Chapter 1: A New Hope; I soaked the seeds in regular room temperature water for about a day and some started germinating in that after that first day (with a tiny light yellow root poking through the pointed end).
Chapter 2: The Nursery; I moved them to the saucer filled with peat moss.
THE NEXT DAY
Chapter 3: A Dangerous World; Slug scare, but as a result took iron poison bait more seriously and started more proactively protecting the garden and weeding to keep the garden more accessible with less refuge for slugs. I realized that although unnecessary, gardening is really enriching and important to me, and I am willing to work through my fears of slugs or in general of loosing the garden to change or nature’s whims to try my hand at a new garden.
TEN DAYS LATER
Chapter 4: Moving Out; It’s February 25th, the morning glories (two at least) got moved out of the “green house” (broken so it doesn’t hold heat, but still has the bones of a green house) and are hopefully going to start vining up our trees in the front garden my kids play near.
Chapter 5: Cold Winter Rain; So, two morning glories are outside, but it’s been really hard rain lately, so they look a bit under the weather… not dead, many are still in the green house, one of which had a slug removed from it. I planted some clover with the morning glories and noticed something had eaten the clover, thus found the baby slug. Looked up slug mating season so I would know when to expect the babies, it’s January, February, March, April, May, June, July (break for August and September) again in October and November (break for December) so… pretty damn often. The iron bait has seemed to work well, but still finding a slug here and there. Today I found a snow white cuban slug… since the poison went out in early February it would need more time to work and then extra time for newly hatched babies.
Hoping to see the flowers this year, but I noticed the last time I planted in summer seemed much easier on the plants.
The first year, I grappled with learning serenity and it led me to focus inward and live a better, more intentional life.
Entry 1; August of 2017,
I have recently begun to find serenity in not worrying about what I cannot change, but to this I would take it further and let me release the burden of judging others at all.
Today I didn’t meet all my personal goals, but I met 5 of them and did the laundry, exercised, cleaned the house and was more patient than ever before with my child… still not a perfect day, but I’m glad I can accept that it was still a great day overall including a nice family walk to the fountain and a delicious protein burger that doesn’t seem to get old.
When I wanted everything perfect, it was nearly impossible to appreciate the good I already had.
A few days later: I designated a Zelda shield to represent quote 9. 🛡️
Entry 2; October of 2017,
I fall into a bad habit of being judgmental. I waste my energy thinking about other people, it may be wrong to judge other’s mistakes or maybe the truth is the truth, but either way focusing on other people means I overlooked myself or didn’t put focus into my goals.
When I focused on others be, it right or wrong, I lost focus on my own life and growth, too much of that was a waste of my life, perspective, and talents.
⚔️ TINY ACTIVITY ⚔️ Try to ask what about me? when I think of things I think other people are doing wrong. Ex, that person’s space is a mess, what about me is my space in order? That person could be doing more with their kids, what about me, am I making time for my kids?
Entry 3; December of 2017,
I stopped judging others when I’m not asked about it, I became focused on judging myself, introspectively (not harshly). Instead thinking about why I’m not able to work on my goals, the things that have been in the way, and what I want to do when I do begin work, and how I’m going to break down the tasks.
When I don’t work on my goals, because I have been sleeping in lately the question is, “it that ok with me right now?” And I guess it is. I feel like it’s natural to get a little extra rest during this part of the winter, if I was in the middle of a big project it may be different, but I am between important projects, and I don’t need to rush myself into the next one without having some time to brainstorm first.
I am starting to learn to feel my limits. For most of my life, I have toggled between working like a dog, than burnt-out procrastinating. It’s not what I want to continue, instead I want to learn to feel when I am worn down and take a break. I don’t want to avoid all work, but I don’t want to run headfirst into projects that aren’t right for me. I want to stop and take a minute and decide what I want to do before I start a project (live intentionally). That’s not the same as doing nothing, it’s doing something that is pretty important, yet hard to show progress in, or say hard to say to someone else exactly what percent is done, or what the time line is…My martial art’s instructor once told me a story about a young bull, who wanted to run down a hill and procreate with a cow, but an older bull told him, “no, let’s walk down the hill and procreate with all the cows.” Still looking for a more PC quote that makes the same point…
⚔️ TINY ACTIVITY ⚔️ Divide my life into two categories: 1. My externals are – my body, my family, my country, my overall wealth, my day job, where I live, and 2. My choices are my self care, my way of speaking to others, my vote, my personal spending, my attitude in my family and at work, my gratitude about the comfort and joy of what I have right now, and what I want to do with my art and writing projects.
