Greenbelt Restoration Work Party: May 4, 2019

I expected our May 4 work party would be the biggest event we would hold in May. It might even be our biggest work party of the spring. After all, it was one of the Rainier Chamber of Commerce’s Bridge to Beach cleanup weekend events. In addition, shortly before the event, we were notified that the work party would be advertised in the Green Seattle Partnership Facebook Page and on their blog.

We had a group of five team leaders, which included me, ready to lead the flood of volunteers who might decide to participate. A neighbor who has worked on this project from the beginning would also be coming. Much to my surprise, the time before and during the work party, ended up being an opportunity for me to practice trusting that the volunteers we’d need would be provided. All of the team leaders also had the opportunity to practice flexibility, persistence, letting go, accepting what is, doing whatever it takes, equanimity and Amma’s teaching that we should be like a bird perched on a dry twig, ready to fly at a moment’s notice.

For example, a week before the event only two volunteers had pre-registered. Around that time, I received a phone call from a man who had seen our event on the Bridge to Beach listing. He wanted me to know that he and his wife were going to attend our work party. But two days before the event, he called back to say they had found an event closer to their home, so they would not be coming to ours. On the same day they canceled, a young man from a University of Washington fraternity asked if he could bring a group from his fraternity. He believed he could bring 10 volunteers. I, of course, responded with an enthusiastic “Yes.” By then one of the two people who had pre-registered early on canceled.

On the day of the event, the team leaders were assembled and ready. The first person to arrive was a high school student who had worked with us before. She hadn’t pre-registered, but I was delighted to see her. The other person who had originally signed up didn’t show up, nor did any of the fraternity brothers who had pre-registered the day before.

The team leaders “rolled up their sleeves” and started the first task of the day: carrying wood chips from the wood chip pile on 25th Avenue South to the southern planting areas 300+ feet away. Once we reached the planting area, we poured the wood chips in a ring around each of the plants. We then removed chips that had fallen around the stem of the plants, creating an inner circle that was 6-12 inches in diameter. The chips were to help keep the ground moist during the summer months, and the open space was to allow any raindrops direct access to the ground.

Forty-five minutes into the work party, a welcome surprise arrived in the form of six members of the fraternity. I was excited to see them. I had the young men sign up and join the rest of our group in carrying the wood chips and building the rings.

Shortly after the students’ arrival, we broke into three small groups; each led by a team leader. One group removed the weeds in an area we had planted on March 17. We had cleared the invasive weeds from that area prior to the planting work party, but they were returning with a vengeance; the periwinkle vines were especially persistent.

A second group started to clear an area that hadn’t been cleared before, one that bordered our southern planting area. Dense blackberry vines and other weeds were impinging on, or had actually begun to cover, some of our shrubs and ground covers. The third group removed weeds from the north side of the Hanford Stairs.

At 11:30 we stopped for a snack break and a group photo.

After the break, the first and second group went back to work in their respective areas and the third group joined the second group. During this time, Shirley and I helped the other team leaders as needed and also took a few photos.

Clearing the area south of the southern planting area:

Clearing the area on the north side of the Hanford Stairs:

Neither Shirley nor I had taken any photos of the group that had cleared weeds in the planting area near the wood chip pile earlier in the work party but I did get one of what the area looked like after it was cleared. Imagine the area in the photo below with 100+ invasive vines emerging from the ground and you will get a sense of what it looked like at the beginning of the work party.

While we hadn’t had the “flood” of volunteers I’d hoped for, using the experience to trust that what we needed would be provided and taking the reduced numbers as an opportunity to practice flexibility, persistence, letting go, accepting what is, doing whatever it takes, equanimity, and being like a bird perched on a dry twig, ready to fly at a moment’s notice, meant we’d avoided getting stressed out and had even ended up accomplishing most of the day’s goals. The Bonus: together, we were a mix of people who worked well together and contributed to a satisfying and productive day.

