Photo by Juan Blea — taken at the St. Francis Basilica Meditation Garden

With a cool breeze in my face and the wind carrying the church bell’s song, I let feelings rise inside of me.  Doubt crept into my mind: What if I’m just not good enough to “make it” as a writer? Fear rose like a sea monster from the depths: What if I can’t get enough steady gigs to keep my family stable?  I didn’t fight them or counter them in any way.  I let those thought bubble around and when they were done bubbling, they went away.  It was if the energy in the garden carried their dark energy away from me and allowed me to just be. I let my skin absorb the coolness and breathed in the smells of flowers and freshly cut grass.  All the doubt and fear went away and I was at peace, if only for a moment.

Regardless of how long that moment lasted, I experienced it without any filters of my own mental creation.  I didn’t place any judgement on what I was sensing.  I just sat in a garden while sounds and smells and sights came and went without any thoughts, positive or negative. I was just another part of the garden.  I appreciate those moments of mental quiet; “reality” has a way of imposing itself and forcing me away from authentic engagement with life.  But I steal moments away from my reality in order to return to that place inside of me where there is still a sacred connection with the world as it is, not as I see it or as I would like it to be.

There have been times in my life when I wasn’t open to accessing that sacred connection.  It was if I was letting the artificial reality that humanity creates become the beacon that guided my life.  The quest for more can overwhelm even the most spiritually steadfast soul.  Really, isn’t that what Addiction is: The realization of what more actually brings? More alcohol, more drugs, more clients, more money – once the more becomes the focus of anyone’s life, the less we can actually have an authentic and sacred connection with the world in which we live.

That’s why I’ve been drawn to flowers these days.  A flower exists as part of a system.  Soil, water, and sunlight are as much a part of a flower’s life as its cascading petals.  To me, they are a reminder that if we could somehow release our filters, even if only for a moment, we could escape the distortions that doubt, fear, and shame really are and experience the real life we were meant to experience.  But, for whatever reason, we shun that which is authentic and sacred in the pursuit of more.  Addiction is the biggest symptom that the pursuit of more is the disease that we need to fight.


Photo by Juan Blea — taken at the St. Francis Basilica Meditation Garden

As time passes, perhaps my infatuation with flowers may fade.  Or it may not.  Perhaps I’ll find a new subject with which I can commune.  Either way, I pray that I don’t lose touch with that sacred place inside of me from which all that is good and strong and beautiful emerges.