Tag Archives: plants

Grow Ink

6 Jun

My latest tattoo: Growing.

Tattoos have always been a fascination for me. Although I don’t have many (in tattoo people standards), the ones I do have tell my story. My tattoos tell the story of moments in time, of the different selves I have embodied, of the varied beliefs I have acquired and then shed, of the ones I still keep. Our beliefs, our thoughts, our selves, and our lives are transient, either they grow with us, becoming firmer, rooting themselves to the core and blooming into more complex ideas, thoughts, selves, or they slowly wither with the passing of the season. Neither of those dualisms is more correct than the other. It’s our growing process. We must on occasion shed some of our outdated modes of thinking in order to give space to the new, and we must also keep some core fundamentals that give us a sense of a deeper purpose, a deeper self. Tattoos seem to me like the yoga phrase “As above, so below”.

I look back at my sensitive, fluttery 18 year old self who wanted nothing more than being free and let to wander, and who identified herself with a butterfly, so much so that she tattooed one on her. And, I look back at my fiery, determined self in her mid to late twenties who had achieved some sort of career success for herself, who felt that everything in life was a battle, but who kept her anger at the injustices in her life bottled, and chose no other symbol than a volcano to tattoo on her back. Every tattoo in my body is a chapter of my life. Some chapters remained inkless, but the ones that made it into skin create a rough sketch of who I have been, who I have wanted to be, and who I am today.

It was not with little thought then, that I approached getting this new tattoo on my arm. Man putting seeds in the ground, caring for the seeds so that it might become a tree, (which are also the lungs of the earth, creating oxygen out of carbon monoxide) under the Egyptian hieroglyph for the sun.

This new ink in my arm has become a personal testament to growing, both the plants in my garden, as well as myself as a person, a mother, a spiritual self. With some nurturing from ourselves, we can all become towering symbols for growth. We can all be flourishing lungs of the lives we have created and continue to create.

For a lighthearted read on various plant tattoos, go to this. I enjoyed looking through the various designs.

The Process

23 Apr

Tulips from the front garden.

“Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ

tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ

bhárgo devásya dhīmahi

dhíyo yó naḥ pracodáyāt”

English translation: “We meditate on the adorable glory

of the radiant sun; may he inspire our intelligence.”

Every gardener has their own process. Special shoes to slip on before heading to the garden, a pair of gloves to fit into, a pair of shears to tuck into their apron, a long sigh of anticipation, a smile of expectation. For me, gardening begins with Gayatri Mantra. A Sanskrit mantra, Gayatri invokes the Sun, the light, the force of the Universe to strengthen our prayers, to give power to our intentions. What better way to approach the garden than to ask the Sun to protect our process!

When I first started gardening, I was always so afraid of unintentionally killing plants, of being unable to keep them alive. After a while, I have come to understand that it is inevitable to kill plants. Some will die through no fault of our own. It’s not us, it’s nature! Some live, some die. How presumptuous of us to believe that we have control over life and death!

Sure, the more you garden, the more you understand your plants. The more intune you are to your plant’s signs. More water, less water, more sun, less sun… It become less formulaic and more intuitive. Less plants die at your hands, but some will always die. It’s the inevitability we all face: sure death, our only certainty.

I chant the Gayatri mantra so that my intentions are strengthened, so that I slow down, strip down to the core of my human form, that which is nature, that which is dirt, just like my plants. And from that notion of sameness I can approach them not from attachment to their result, but from the joy that comes from basking in the sun with my spiritual equals.

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