I Trust You

A friend sent me the link to this video a few days ago, but I didn’t look at it until now. Tears are streaming down my face as I am writing this post. I hope it is as much a gift to you as it was to me.

The Following Morning Addendum:

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When I woke up this morning (I’m in India), I realized I wanted to share this post with my Song Lyric Sunday family. I think the video fits the intent behind this week’s prompt even though it doesn’t fit the structure.

I wasn’t able to find out the name of the background song in part because I can’t understand all of the words. But to me the message is not in the song, it is in the video. I am very disturbed by what is unfolding in our country right now and it was so good for me to watch this video before I went to sleep last night. It allowed me to see light amidst the darkness.

Reclaiming the Right to Trust

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I believe, at the core of every person, there is a part that is both trusting and trustworthy. Due to life’s traumas, however, that part may recede so deep inside that it may seem unreachable. In time, a person may even develop a belief system that says people are not to be trusted.

When people come from that framework, they are likely to see negativity, and even danger, coming from all sides. They don’t trust what others say, and look for ulterior motives. In time, they may become excessively independent. The thought of being interdependent may be unfathomable. The inability to trust often leads to anxiety and depression.

I have been a psychotherapist for almost 30 years. During those years, I have seen so many clients reclaim their right to trust. As they heal from the traumas of their past, they shift from the life stance that people are untrustworthy to an attitude that people are trustworthy unless proven otherwise.

That doesn’t mean that they start to trust without discrimination though. Once they work through their childhood and adult traumas, they stop projecting negative behaviors on everyone and will become much clearer in seeing the true “red flags” that indicate potential problems. They are more likely to surround themselves with a support system of healthy people. They will know their own weak areas and will avoid situations that are likely to pull them into unhealthy behaviors.

Reclaiming the right to trust is not an easy journey, but it is well worth the time and effort.

Written for Daily Prompt: Trust
Photo Credit: pixabay.com

 

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Faith Eirans posted this profound and intimate look into her life and into her being on The Seeker’s Dungeon this morning. I thought it was an important post for me to share so am sending it your way.

The Seeker's Dungeon

By Faith Eirans

Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am large…I contain multitudes.

I am large. I have expanded past the bone structure nature intended. Endomorphic and engorged I have taken up more space than I am deemed worthy of…than I have deemed myself worthy of.

While my self-control is judged lacking by those outside of me, in reality I restrain more of my own being than those that don’t overflow their foundations.

Conscious of the fact that I require more space, I try to reduce my footprint; reduce my emotional weight on those I rely upon. If I am self-sufficient in all ways then perhaps they won’t hate me. Perhaps they’ll love me.

God only knows that I don’t love myself.

And if I can keep them from understanding that these layers I carry are simply a barrier between my sensitivity and their insensitive natures…

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The Development of Trust (Acrostic)

Day 3’s assignment for Writing 201: Poetry is to write a poem about trust, using the form of an acrostic.

  • An acrostic is any poem in which the first (or last) letters of each line combine to spell out a word or a phrase, or follow the order of the alphabet.

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Here is the result of my effort!

Blind faith does not the basis for true trust make,

Experience after experience is what it will take.

Seeing- hearing, being-doing,

Time, effort and discrimination are a must.

Intuition’s a factor, but inner silence may lead to “knowing” robust.

Let go of the need for perfection, that’s not the aim;

Live, learn, let go, and allow the other to do the same.

*****

The act of writing this poem was an experience in and of itself.  I focused on letting go and letting the words emerge rather than trying to force them.  When I came to close to finishing it, I was bothered by a couple of lines and wondered if they would be misunderstood.  My eyes were then drawn to the line “Let go of the need for perfection, that’s not the aim.”  I reminded myself this is my third poem.  No one else will expect perfection from me, and I shouldn’t expect it from myself.

Over the next hour or so I tweaked a couple of words.  Soon thereafter, I realized the entire poem could be seen as a message to me.  I will learn to trust in my ability to write poetry as I continue to write poems!

*****