🌱 Love and Tomatoes πŸ…

I am just a novice gardener, but my hopes and dreams have been entangled in plants for quite some time.

I moved to Volcano, Hawaii this year after visiting twice, I fell in love with the moss, the trees, the sky, I live an hour away from the beach and the beach that is there is hot and rugged. It’s Hawaii, but it’s like a different world from the Honolulu hometown I grew up in during the 1980s. Anyways, it’s a great place to garden, up on a mountain, it doesn’t frost, but it does get much colder than Honolulu. There are almost a dozen different climate types in Hawaii, from snow to cool on Mana Kea, hot and arid in Kona, wet yet cool here in Volcano, wet and hot in Hilo ext.

I’ve got a problem, with my daughter, she never feels loved enough by me. I’ve been around her almost everyday since she was born at home. I worked a bit with her, but didn’t leave her, I took her with me. I don’t know why she is a cup that can’t be filled, but that’s how it’s always been with us. For years I carried my daughter in a carrier, I did many of the things reccomended to avoid this kind of a problem, yet the problem remains. I don’t know if it’s something to be fixed or just the way our life will be. I don’t know if she needs to find self love in her own heart or something I don’t know about, but changing the way I try to let her know I love her hasn’t helped so far. She clings and clings and clings and yet is never fuller of love and affection. My father, my sister, my husband, her God father, her God mother help me lover her, yet it’s not enough, not nearly enough for her. I don’t understand it, I’m not uncaring, not unnoticing, yet I have no solution so far.

It’s gotten so bad between us at times that I can’t feel love for her, yet I do love her. I told her my truth, that I do and will always love her, but when I am very angry or frustrated I can’t feel the love that is still there in my heart.

Last summer I planted two cherry tomato vines, this summer it fed my daughter nearly everyday, we went out together and picked the ripe yellow and red tomatoes. It was a handfull of tomatoes, but they are expensive here and they have always been her favorite food. The vines were overgrown and the fruit was hitting the floor in a tangles mess, caught up with spiky Hawaiian rasberry vines in a way that was difficult to protect from pests. At night I took many semislugs infected with rat lung paracite off the tomato vines and besides that my elderly father couldn’t be expected to harvest from the floor height vines when I wasn’t around during our winter trip. So, I decided to remove the tomato vines, with a very heavy heart.

When I placed the vines on a trellis I was planning to throw out I noticed the fruit still ripened, offering us more sustinance even after death, it touched me in a deep way.

Maybe like Michael Pollen I am just projecting imagined emotions onto plants, but maybe that’s fine.

I have trouble expressing deep emotions, noticing them, I am broken in many ways.

I don’t know exactly how my feelings, that I should have for my loved ones, became instead invested in plants, that logically don’t provide for me. I’m not a farmer, nor a famous gardener, nor is my garden even well kept or particularly beautiful… yet it’s where my heart lives.

My dad and my sister prefer dogs to people, dogs don’t hurt people often, they don’t critizise, they don’t usually leave, I get it…

But for me it’s plants.

I have a husband, a daughter, a baby son, a very helpful sister, a generous yet shy father, but it’s difficult to be excited about them to share my heart with them. It’s easy for me to do that with plants. I can care about the sprouts, be excited by seeds germinating, be in love with moss, find common ground with the trees, feel amazed by the ferns here, supposedly over a thousand years old. Loving plants has become as natural as breathing and loving people as hard as calculus.

I recognize how perverse that is for a social species individual and inopportune for a parent and spouse. Yet that’s the way my heart is.

So, I have a problem, we all have problems right?

I was in the garden trying to take out all the weeds this summer, when my sister who was baby sitting for me, asked me “what are you hopping to achieve, what’s the end goal?”

And it bothered me, it burrowed into and occupied my mind all summer and until this day I haven’t sorted it out or been able to stop trying to sort it out.

I suppose I should live a people first life, “love people, use things,” but that wasn’t how I was raised, I’m not that framiliar with doing that.

I try to be a good mother, but it’s not very enjoyable, I don’t feel unconditional love towards my violent, needy daughter very often, but one time when I did was when we picked tomatoes together during the summer this year.