Celebrating Growth: I’m glad that I did that, I didn’t do that the first two times around. I find most of the shame I have is already about things I choose, which is good, at least I don’t worry about what I can’t choose, but I struggle to not be ashamed I haven’t done more writing and art this year. I suppose I can celebrate that shame as a compass in my heart trying to steer me away from not writing and drawing. 🎉
I really worry about doing anything without knowing if it was what I was meant to do with my life, but I also don’t care to be idle waiting for a time to come that I am sure, and also I’ve searched as far as I can in books to find out how to find out what I am meant to do… I know I can draw and write, I know not doing those things makes me feel really bad and doing them makes me feels good, so it seems like a good place to start learning how to do mental work, yet I really wish that it felt like it was clearly “my purpose.” It doesn’t. I thought people were born with purpose, but maybe not, maybe they just pick them, the people who live with passion are the ones I thought lived with purpose, but maybe it’s something within your power. Maybe God leaves it to you to decide your purpose. Maybe you can change it to whatever you want and some people never change it. I remember the first thing I really really wanted to do with my life was fight monsters (like Link in Zelda games). I made a card board sword and shield so I would be able to pursue my life’s purpose of being a monster killer. As an adult, I don’t want to be an outlaw hunting criminals, nor do I want to be a parole officer, nor do I want to be a judge, nor do I want to be a lawyer… but if I could hunt monsters. I guess it feels like what I do isn’t enough. I think I have to face the feeling that no matter what I do it won’t be enough and it would be nice to separate that from my productivity and address that separately. Divide and conquer.
When I noticed how I did feel (worried about not knowing my purpose) I felt scared it would never change, but feelings can and do change, sometimes in response to something I intended to change them, sometimes in response to something else, they migrate slowly at times, but they do migrate.
The second year, I examined if I could teach serenity to others (so far no).
Entry 4; December of 2018,
This quote defines serenity for me, and it’s given me a lot of inner peace to practice this mental separation process, but I wonder if it can be taught to children without accidentally teaching them learned helplessness? I worry teaching them some things are out of their control may give them too much a sense of helplessness. (So much is outside of their control for children, I was worried if my daughter listed the extent it would make her feel helpless)
I’m going to try to think of ways to teach this to my three year old, because she seems to get really upset every time something is not her choice, and more than it bothering me I think it would help her have more peace in her mind. (That didn’t happen, my daughter was upset because she had Sensory Processing Disorder and needed treatment for that to be in a normal state of mind to even begin to be able to understand complex mental processes)
I’m celebrating that I have one thing to teach my daughter that my parents didn’t teach me that I believe will help her a lot in enjoying life. 🎉 (It didn’t help her at that time, but I don’t think it hurt her and I enjoyed trying)
I learned that surrendering control of what you never did control is a major, if not the major, component of inner peace.
The third year, I examined the larger context of this quote as a basis of support for other ideas and how it affected my habits of decision making and taking responsibility for my behavior.
Entry 5; March 2019,
I started thinking this quote in a larger context, relating to the one by Marcus Aurelius, where he says of others, “there but for the grace of God go I.” It helps me be less judgmental of other people to know their capacities aren’t mine, just as mine are limited so is everyone else.
Trying to be proactive to find the ways it’s possible to choose a response to situations that can’t be chosen.
Celebrating that I’ve started having an easier time making choices, it’s still not easy, but it’s easier than it once was. I don’t think my parents let me make any small choices, maybe they didn’t know they should, but I have the hardest time with small insignificant choices and I feel like I’m a little child struggling to learn how. 🎉 I thought about it because I was always informed to let my child practice making choices (like blue or red toothbrush?) and she is very strong in making choices, it’s not meant as a complaint, but parents who never give children choices (which does take a bit more time and energy) can expect to have children who struggle to make choices, it’s a skill that gets stronger with exercise. It took me a year or two of practice to get better at making common choices, for awhile I didn’t even want to browse at stores because I found making choices with many options overwhelming.
I’m learning to look at my failures and weaknesses with more kindness, not making excuses, but not shaming myself either.
When I let go of the weight of things that weren’t my responsibility is the first time I had the strength to be responsible for the things that really were my responsibility.
Entry 6; August 2019,
Each time I do the stoic meditations, I divide life into serenity and proactivity.
