5 ways to Compost emotions

In the spirit of cleansing out/cleaning for the new year, I went through my internet favorites bar, deciding what I was still interested in, had done or already read, and I came across this article “How to grieve, rage, and move on,” by Dr. Christiane Northrup about healing from our drama from the past. We always hear that phrase, let it go, move on, but we all know it’s much easier said than done. Well, this article was very informative. It actually provided some steps to moving on and dealing with our emotions.

What I mainly took away from this article was that everyone has crap they have to deal with in life, but you can choose to use your crap for good and help new things grow/develop. That’s the basic gist of composting. You take scraps and old food that you aren’t going to use and put it in a big bin/container with water, dried up leaves or paper, and air flow. Months later, you have fresh, enriched soil that you can use in your garden to make your new plants grow. It hadn’t occurred to me until today that this idea of composting can totally be applied to our emotions/ideas as well.

I’m a huge fan of recycling/composting. I think it’s great to be able to use our trash. What an amazing thing to be able to  apply the composting process with our old crappy memories, emotions, ideas!

We don’t keep trash in our houses, so why do we hang onto old emotions  in our mind’s house?  Just like trash, old emotions probably smell like hardcore shit and are rotting inside of us unnecessarily. What loves shit? Flies, bugs, that create worms, maggots, disgusting creatures that love to feed off of our old crappy emotions/ideas/baggage/pain, you name it from the past.

This became one of my goals for the new year, to compost my old ideas/emotions and get them out of my house/body/mind and put them in a place where they can be re-used rather than stored in my body or mind’s house.

What are ways we can compost our old ideas?

  1. Create.  I’ve done this a few times to deal with pain. I put traumatic experiences in my stories. I’ve had some crazy things happen to me, so what better way to re-purpose this than to put the drama into a fiction story. Hey, it has another life now and it’s no longer just part of my secret dramatic history. It can serve as entertainment or even a lesson for someone else to learn from my mistakes. Point is, it no longer just lives in me. It’s somewhere else.
  2. Exercise. Ever feel like punching/kicking something because you’re mad? Well, take up kickboxing or invest in a punching bag. This rage can help you get into shape. Don’t let it stay in your body.
  3. Give/Help. Don’t know what to do? Think about other people who have way less than you do. If you aren’t on the street, you have a lot. There’s nothing more humbling than volunteering your time to give/help someone who needs it by buying someone a meal, helping ESL learners learn to read, volunteering at a soup kitchen or even just donating your old stuff to Goodwill or letting someone crash on your couch. Giving is never unnoticed by the universe. We never lose anything we give away for free. It’ll come back to us in another way whether it means we’ve learned to let go or gave someone much needed warmth in the form of a coat or pair of shoes.
  4. Gratitude. Easy way to put you in your place and ground you. There are so many things we take for granted like the ability to breathe, have a roof over our heads, shoes on our feet, all our limbs, a job, a family, 20/20 vision, education, you name it. Make a list of five things you are grateful for every morning before you get out of bed. It’ll definitely change your perspective.
  5. Learn something new/be better. We aren’t defined by our past. We can definitely choose to be better. To learn alternative methods to healing and living a better life than maybe our parents did or those around us. We can always pull out old, rotting ideas that don’t serve us. Learning does this. We replace old ideas with new ones that are better, that feed us and others. This concept we learn easily in gardening. Maybe you choose to learn about composting. What could be greater and more symbolic than to actually understand the traditional idea of composting? You can literally see the process happening with old food and leaves/grass from your house. If you don’t have room for that in your own living space, it’s definitely beneficial to learn how to do this somewhere else such as volunteering in a community garden or even just researching online. Gardening is a gift. It shows us so much about the cycle of life and how anything in nature grows. It’s the same for us. We aren’t some mysterious being that is above nature. We require nearly the same things plants need to grow/thrive. Understanding this is life changing. I invite you to make the time for this.

 

 

 

Re-growing food from scraps

I am obsessed with gardening.

If you would have told me this was going to happen a year ago, I would have thought you were crazy, but now I’m a freaking gardener and loving every minute. My hands are always dirty, I find my heart skipping a beat every time I see a Home Depot or nursery, and I’m always thinking about my gardens, my kids, and what I can grow next.

Since I now have four gardens I work in,  I have to plan lessons each week and find myself buying plants regularly. I do have a stipend to buy supplies, but I think it’s even cooler to be able to use already existing plants and scraps to re-grow things.

A few weeks ago I planted garlic in one of my gardens and it’s been growing nicely.

wpid-20151105_113031.jpg

I was blown away that I could plant garlic from one clove. I have been doing research on what can be re-grown and I’m currently experimenting with ginger, celery, basil, and onions. All you really have to do is stick the roots in water or back in the ground and they will grow right back up! Amazing shit and what’s even cooler is that these veggies are staples that are beneficial to health and if eaten regularly, can prevent sickness.