I have planted the seeds of our tomatoes hoping they will grow well so we can pick them again next summer, but I know I should also find a way to actually love my daughter more often.

The slugs in my area have a paracite deadly to kids, my whole adult family hunted them for two weeks in June and July to try to make the garden safer for my kids to eat out of… I wanted my daughter to know the connection between nature and food at a deep level, not an intellectual one, yet after two weeks of not sleeping after coming back from hunting my worst phobia I didn’t really know if it was all worth it or not.

Months later there are still some slugs, but nature is on my side, wasps have moved in, lizards, skinks, and frogs are on the way that can all help eat the small slugs, we even found one snake here in Hawaii… a blind snake. Thought there weren’t any, but was wrong. Found a hammerhead worm, never knew that existed, walking down our pathway… in summary nature is headed back to balance where there won’t be a ton of slugs on our property anymore like there were this year (that’s my current hope and thought anyways). Even when there are less, there will be that low, yet horrible risk that if my unruly daughter does eat a slug, she will most likely contract the rat lung paracite that there is no cure for and is almost always deadly in children… so how can I risk her life because I want her to eat fresh veggies from our garden?

I have a hard time explaining that to myself.

Officials say washing produce is enough, yet people are getting the paracite without knowing how, that worries me… slime has low amounts of the disease, slime that could be anywhere outside… right on our door, our patio, in our kitchen once, on our welcome mat irronicly (slugs are unwelcome on our welcome mat)… it’s very scary not knowing how some people get sick, it’s scary that if my child eats a slug she will almost certainly get the paracite and almost certainly die, so why not find something else to do?

I don’t have a rational answer for that. Not really.

I don’t want to live in fear, I don’t want to not do the thing next year that gave me the most happinest this year, I don’t want to pay the high price of cherry tomatoes every week, I don’t want to give up my dream of having an amazing permaculture garden so soon or so easily. Those are part of why, but I think the real why is deeper and harder to define.

I think gardening is my ikigai, reason for being. I don’t know why it isn’t raising my kids, or writing, which I also enjoy.

Something about waking up and seeing what’s sprouted, watering the plants I want, slowly removing the weeds respectfully, dreaming of future pathways and microgardens, beats writing and taking care of my kids.

It seems messed up, and it’s a little beyond my comprehension or explanation, yet I think it’s the truth.

Raising my kids is significant to me, yet to be honest my sister or father could do as good a job as I could and my husband (if we could afford him to stop working) could do better. I’m not very good at raising them overall. I keep them safe, I love them, I feed them, I stimulate their minds, but it could be done equally well or better by others if I had others available.

Gardening is something less significant, yet it can only be done by me. My gardening can only be done by me, it’s kind of a living sculpture, a botanical painting of my soul. What I do for my kids may be my legacy, may affect the world, and my decendents more, yet it’s almost not at all personal, it’s me supporting their natural growth, it’s them being them. Gardening is me being me. Maybe someday I will change, maybe people will fascinate and inspire me someday, but right now they really don’t.

Right now gardening is my ikigai, it’s the reason I am passionate about life instead of just resigned to the never ending laundry, dishes and discipline I couldn’t really care much about eventhough I have tried for years to find satisfaction and meaning in service.

So, my daughter’s awesome school is featuring love (aloha) as the value of this month and for me love is picking cherry tomatoes together, washing them really well and watching my daughter enjoy her favorite food that the land gave to us so generously. I hope it happens again next year.

I hope some year in the furture I will say that my daughter is at peace, because of herself or something I changed or that we have too many things we do where I feel unconditional love towards her to even write about, but this year, it’s picking tomatoes. That’s the only time I’ve felt that way with her and something so precious to me that I’m now overly emotional about tomatoes in general. Tomatoes have become my symbol of unconditional love.