It takes serenity to accept this truth, and then proactivity to face every choice from then on… but sometimes I slide back into reactivity, and then accept that with serenity, and resume living proactively as best I can.
I’m celebrating that it gets easier and easier to stop living reactively. 🎉
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People talks about proactivity existing in “a space between events and reactions,” I’ve also heard of it described as “the inner citadel,” either way, I’ve gotten better at extending the moment a lot more than when I first started.
Entry 7; November 2019,
This quote is still very helpful at reducing my feeling of needing to react to other people’s negativity and conflict, if I don’t choose to do so.
Still building serenity, there was a small incident of someone being rude to me in front of my kids in public, I got agitated and am still trying to forget what happened, I can see that it was my response that stays with me (it was not a bad response, just not really heroic or anything). I stood my ground in an angry way, but not a strong or elegant way, not with poise or bravery. Still working on letting things go that don’t matter.
I’m celebrating that I understand the truth of this quote more and more over time, that what is beyond our control is beyond our fault and responsibility as well. 🎉
I’m learning that everything I suffered with my abusive mother bothered me more when I chose to allow the situation to continue. I felt so trapped, was trapped for some time, then one day my mother called and I politely spoke my mind to her about how she abused my sister and I, and she instead of apologizing, said she would never talk to me again, and hung up on me, if I had been anything except sincerely civil, I may have regretted our last conversation the rest of my life. But when my response is in the right (to me at least), it’s amazing how fast I can let go of what happens.
After two years of trying to live intentionally, I started being able to do it without being super drained, the first two years I was more thoughtless than thoughtful, but I still tried and now I still have reactive moments, but they are now the exception, instead of the normal modus operandi.
The fourth year, I started understanding the idea of personal power (what is in my control) and serenity to what isn’t in my control at a deeper level, examining the space between my choices and the world.
Entry 8; February of 2020,
It’s interesting how long it took me to understand the deeper nuance of this concept, for a long time I thought events were either or, either inside or outside of our hands, but there is a tiny bit of big events in our hands. Example, the totality of the great ocean garbage patch is not my fault, but it is partially my fault when I throw away 1-use bags, right now I use a backpack at the store, and don’t need more 1-use bags, but every once in awhile we get more, then I save them and at least use them again as trash bags. Using all 1 use plastic bags at least twice, would reduce the trash in the world by 50%, that’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction. Using a bag for shopping 80% of the time is better than 0%, even 1% is better than 0%. We can’t do what we can, when we get to emotionally burdened by wanting to solve more than what we are capable of doing, what we are not capable of doing is outside of our hands.
What can I do to make a better world? Write. I’m trying to start writing books, if I do that I will build skills and confidence, I can either keep doing that or transfer the skills into a different path, as long as I’m doing something towards a better future, I can trust other people to do other things, and hope that the net is enough to handle huge issues, like adapting to the hotter world, which is a reality for our decedents. We survived both ice ages and global warming before with less technology, perhaps it won’t be easy, but I refuse to believe things are hopeless, as long as there is life, there is hope to find balance in life, and nature is more resilient than people imply.
I’m celebrating that we have been able to use less chemicals, eliminate paper such as napkins, use far less plastic, even though my husband doesn’t care, I’m sure my kids will use less of those things, simply from seeing it is possible. It doesn’t have to be 100% of people, nor 100% conversion, simply by making eco friendly choices that do work for us, we have done our small part, and perhaps someone brilliant will start finding new ways to make eco friendly alternatives more cost effective, once they are cheaper they will be the popular option. 🎉
I’m learning as much as I can about finance, it’s obviously not the only thing that matters, but I’m inspired by Elevate Orphan. For a long time I made a lot more money and didn’t have any passion projects to sponsor, now I don’t have much extra, but finding things I care about means that I can either contribute at a later time, or contribute in a different way, money can be helpful, but so can awareness, information, ideas, encouragement, love. Sometimes you are able to fight in the front lines, sometimes you support the fighters, sometimes you make a change in legislation that ends the fighting, there are many ways to help.
This is the fifth year, I’m back to square one of trying to put events into one or the other categories (external or choice).
