“It’s essential that we understand that taking care of the planet will be done as we take care of ourselves. You know that you can’t really make much of a difference in things until you change yourself.” - Alice WalkerThe great Eleventh-Century Christian mystic, scholar, and physician, Hildegaard Bingen, defined sin as spiritual dry-rot, aridity, and refusal to grow. She believed that the opposite of sin was to be gloriously and outrageously alive—green and moist, like nature. Water, a common metaphor for both spirit and femininity, is our most obvious greening agent. In order to grow into the beautiful women we were created to be, we must pour the waters of spirit upon our arid places.
All of us have draught-ridden areas within us that need watering and reclamation. The wonderful news is that even a desert wasteland can be turned into a lush oasis when irrigated with enough water and planted with the right seeds. The same is true of us. No matter how dry or barren some aspects of ourselves or our lives may feel, they can be reclaimed when sanctified by the powerful feminine waters of compassion, forgiveness, right thought, acceptance, and gentle guidance.
Plants are wonderful spiritual teachers. When we pay attention to their simple needs, they respond by growing and bringing beauty and life-giving oxygen into our presence. Plants silently make us aware of their needs by wilting, yellowing, or failing to thrive. Equally silent, but often less obvious, our soul-needs can go unnoticed for long periods of time. If the needs of our spiritual self are ignored for too long, drought conditions occur, leaving us to feel dried up and lifeless.
Luckily, both flowers and spirits are very resilient and respond beautifully to a little nurturing. Recently, I was all wrapped up in my work and totally forgot that my potted geraniums and impatiens were sweltering in a heat wave. By the time I noticed them, the inpatients were already crispy. Plying them with fervent apologies and much needed water, I urged them to revive. Miraculously, they did. Given a little attention and tender loving care, our spirits are just as forgiving and equally anxious to re-green and bloom as were my flowers.
Although it sounds appealing sometimes, we don’t have to join a convent or live in a cave to attend to our souls. Luckily, our souls flower and grow when nurtured with consistent rays of attention interspersed among the busy hours and days.