In a recent email that I received, a long-time friend of Temenos commented how my being the solo gardener here was the completion of a full circle. Over twenty years ago this same friend – one of our first guests at Temenos – would come to stay and often observe me in the hot sun digging through the shale so as to plant saplings. In those days, indeed for the first three years of the Retreat’s existence, I was the solo gardener. Since then the gardens have flourished and what was a barren piece of veld has become a verdant oasis of tranquillity. When I read her email what immediately came to mind was a question. So what has changed now that this full circle is completed?
Almost immediately I sensed an answer. From gardener to guardian. I always knew that this space was loved and appreciated but as a result of Covid 19 and the heart-warming response our appeal received, I now sense Temenos is no longer my garden but that it truly belongs to everyone who values and enjoys it. Standing now in the lush shade of the trees a hope has been born in me that in some way, somehow, this garden will continue to flourish and be a blessing and an oasis long after we have all passed on. Who can tell what the future holds but it is indeed heart-warming to hold that intention. Even though this is a small garden in a small village our planet so needs spaces that honour beauty and stillness, and that are truly open and accepting of all who seek those gifts.
For all of you who have been so kind as to send donations and good wishes and prayers and positive suggestions here is an update for you. It is a beautiful autumn morning in McGregor. The garden is bursting with colour as if to say ‘thank you all for your caring’.
We have been allowed, for now, under strict guidelines to offer a delivery service from our restaurant. One of those regulations is that we can only bring in a third of our restaurant staff which means that Billy and management have been assigned new duties. Mine has been the scrubbing of shelves and floors, and the pots and pans. Quite a change from gardening. I could not but help smile though as my hands dived into the soapy, hot water. Teresa of Avila, Spanish poet and mystic, used to remark that one could ‘find God among the pots and pans’. I am looking forward to a few surprises and adventures.
Thanks to your kind hearted generosity we are keeping our staff and their families fed. As yet, they have received nothing from the relief fund or UIF so allow me, on their behalf, to express their huge gratitude. When we meet to hand out their parcels their appreciation is deeply felt. The few of us here in lockdown are working harder than ever before and doing our best to ensure that when you return it will truly feel like coming home.
In the meanwhile you remain in my heart and in my prayers. I am so aware from your emails of the many challenges we are all facing on so many different levels. I am also aware how very much we sometimes differ on a way forward. But here is a reflection I came across last week. If you haven’t read it yet I hope it helps you, as it did me, to keep a compassionate heart in this crisis.
Some people don’t agree with the state opening….that’s okay. Be kind.
Some people are still planning to stay home….that’s okay. Be kind
Some are still scared of getting the virus and a second wave happening….that’s okay. Be kind
Some are sighing with relief to go back to work knowing they may not lose their business and their homes….that’s okay. Be kind
Some are thankful they can finally have the surgery they have put off….that’s okay. Be kind
Some will be able to attend interviews after weeks without a job….that’s okay. Be kind
Some will wear masks for weeks….That’s okay. Be kind.
Some people will rush out to get their hair and nails done….That’s okay. Be kind
The point is, everyone has different viewpoints/feelings….That’s okay. Be kind.
We each have a different story. If you need to stay home, stay home….That’s okay. Be kind.
If you need to go out, just respect others when in public, and be kind. We are all in different mental states than we were months ago. So remember, be kind.
God bless you all,