This is the season when everyone is getting sick because of weather changes. Immune systems go haywire. I know mine did. I was getting sick but decided to drug myself with ginger and garlic. I didn’t get full-on sick. I stopped it in its tracks and feel so much better for doing so. I see people around me using drugs like Claritin and Nyquil and it’s just not helpful. Not only will these drugs make you tired, they will also delay the recovery process.

So think twice before you douse yourself with these medicines. The real medicine is the food we eat that’s loaded with natural vitamins essential to our health.

Times are changing and we may just need to know how to feed ourselves when we have no markets or restaurants. We will need to know how to grow our own food, utilizing every source of energy, making natural living a sustainable, viable way of life. This is the direction that truly saves, inspires, re-energizes.

Gardening can teach you this. I was the least likely person to garden, but learning gardening re-enforces sustainable living, a sense of union with the community and kindness and peace within. It can heal. That’s what’s fascinating about using old food scraps. You can grow something out of an organism that we would normally throw away. Everything operates in a cycle. Life, death, rebirth. It’s amazing so think of everything in this way.

A new Job, new day

So last year I decided that if I was going to teach again, it was going to be something more focused, something that I really cared about and felt would make a difference. I found this organization called Enrich LA and started interning with them as a garden assistant. Fast forward to eight months later, and I’ve been hired as a Garden Ranger!

The interview was super unconventional and totally personal, you know, all those things that are against the rules to ask, but I find it rare to meet people who have the courage to go there, to find out the truth about others. The executive director of Enrich LA, Tomas, is this high energy Irish dude who immediately told me that he had two goals: to meet me and to scare me away. I was totally drawn to that because I get scared away easily by a lot of things actually. I’m pretty intuitive and I find that I’ve often interpreted my trepidation as fear rather than that gut feeling that I know better. This feeling has steered me into one of the most unexpected directions in my life but the freedom I experience everyday is beautiful, free, and essential to my being as an artist, dreamer, and spirited individual.

So I accepted the job and I’ll be teaching kids about gardening. Gardening has been one of the most essential learning tools in my life. It has taught me patience, kindness, consistency, dedication, how to identify things, when to let go, etc. I’m so excited to share this passion of mine with kids and with some adults even. I knew that I was in the right place meeting Tomas and working with this organization. Tomas says whatever he means with no filter. I have a huge filter and I asked the universe to guide me and I was answered with the opportunity to speak up, to voice my opinions, to be heard and appreciated for my heart’s efforts. I have a huge heart and I love to give. I am just so excited to move forward with this endeavor.
I find it interesting that all these really awesome amazing things have been happening since my breakup. It’s like the universe is reaffirming me that my life is way more important and there is way more for me to do than to dwell on some dude, even if I love(d) him. I think meditation has a lot to do with it as well. Every morning I wake up grateful and set the best intentions for myself and others, just by saying that I love myself, I am fulfilled, and I’m worthy. I really do wish the best for everyone. We all deserve happiness and love. It’s the only way to go around thinking.

Compost: STARTING OVER

Yesterday was my day to work with the kids in the garden. It was a sad day when we discovered that the insides of our compost bin are no Bueno, and we have to start over. Almost three months of work down the toilet. Life can get super symbolic sometimes. When I got home, I dug deep in my own compost and found that it smelled like SHIT, literally. SHIT underneath all the newer leaves and produce. So, yea. Sometimes even if we are working on a project, if we don’t take care of it, it gets rotten, and we have no choice but to start over. It can seem daunting or painful to start over, but you can’t keep rotten stuff around. Starting over is what is necessary.

I swear, gardening has been the great metaphor for my life and probably most people’s lives in general. There are things we have to take care of properly. Sometimes I think just caring for life in general is like a science. We can care for anything in the same way we care for a garden. We have to water it everyday, give it sunlight, good soil, talk to it, pull weeds, prune, trim, and pull out dead things. If we do, then we get beautiful, healthy results. If we don’t care for things properly, they get bad, and bacteria forms. The smell of rot becomes undeniable. Eh, I’ll be removing my compost next week on trash day and starting over.

And we will be clearing out the compost bin at the school next week as well. Hey, it wasn’t time wasted. I learned greatly from just jumping in and starting something I knew hardly anything about. Nothing in life is a failure. Everything can be perceived as both success and failure, all at the same. It just depends on how you look at it. I look at most things as successes even if you have to lose something you worked hard to create. Maybe you didn’t know how to care for it, so it went bad. Better luck next time, eh?

