October 6th, 2009
|01:59 pm - The third of three lessons: Joy|
I learned three lessons during my journey as my mettle was tested as an ADF Initiate. These lessons were not the lessons I expected, nor are they specifically private to me alone: these are guiding lessons that I must take forward, that must draw me along as I go forth as an ADF Initiate, and by my oath I will use them in service to others. The lessons offered to each Initiate will be different for each individual Initiate, based on that individual's needs and the work they must do.
The third lesson of my initiation is Joy.
Where I went to learn this lesson, I cannot say; this was a place reserved for initiates alone, as I understand it: I believe druidkirk and I are the only ones who have been there, and we both visited this place (though we came from different directions and found different things) in our journeys, even though no guidance was given to us by our initiators. This lesson is also virtually ineffable, so please bear with me as I seek to explain it.
I had traveled far, and this was my last stop. I had traveled through fear, through solitude, and through specific lessons that I must learn and teach others. I wondered what this last place have in store.
In this place, though, there was a garden, something I did not expect to find.
It was a beautiful garden, much like those lavish and architectural gardens of Europe, typified by the gardens at Versallies, Chateau de Villandry, or even an English garden. Within it, there was a grove of trees, and this is where I was drawn to.
Some trees in the grove were older, some were younger, and a few were simply saplings. Some were oaks, some ashes, and some were yews or hawthorns or willows. Each had been touched by the gardener in some way: nudged to grow straighter, trimmed to remove dead wood, replanted from another grove to flourish here, or supported while the roots deepened and the branches reached for sunlight. What I found was that I was standing in the midst of my Grove, and that each tree was an individual: member, friend, or brand-new-shiny Druid. I could identify trees by name, I was so certain of each one. I could also see that they were each others' strength in the storm.
I never met the keeper of this garden, nor did I meet any other figure there, but what I knew, simply from standing in this garden and this grove, was the simple joy of the gardener. It was present everywhere, permeating all things: a joy borne of love, time, and care for every detail and every individual plant and tree and animal within. This is not a garden meant to feed the body, but one meant to feed the soul.
The gardener gardens because it is right to do so, and his work brings out the artfulness of the cosmos. Each plant is placed in relation to others "just so," while others are righted when they begin to grow wrong. This maintains that artful universe, that rta or *xartus where all things have their place, and are in their place. Small changes have large impacts, and a gentle nudge has deep effects on the path the garden takes.
Here is the lesson: the gardener who gardens for food and sustenance may find health and a reduction in hunger; but the gardener who tends his garden with love will see the fruits of his labour not in the things that garden produces to sustain the body, but in the simple joy of the work that sustains the soul. That is what this Grove is for me: simple, complete joy. The work that we do must not be for advancement or position, but for joy in the garden that we tend. The personal growth of our members is what drives us on, what brings us pleasure, not increases in status or stature on our own. It is, then, up to us to seek that joy, to bring it forth, and to draw others to it so that they may have their soul nourished with this joy as well.
So these are the ways, visible to the community, that I will work to fulfill the third charge the Kindreds placed upon me during my initiation.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: joyful
Current Music: "Something So Feminine About a Mandolin", -JB
|Date:||October 6th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)|| |
I think i like this one best. And I think it IS a lesson worth focusing on. Even internally. You are often the sort of person (I am, too) who has a hard time just being part o the celebration without also stepping back to evaluate and assess and intellectualize. I know that's stopped me from just enjoying the Grove in the past (other things, too. I am particularly bad with RPG's sometimes).
I agree. It was hard to articulate, particularly without giving much away of the whole journey's process and where I went and how I got there from here and such.
But yes: Joy is something to focus on.
I find it interesting that all three of these things were things I have become more and more involved in over the past couple of months: I've focused more, the Crane Order stuff has done a lot of the centering work, and Autumnal Equinox was an overflowing of joy in ritual.
I think that, after seeing what the lessons were and how I'd already started to work on them prior to initiation, I am more certain that the initiation is very much about a continuation on that path than an endpoint or goal.
right foot, left foot, right foot...over hills and valleys, beside streams and ponds, through deserts and the deep forest primeval...it is a journal of a thousand lifetimes and yet it ends where it begins...at the sacred center...
We will always find ourselves back at the center of all things.
|Date:||October 6th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)|| |
Woof, That was beautiful recap. Inspiring. Thank you for sharing!
This past year I created a motto for my classes with which I'm trying to infect my whole school: "Excellence is its own reward." You're absolutely right about that; it's not the destination that matters, but the journey. If our motivation for completing a task is the salary or the grade or the praise or any of that, we're missing the point. Indeed, some of the most important tasks we'll ever undertake in life are the ones we do without any expectation of compensation or recognition. It gave me great joy to see the smile of the face of the boy I handed a Jolly Rancher for helping me pass out papers... to drop off the library books for a patron struggling out of her car and over the curb to the book drop... the compliment I paid to the student with the new haircut.
I suppose you can think of "paying it forward" or "banking karma," but these bits and pieces of gardening are their own rewards, and we need to enjoy them just for that. I never thought of using the word "JOY" for this concept, but that's what the end result is, isn't it? I probably would have thought of "harmony," which doesn't sound quite as positive, does it? :)
Do I get a WWMS bracelet, too?
I like "joy", as it represents the notion of an artful cosmos in a very tangible way :)
A lesson not just for Initiates but for all of life- find the work that gives you joy & then do it. Some people have trouble with the finding; others have trouble believing they'll be successful.
Congratulations, by the way. :-)
how many gardeners?
I couldn't help wondering as you said "I never met the gardener" whether there were multiple gardeners? Working together to help the trees - the trees themselves lending support to one another... I guess I'm just really wired towards polytheistic concepts.
|Date:||October 8th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: how many gardeners?
Call it a patron of the Grove, in this case. But we've never said that there is just one, or that it's the same one for all of us, even if it is just one. The gardener for each of us is going to be slightly different.
Indeed, seek the joy, and the rest is gravy :)
but we need the "meat" underneath the gravy to survive... I've worked a few jobs where I busted my butt and never got that promotion that would mean the difference between barely making it and having some breathing room. I was raised to believe "work hard and you'll get promoted" and yet my experience has been "work hard and your employer will assume they're paying you enough that you're willing to work that hard." I wish it were easier to find an ethical employer that would value good work over short-term profit.