a couple sundays ago, henry and i drove out to green gulch farm to participate in the sunday children's program and had a fantastic time. having spent a life changing week there several years ago...one that put me on a firmer path of spiritual inquiry, discovery and service...i was eager to share the experience with henry and was definitely not disappointed. aside from truly being a slice of heaven on earth, what i discovered during this latest visit to green gulch is that it is a wonderful place for families to practice together.
after the car ride from berkeley, henry was a little antsy inside the zendo and wasn't particularly interested in sitting still. although, he did enjoy the ritual of stacking our shoes in the cubbies outside the door, the ringing of the meditation bell, and the lighting of the insense to call in the buddha. however, once seated...on the floor, right down front...henry was more interested in the teacher's tea cup that sat steaming just a few feet away from him than the story. so, after just a few minutes of squirming off and on his cushion...in an effort to get a little closer to the tea cup...i decided to take him outside into the beautiful spring sunshine instead.
then, after about 10 minutes of running wild in the grass outside, the rest of the kids filed out of the zendo with a momma, daddy and/or granparent in tow and we all walked into the garden together. for the next hour or so, our fearless guide...a lovely gray-headed zen priest whom i recognized from my previous stint at green gulch...joyfully led us in building an altar, saying a prayer to buddha, and planting our seeds and hopes for a healthy harvest. needless to say, the kids took right to the digging of dirt, inspecting of worms, and laying on of compost and there wasn't a clean hand among us once we were done.
but, clean our hands we did, for next it was off to the herb garden to have a delicious snack of muffins and apple juice...and a little more running around...which officially brought our time together to a close. however, seeing that it was such a gorgeous day, henry and i weren't quite ready to get back into the car. so, we elected to stay for lunch before we hit the road again. but, after a lovely bowl of soup, a lively salad and some delicious home baked bread, we decided we couldn't put off the inevitable any longer and got back in the car to head home for a well deserved afternoon nap.
when, not 15 minutes into our journey home, the back seat suddenly grew very quiet i realized that henry was fast asleep (one of only less than a handful of times he's done so in his car seat!). so, i'm not sure if it was the fresh air, the good food, or the rest that comes with practice, but it doesn't really matter. all i know is that my heart was at ease as we rolled on down the road and i was feeling very hopeful that the seeds we planted together that morning would indeed grow healthy and strong.