I was planning to discuss growing up in a horde of trash, broken items and broken dreams and how that might have affected my ability to love people or not love them… but perhaps that will be another time. I wanted to put down my feelings about the tomatoes. I never want to forget the smile on my daughter’s face, how I faced my phobias for what seemed right, the sweet taste of the tomatoes, the shared sunlight, the shared happiness that we don’t always have together. I never want to forget that there are moments when I love my daughter with all my heart as much as I’m “supposed to” be able to do/would like to do, all the time. πŸ…

⭐ Life Improvement Second Week

Hello! This is the week two, it’s easier to do this the second time, it almost feels like a habit already to reflect on and learn from the past week on Sunday. I’m grateful that I jumped on someone else’s momentum, but I could still be rushing to get things done, instead of doing what matters to me, if not for upholding my own values, so I am celebrating myself too!

Pono & Mind:

πŸ—Ή Be the change you want to see happen instead of trying to change anyone else. -Arleen Lorance “Did this by starting a parenting class – The Whole Brained Child: Beyond the Book – to try to change the way I communicate during melt downs ext.”

πŸ—Ή Create your own reality consciously. -Arleen Lorance “I’m doing this by changing my values and beliefs as painful and energy draining as it is, until I enjoy life and am satisfied I am living with integrity, why not keep changing the life I’ve made for myself?”

πŸ—Ή See problems as opportunities. -Arleen Lorance “I did that by taking a chance for a free video lesson by Rachel Stafford Monday, that focuses on the problem of distraction.”

πŸ—Ή Have no expectations, but rather abundant expectancy. -Arleen Lorance “I did that because I’m not expecting any particular behavior or dynamic to change in my family due to the parenting class, yet I am open to improvements happening.”

πŸ—Ή Read books. Do puzzles. Brainstorming. Drawing, painting, and/or sculpting. -Demitri Martin “Read The Book Thief, reviewed took notes on The Whole Brained Child. Did a ton of brainstorming about discipline, what makes a well lived life and gardening. Worked on a digital drawing.”

Mālama & Body:

☐ Eat better. -Demitri Martin

πŸ—Ή Exercise. -Demitri Martin “I nailed T25 Ab Intervals, and was very sore afterwards.”

Aloha & Relationships:

πŸ—Ή Did you let people help you/provide others with opportunities to give? -Arleen Lorance “I got help from another writer in the form of a life lesson I needed about gratitude. Thank you to Nomz for another inspiring post about Sunday reflection!”

πŸ—Ή Did you receive all people/someone as beautiful exactly as they are? -Arleen Lorance “I did that with my baby, and I tried the hardest I could with my daughter and sister. It seems like acceptence isn’t all or none, I feel myself starting to approach embracing my sister and daughter, who are different than me, a little bit more everyday.”

☐ Did you help a friend/stranger? Uplift those around you? Do something nice for someone? -Demitri Martin “I don’t really know, I want to believe that this writing will do that, but since I don’t know I won’t cheat.”

πŸ—Ή Practice Confidence: Be forthright and proactive in your life. -Demitri Martin “I can’t believe I’m doing this, it’s maybe not 100% smooth, but I am communicating with respect what bothers me or what is on my heart and mind with those that I love instead of staying quiet believing that it will stir up trouble or that no one will understand.”

Kuleana & Career/Personal Management:

πŸ—Ή Did you set weekly goals? -Demitri Martin “Yes, here, monthly on a note and daily on Habitca, everything isn’t perfect, but I am getting my goals on paper and working on aligning everything with my values and nature’s principles over time.”

πŸ—Ή Did you take daily steps toward achieving those goals? -Demitri Martin “I did take two scary steps, paying $24 for a parenting class that might help my current worst problem and signing up for a video class given by my favorite author, which is free, yet still scary.”

☐ Money: Keep careful track of your income and expenses. -Demitri Martin “I didn’t keep careful track, I am getting closer though, I kept loose track of finances this time.”

πŸ—Ή Errands: Do your cleaning, marketing, and pay your bills on time. -Demitri Martin “I did my basics, as I could, even though I didn’t upgrade them.”