So I think what I need to remember for the next compost is to add more dry ingredients and make sure I’m turning everything from the bottom up. I need to find a cover for my trashcan and make sure the rain doesn’t get in it because too much moisture is what seems to have killed my compost.

I’m not afraid of change, of starting over, of failure, of success. I’m in love with life’s lessons and challenges. I continue to keep an open mind and learn every day.

Hands in the Garden: DIY Composting

I am typing with dirt all over my fingers and hands in this very moment because I started my very first compost!Yesterday was my first day interning in a school garden. I will be working there every Wednesday until April. I decided to get involved with a program called Enrich LA to learn more about gardening and get involved in my community. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while and it feels really amazing to learn about gardening and teach it to children. Honestly, I didn’t feel like getting up yesterday morning. It sort of feels like when I go to yoga. Sometimes I don’t want to go, but once I get there I have no regrets and am always refreshed afterward.

When I got to the garden, the kids were in awe over some green caterpillars that were just chillin on a plant. I assisted the Garden Ranger with a bunch of things like passing out squiggly worms to all the kids, guiding them in the garden, and answering questions. The kids sang Happy Birthday to seeds they planted and got to taste a Sorrel plant. Being in the garden feels like magic. There is always something to learn, plant, pull, water, understand. It’s a beautiful mystery and I love every moment, especially with children because you get to teach them these mysteries and wonders and they are just so excited about everything. I didn’t grow up understanding much about gardening, but once I became the one in charge of the garden in my house, I feel grateful to have this time to understand and appreciate all gardening has to offer about life, love, and patience.

So next week, the kids are going to be learning about composting and since I hadn’t known much about it before, I decided to jump in and make my own. I wish my camera was working so I could show you. I basically raked up a bunch of leaves, pulled out some unruly grass and weeds, added soil and water, and I think that’s it for now. I’ll be learning more as I go. There’s nothing like just jumping in and doing it and getting my hands dirty. The garden relaxes me and reminds me that life goes on, the world keeps spinning, no matter what you have going on in your own mind/world. There is just so much to do, see, learn, and grow from. No time for worry or sorrow. Just love, work, and growth.

What the Garden taught me

SDC12003SDC12001

Today my grandma and I sat down and began the process of harvesting pomegranate seeds for juicing and dehydrating. I really need to show you the amazing tree she has growing in her front yard. The pomegranates started falling from the tree about a month ago, so we started taking them down. We filled up an entire barrel with pomegranates.

I have to say that I am way more connected with the earth these days, and maybe that’s why I am where I am. Since my grandma is too old to bend down and take care of her garden, I’ve taken on the responsibility and it’s been absoultely amazing and I am grateful for every moment I get to spend tending to the kale, mint, basil, orange, lemon, and avocado trees. We are actually planning on planting some new leafy greens for the upcoming winter season. This would be my first time ever planting something in 30 years. Oh, yea. I turned 30 this past weekend, so I’m a freaking adult now. My trial and error phase is over and I’m really glad for some reason. I don’t feel like a kid anymore. I haven’t felt like a kid for the past three years or so, but now it’s official. I’m not a young adult anymore. Couldn’t have happened at a better time that I get into gardening because I’ve learned so much about how to live and what caring for life means.

Gardening really is life teaching. It’s funny because for the longest time I was watering weeds in my grandma’s garden. I wasn’t actually sure what I was doing. I knew it was summer and the plants and veggies needed watering often, so I would go out there everyday and water, but I didn’t know how to decipher weeds from plants until I asked my grandma to show me what was what. She laid it down and told me. We both laughed as I told her I had been watering weeds all summer. But it was okay, I pulled them out and started tending to the soil underneath that wasn’t getting watered as much due to the weeds.

I learned that we need our elders to show us the way and sometimes we can be caring and giving attention to things that go out of control and won’t give us any sustenance, like weeds. I’ll be honest. I have cared for weeds for a long time like ugly thoughts or negative people and they had gone out of control. But what’s cool is that you can always start over. You can pull out the weeds, air out the soil, and start again. It’s never too late. All we need is a little help and a wise voice from an experienced gardener to help us tend to our own soil. Sometimes weeds have DEEP roots, but you can always pull them out with a strong hand and make sure that every day, every week, we tend to the garden or it will die or get out of control.

That’s life right there. Simple. I couldn’t be more grateful to be here with my grandma, harvesting pomegranate seeds and making plans to keep the garden alive and prosperous. Sometimes we don’t always know what we are doing on the earth but all of the sudden something clicks. The garden helped me sort through weeds in my life and gave me hope and reassurance that I’m in the right place because I needed to learn how to garden.