Today I’m considering this quote vs procrastination. Often there are things I get excited about doing, like writing a book, or something else, then I don’t follow through. So either I don’t really want to, I feel obligated to pretend I want to perhaps, or I can’t. Maybe it’s outside of my control to just finish a big project without having worked on small ones before. Each November other people “just write” with NaNoWriMo but I haven’t. So perhaps I don’t really want to right now that I’m a bit overworked, or perhaps ever, or perhaps I can’t because I’m missing some key ingredient that others may not need or may already have, but either way it brings me all the way back to the beginning of practicing trying to discern when something (in this case being able to write a book) is either within my control or out of my hands and reminds me I’m still a beginner in the arena of self awareness and serenity.
Tiny Plan: Rebuilding the daily activity schedule 8 AM Music, 9 AM Engineering, 10 AM Outside, 11 Martial Arts.
🗹 Connect with Other Humans – Email works, writing works, family doesn’t fill my cup so I have to be mindful of my limits.
🗹 Take Breaks – Mostly the garden, but whatever works, I need to…
🗹 Seek and Discuss Healing – We are talking about starting family counseling, we really should at least try it.
🚧 Take More Consistent Breaks
🚧 Let the New Schedule Sink in Without Adding too Much
💡 Life Time Goal:Live intentionally so the things that matter are the ones that don’t fall through the cracks.
🛠️ Tools: Gratitude, Self Leadership.
Tiny Plan: Take a bit more time to think, I feel like I’m living behind rather than ahead of life.
🗹 Radical Acceptance – Going well, kind of detaching from “everything” that needs to be done and doing some stuff that is possible.
“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices.”
🗹 Create your own reality consciously. – Going surprisingly well, gardening helps, it helps to see something I can physically see changing, martial arts is fun too I can see the kids improving vs academics take longer and are less noticeable.
🗹 Clarify my Dreams, Intentions, Goals, and Plans Here – I still have trouble feeling that it’s important, justifying taking the time, but yet I know it helps so I don’t understand the disconnect, though I feel it.
🗹 Cleaning – It’s getting easier and easier, it’s still not detail cleaned, but it’s sanitary and better organized than before and I’m not hating life. I only clean an amount I can tolerate on a given day if that means the bathrooms or the fridge isn’t cleaned, then they aren’t. But always the kitchen, the trash, the laundry, the bedrooms, the kid’s toys and equipment. Sometimes the patio or garden is a mess, but the more I get a routine the faster the routine stuff gets and they I could theoretically tackle something extra on the weekend.
🚧 Make More Time to Think
🌱 Life Time Goal: Leave my kids a beautiful garden or at least gardening skills or at least fond memories of outside.
🛠️ Tools: Permaculture Gardening.
Tiny Plan: Work towards tiny pockets of usable garden, for music, for produce we eat, for beautiful flowers by watering and checking what there already is growing.
🗹 Malama Pono – Be forthright and proactive in your life – Going well.
🗹 Aloha ʻĀina – Going well, connecting with the garden, sourced cheap and high quality local steer manure compost and organic worm casting compost, that makes me feel like larger scale projects are within my reach. Finding scrubby pads to keep slugs off makes me feel like gardening is a bit safer with the Rat Lung infection of the slugs so prevalent in my area, I have baited with iron slug poison (that doesn’t affect other wildlife) and it seems to have finally worked because I was a lot smarter about baiting in dry areas and many areas instead of only a few that got wet and therefore didn’t work as intended. Not sure if it’s the cold weather, but it’s been the least slugs in the garden ever, still jarring about 1-3 a day, but there were days I jarred over 100 in the same day (over 200 was the record day).
🪓 Life Time Goal: Become mindful and bold about maintaining myself preventatively with respect towards myself and excitement towards what it allows me to do in my life.
🛠️ Tools: Stoic Living, Kaizen
Tiny Plan: Try to find more time for fun things during the average day.
🚧 Let yourself play games sometimes or otherwise enjoy life a bit.
9 Points of 13 Points = 69% this week real life responsibilities really presented challenges to taking breaks that were above my pay grade to deal with, for now. Sometimes defeats are really insightful though, I can see that I really must find a new way of making time for myself and that it really is a need to take care of myself before burnout rather than after when it’s harder, uglier, and costlier.
Thank you, reader, for joining me today, it seems a bit redundant to be burnt out of child care starting a new garden, it must have been at least the third time if not the fourth, but each time I learn a lot about gardening and how to stop making the same mistakes in general, I’m a slow learner…
Preface: I’m continuing a thread from before the pandemic, from a year and three months ago… it seems like I’ve taken enough steps back in life that I can retrace my old advice, perhaps that was the reason I was motivated to write it back then? I always was writing to be helpful to just one person, perhaps that person was always meant to be myself?
