden, and find a job and so on. But now I am here, I’ve generally slept better (that’s another post!) and feel better. I’ve begun to understand where some of the extreme anxiety had been coming from (again, another post). But the Wind has blown me here, and here I have landed. Time to see what else the Wind may bring.

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15 thoughts on “What goes around, comes around ~ compost, Karma and kindness

  1. You’re going to be happy there. And you’ll get back to gardening, to finish what was left for you. That’s great, Viv. All joy to you in this new place to which you’ve been blown. The universe works in mysterious ways.

  2. Nice to hear of your discoveries in your new garden! Sounds like a good arrival, and as if you are choosing some new karma.
    My current understanding of karma is that the literal meaning is actions that come from deep-set habits. You could call it ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and sometimes it may feel/be one or the other. You can live out your karma unconsciously or you can become more aware, and reshape or even choose your karma. You can also see karma neutrally. To be free from Karma is to have moved through these habits and no longer be governed by them.

  3. As I sit here in my potting shed at work contemplating some massive life changes this past year, equally those I yet to face up to…I break down spilling tears into my obligatory 8am mug of tea…
    I can do this, I can follow the breeze and have belief thst my landing will be soft and.smelling of compost….
    Thank you x

  4. I was taught by a Taoist that Karma meant ‘echo’, so whatever you put out will return to you, multiplied and resounding. That description seems to fit your recent discoveries Vivienne ~ how exciting! 🙂

  5. I’m thinking of the folks who left all that good stuff behind.
    Negative – they had to work off their frustrations from dealing with onery
    parishoners .
    Positive – they thrived and grew closer to God in this peaceful ,nurturing place.

    Either way you got your karma on!

    I have only moved four times in my life.
    No plans for ever doing it again.

    I am very glad for you have sleep .

    Peace

    PS
    greenman looks like the rising sun!

    • I do expect that we will move again but not for a few years at least.
      Previous tenants, well, there’s a tale or two there but not for public sharing. The previous chap was not a gardener but he had someone who did the garden for him and stopped it becoming a jungle. It’s down to the gardener that we have the compost.
      xx

  6. I love how your post grew gradually, from one form into another..much like a seedling to a leafy plant…We share many of the same interests, and if you’d be willing, I would love to interview you for my new blog called WHAT’S YOUR STORY?? Check it out and let me know. I think you have a lot to offer my readers. http://www.readsuki.com/whats-your-story/

    • if you think I am a good candidate for this interview, then thank you! If you could contact me directly with the criteria (look on my contact me page) we can take this further.
      Thank you for visiting and for enjoying the post. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Janus, the two faced god ~ looking backwards and forwards at the same time « Zen and the art of tightrope walking

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