12 Points of 15 Points = 80% for the first week of September. A little less than last week, but that makes since, I had a little less to give this week. A little less sleep, a little more sick. I think the point system has helped me to be mindful of what I really want in life, but not really sure yet…

The next week I got sick and my eye was swollen halfway shut for three days…

πŸ•―οΈ Winds of Change πŸ•―️

This year my heart is very unsteady, my emotions and mind are unsure, it’s a different world for me this year. In March I had my second and last (intended) child. I never knew a love like this before. My daughter brought me a different kind of love, a lot of joy and sweetness, laughter and tears. Failures and successes, an emotional rollercoaster. My husband brought me a feeling of safety, a feeling of being known and cared for by someone, being special to someone. My son is different, he brings me such a profound inner peace, he brings a harmony to all of us that is really difficult to put to words. I believe we all bring something different to the family, to the world. My world is better than ever before, but also shaken up and upside down.

For the past few years I have chosen values and tried to live by them for a long time before changing them, but this year feels very different, it feels neccisary to change my way of being distracted and busy, it feels neccisary to change being passively dissatisfied with a life out of balance doing too much for others until I’m an empty shadow of a human being, it feels neccisary that I change my consioussness to create a different life than the one I have come to hate (even though I made it myself). In my new life I want these value changes:

Proactivity replaces entitlement.
Resilience replaces complaints.
Perseverance replaces excuses.
Authenticity replaces courage.
Mindfulness replaces persistence.
Humility replaces wisdom.
Serenity replaces power.

It’s a lot at once and I don’t like that, I don’t think it’s easy to make a lot of changes at one time without falling off good habits, yet I feel a kind of emotional momentum to complete a larger metamorphesis than normal. I feel inspired to give myself and my kids a different life than they would have with me the way I was before.

It’s not that many changes in our physical life, but so many in our actual life, in the way we live. I was rushing so much before, that the habit I am trying to form of “not rushing,” becomes a thosand real habits. Don’t rush through morning, don’t rush through meals, don’t rush to clean, don’t rush people who are talking, don’t rush while you brush your daughter’s hair, don’t rush as your kids grow up, don’t rush as your life passes you by without reaching your dreams, don’t rush as you reflect on the week, don’t rush so that you don’t ever tell your husband that he matter to you, it becomes millions of habits.

Which is why I like having the free habitca app, it lets me add daily habits, regular (but non-daily habits), to dos…

Some daily habits I’ve made since my son was born are “Live my Best Life Possible,” “Don’t Rush,” “Check Email in the Morning,” “Mindfulness,” “Communicate Assertively,” “Brush Teeth Twice,” “Dry Dishes at Night.” Some other habits I’ve made are “Authentic Acceptance,” “Notice My Kids,” “Work on Blog,” “People Care,” “Teach School,” “Home Care – Laundry and Dishes,” “Plant Care,” “Earth Care,” and “Fair Share.” The one habit that has stayed from before my son is “Stoic Meditation” on Coach.Me (an online positive habit community).

My life is in flux in a really positive way, but it’s very turbulent and challenging to try to rise to meet internal challenges and be honest about failures, re-evaluate plays, seek solutions instead of being bogged down by problems.

The year started with the meditation, “problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them” (Einstein) and it has become “do what you can today, with what you already have, find a way.”

It was the book The Power of Habit, that first inspired me to take a hold of my own mind and live the best I could in real life, before that book it seemed impossible to seperate who I am from my good and bad habits and make the changes I dreamed a reality. Much gratitude to Charles Duhigg for writing such a empowering, truthful and useful book. Since reading it I became interested in neuroscience and habit formation, but also in becoming emotionally proactive and healing my heart’s wounds enough to be able to have the resilience to face life with my heart on my sleave, take the pain of failures and continue trying to do the best I can everyday.

I think it’s going to take sometime to sort out my action plans and rationals for changing my value structure that thus changes my mindset, attitude and habit plans, but I wanted to write something as a declaration of my intent to be a better person, in part in thanks for the pressence of my son in my life and in part to be able to die in peace when I finally do so.

The quote that keeps me inspired when I bite off more than it seems like I can chew is “change is possible, if you seek it,” (- author unknown) that’s what the featured image represents to me.