Mission: restore harmony to my mind/myself /my life by breaking modern life down into the three arenas of 1. Connection – how I treat and enjoy people, 2. Acceptance – how I treat and enjoy myself, clearing my mind and accepting my emotions “as is” with no justification, 3. Action – my service to the world, currently tutoring my kids, cleaning my physical home ext, and 4. Harmony – the balance between the three areas of life and how to spend limited energy, time, and money with mindful intention.
Arena 1: Connection – Life Time Goal: Don’t be a complete jerk. Tools: Assertive Communication, Tactical Empathy, Observation, Sports Casting, Look Up, Look In.
Tiny Plan: Try to take the high road once a day (I used to have higher expectations but I’m a little pandemic fatigued still).
🗹 Connect with Other Humans – Saw a friend in person, it was amazing, very much worth it after so long, so deeply wish the pandemic had been managed in a different more targeted way so unaffected areas or people who had tested already could have lived with less isolation. It’s really invaluable to be with other people, I would almost trade 5 years of pandemic life for 1 year of regular life, life is really much richer with friends (in person friends).
🗹 Read books or Articles – Online friends or colleges, they are a welcome addition to life, they just kind of fill a different cup than in person support, they inspire me, they do uplift me as well, it’s just somehow not a substitute for in person support in the same way. Doctor’s visits have been okay online, music lessons are great, martial art’s lessons are okay, preschool hasn’t been as rewarding or easy, somethings translate very well, other things don’t.
🗹 Seek and Discuss Healing – I am doing my best to try to help my sister as just a sounding board for her own ideas to get out of her depression a little bit, I think it helps a lot that I’m not rushing her out or giving many suggestions, counter-intuitively wanting someone to get better or giving ideas can slow down their healing.
Arena 2: Acceptance – Life Time Goal: Live intentionally so the things that matter are the ones that don’t fall through the cracks. Tools: Gratitude, Kaizen.
Tiny Plan: Stop being over critical and don’t beat myself up for small mistakes or other people’s mistakes.
🗹 Radical Acceptance – Still a work in progress, but going well especially with cleaning and cooking, I clean and never finish the whole house, but I am keeping the basic health hazards completely under control and making more progress with the gross looking stuff and even slow progress towards making things look “elegant”. Cooking is going well too, we eat mostly healthy, mostly tasty stuff, it’s a bit redundant, but I was never a cook so it’s pretty decent from where I started.
“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices.”
🗹 See problems as opportunities. – I don’t do this 100% but I do look for at least one thing each week to work smarter at… so I did do this for Japanese language learning and restarted my journey with Kanjidamage which is an awesome funny, but really explicit website to learn Japanese easily in a fun way.
🗹 Create your own reality consciously. – I know it’s possible, I do it a little, but I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered it, definitely baby steps, like drinking tea instead of coffee in 2021 to prove to myself I can make life less redundant in the 2021 pandemic than the 2020 pandemic was by being a different person myself.
🗹 Clarify my Dreams, Intentions, Goals, and Plans Here – It’s been a large break, but it feels grounding to be back after about a year off.
Arena 3: Action – Life Time Goal: Do the right thing. Tools: Permaculture Gardening, Martial Arts, Stoic Living, Self Leadership, KonMari, Minimalism.
Tiny Plan: Teach martial arts weekdays 3 PM.
🗹 Malama Pono – Be forthright and proactive in your life. – I’ve feel like that honest part of me I had as a child has synced up with the adult me to produce and overly honest adult, but I’m good with that, that’s how I feel well.
🗹 Aloha ʻĀina, Teaching Martial Arts – Going okay, second class post pandemic, it’s just my kids, but they are still kids and they are having fun so perhaps that’s enough.
🗹 Cleaning – Starting to know how to clean and have good (but not necessarily expensive) tools (such as a steam mop, enough towels, not broken spray bottles, vinegar, blue dawn soap). Cleaning gets easier when you know how to do it and can do it in the same flow as normal, easier and faster and less draining.
Balance Between Arenas: Harmony – Life Time Goal: Allow myself to guard and restore my own well being for no other reason than it’s the right way to live. #mumlivesmatter
Tiny Plan: Try to find more time for fun things during the average day.
🗹 Money: Be reasonable, but joyful about using what we have wisely. – Read “Happy Money” and I’ll hopefully never go back to the old way of thinking about money as a limited resource that runs out, money is more like renewable energy than oil, people can always make more money with service, with policy, with savings, in so many ways.
🗹 Creative Endeavors: Brainstorming, Drawing, Painting, Sculpting, Writing, Architecture. – I would want to do a bit more, but did do a pretty reasonable amount, did write and publish instead of just keeping another draft, did draw recently, not a ton, but a little, did a lot of garden design choices hanging the strawberries ext, doing a lot of brainstorming with curriculum and parenting choices, never thought about how much that drains my mental energy until now, but it really does. Designed and printed a math lesson “recognition” chart and a martial arts chart, little things like that aren’t so easy, to go from the idea to hanging the finished product in the same hour is a record turn around for me. Did a bit of ocarina sheet music in Inkscape too and learned a new song on ocarina.
12 Points of 12 Points = 100% this week though real life is never perfect I did have a medium amount of energy to bring to the table and that helped me restart martial arts, the only exercise I’ve done this year (rare for me) as well as doing a bit better at making music time fun, reading story books instead of showing movies at night and being calmer for language and math lessons.
Thank you readers for joining me today, it’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these weekly reviews, but it feels good to be back because it’s interesting to see how much has changed. Notably lowered expectations of myself and more patience with my family, especially my daughter who I didn’t always know was a special needs child. I didn’t expect it to happen so fast, but I’ve made peace with being a special needs mum, it’s been about two months since she got her diagnosis and at first I was very resistant to identifying that way, to owning the amount of effort and patience I would need to put forth to be able to thrive as an individual in that situation or to help her in her situation, but I’m starting to be at peace with it, since it’s always been there whether I resist it or embrace it.
January 31st I spent about $10 on morning glory seeds, I had started to grow them once before, sprouted a ton of them (like 40-100) and then they all died… I want to vine up our thin ‘Ohi’a trees with a little bit of color. It took me a long time observing the garden and neighborhood to decide if I think the flowers will become invasive in this climate, I doubt it due to the overgrown ginger and groundcover types already here… also I wanted to think about if they are harmonious with the landscape, I think they are, also I wanted to think about if they make a part of my ideal life, I also think they are.
Some people may find morning glories old fashioned or ramshackle, but I like that, very much. I’ve grown white before, and LOVED them, but since we have slugs (huge brain eating parasite carrying ones) here, I don’t imagine frolicking under the moonlight where white really looks amazing, so no moon garden plans right now.
If you want to join me morning glories can be indoor kitchen plants and are a great beginner plant because they are very strong to start.
Here are what the seeds look like, they are hard, dark black, shiny, pointy, they feel strong.
I soaked the seeds in regular water (our home filtered rainwater) I used to use chamomile tea, but didn’t have any on hand.
After a day indoors the seeds had opened (I started 11) with a tiny light yellow root poking through the pointed end.
I moved them to the trey that goes under the pots we got for strawberries.
I’m hoping that I can get the morning glories to vine up our trees, including the dead ones that I leave because dead trees are supposed to be very good for garden microbe and animal diversity.
Sometimes I think I want to be a farmer and I’m in a location where a few special things can grow, but I don’t have any background in gardening or farming and thus growing a few simple plants seems like the next step towards either taking it to the next level or just enjoying the garden again.
Morning glories remind me of Marcus Aurelius since he wrote about the struggle to get out of bed in his book Meditations, and especially of the quote which is not verified to be him…
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive-to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
– Marcus Aurelius (Probably not verbatim though… but Meditations did say a lot like that)
THE NEXT DAY
I was preparing a kind of flat area around a fern to start having strawberries once the cuttings I recently got (Seascape) are ready to move out of the green house, when my daughter told me she may have a slug on her foot.
She did, it was super gross, she moved it off her foot onto her hand and it was actually two slugs, mating by both putting their penises into the other’s vaginas… slugs are like that… so it was very gross.
But also stressful, because they carry a lethal parasite, rat lung (Angiostrongylus cantonensis)… which only got 1 person in 2020, but I don’t want that one person to be my daughter… so we put three slugs into the slug jar which has salt (squishing them would just cause the parasite to leave their body and find a new host…).
Anyways… that’s something we have to deal with in our district, the worst in the country as far as high infected slug population.
Why weed out brain eating slugs to garden? Because I want to play the ocarina, and of course I don’t want to play the ocarina inside, I want to play outdoors in a beautiful forest garden.
I’ve always wanted to play specifically on a log chair thing in the woods, now I live in the forest, but still want a log chair and still want to make the garden the kind of place that would resonate with the music.
The garden is pretty much weeds with some good “bones”, since the lot is on the edge of the forest preserve it comes with some trees, high ferns and moss, but also dead ferns, over grown ginger and parasite hosting ridiculously large slugs of many types.
I sometimes prefer a break from gardening, or feel like I have to take one because I’m pregnant and it’s not good to be too involved in soils at times like during miscarriage risk – though sometimes and for some people it would be fine. But now that I’ve been back gardening it’s been great.
One thing that kept me not gardening is that I take care of my two kids mostly alone, so that I have to let go of the guilt of letting the younger one watch math videos “all alone” while I garden and I do need to check in with the older child about slug safety, pretty much on an ongoing basis. Then the slug anxiety that I have pretty much got over much to my surprise.
If we didn’t have slugs I would want to grow all our own produce, which financially we don’t need to do. But since we do have a ton of slugs I don’t know if I will eat our produce more than a token amount or not, because I don’t know if I will get the slug population down, deal with the slugs crawling over my stuff at night (which they do) and still be able to eat it after washing it in the day (harder after actually seeing them on it), or perhaps I will get rid of the slugs mostly and still not really eat my own produce, but no matter what I do enjoy the process of gardening and I don’t want to stop that.
In a lot of building games houses don’t “evolve” until they are beautiful and gardens are the usual way of making the houses beautiful, I would put a garden in our house in a game, so why not in real life?
Gardening does a lot for me, I socialize with the plants, weird or not I enjoy it, the book Square Foot Garden got me started, it said ask the plants if they are thirsty and listen and it has become fun, even though I still can’t tell if yellow leaves are too much or not enough water… gardening is a bit of activity during times I’m on an exercise break, gardening is a fun way to get some sun which in small amounts is really healthy.
Gardening gets me out of the house and helps give me small things to look forward to, something sprouting or blooming or fruiting or just staying alive is usually exciting.
Gardening is fun with or without a good produce yield and I like to imagine that getting more skilled in it will let me start a farm someday, maybe on another property, or maybe indoors in a vertical aeroponic kind of set up… I like hydroponic a lot, but my dad kind of took over that set up and I like to do my own thing more than working with two chefs in the kitchen…
One thing I don’t love about gardening is that everyone in my family loves and hates different plants, so one person’s win isn’t a win win. My sister likes lantana, I find it very over used and uninspiring, I love moss, my dad prefers grass to moss, unfortunately we don’t have similar tastes, one person’s favorite is someone else’s least favorite seemingly without exception… if my sister gardened alone it would be very European, if I did it would be more Japanese and my father would have orchids. But right now I’m not even thinking about the landscaping or overall garden just a tiny pocket of it to put the strawberries I just started into.
So as of now I’m gardening more as a therapy, more as a way to go forest bathing and less as a way to become self sufficient, though that always seems like a spiritually cool thing to do I don’t think its logistically or economically the best thing. Because of climate type, I live in a pretty cold place that does get nicely warm, but not hot. So, many things won’t thrive and I don’t think I want to go without them just to reach a point of being self sustaining. Papaya will probably never thrive, but berries seem like they will. But do I want to eat slug berries? I’m not sure. It’s quite rambling, as usual right? But I do kind of need to know internally, why am I putting my kids at risk to take them into the garden, why am I spending my small amount of free energy there, why am I spending my husband’s money there? For what? For joy? Or for relaxation? So the kids will understand we eat from the Earth beyond the economic system? Or to heal my own soul? To fill a silly aspiration to taste the seascape strawberry I was growing before I left on vacation and the plant died? To connect to my ancestors? To connect to nature, something larger than myself and all life? To have something to do that I can succeed at for pride? I’m not 100% sure yet, it’s a journey I can feel myself drawn to without a complete explanation about why I do it.
More Reading: Scientific Study of Slugs and Rat Lung Parasite: “Control Measures for Slug and Snail Hosts of Angiostrongylus cantonensis, with Special Reference to the Semi-slug Parmarion martensi” by Robert G Hollingsworth, PhD, Kathleen Howe, BA, and Susan I Jarvi, PhD
Stop Reading if You Don’t Want to See a Slug
A Five Minute Video about the Rat Lung Parasite and Gardening Interventions: