by Catherine Crews

When I opened a coning to begin writing this article I was filled with joy and gratitude. I find that the more I surrender to the process of co-creation the more I am open to the joy of living. Things I have worried about, dithered about, wasted energy on, seemed to melt away. Nature handles the nitty gritty of my life much more easily and efficiently than I am able to. I am left with time and energy to complete my task: to find the deepest truth about my own definitions, directions, and purposes.

I first found Machelle's work in 1990, and knew immediately that I wanted to apply these processes in my garden. Although I had already planted that spring, I announced to the devas and nature spirits of my garden my intention to establish a co-creative garden at once. I experienced nothing out of the ordinary, but tested positive with kinesiology, so I was confident that I had been heard and the co-creative partnership had been established.

In that year's garden and for the next six years I applied the Perelandra processes to the best of my ability. My gardens were increasingly beautiful, consistently needed less work than I expected, and developed an atmosphere of peacefulness which astonished those who visited. This was particularly surprising because my garden was in the inner city, in a neighborhood where peacefulness was not expected.

However, more astonishing to me than the beauty and peace of the garden was the increasing personal awareness I developed as I worked with the Perelandra processes. I found myself discovering the acceptance, gentleness and support of nature as I strove to establish perfection in carrying out the guidance nature gave me. We were certainly on different wave lengths, for nature seemed definitely uninterested in my striving for perfection. I know now that in nature there is only perfection from their point of view, so there's nothing to strive for. I felt a continual invitation to open to the beauty, joy and perfection inherent in the garden. I find it hard to express in words the completeness of my understanding that there cannot be a garden without perfection for nature cannot operate outside perfection.

As I worked with nature in the garden I uncovered layers of issues hidden in myself; control, self judgment, lack of trust, always with clarity and sometimes with total surprise. I was willing to relinquish these manipulative motives for working co-creatively as they emerged into my awareness, and each time I did my role in the garden became easier. I'm pretty sure nature's role became easier, too.

I now believe that these experiences of co-creative gardening and working with flower essences, MAP and the processes in the Workbooks prepared me for the giant expansion in my life that occurred in August 1996. That month I moved from my city home of 21 years to the mountains of Arkansas. I now live on land surrounded by the Ozark National Forest, 20 miles from the closest town. This move happened so smoothly and easily it seemed to have been arranged for me. It was only after I got here that I remembered a longing I had when I was 13, a longing to live in a national forest.

To say I was unprepared for the changes precipitated by this move is a gross understatement. In embracing the expansion in my life, I became a beginner all over again. Although it has been an extraordinarily difficult year for me, by now I have worked around to feeling the greatest gratitude for the lessons I've received.

I naturally expected that at last I could have the garden I had always dreamed of, the ultimate co-creative venture. Perhaps some readers will catch a clue here of the manipulation in my dream, for I was telling nature what garden I would have. In working through this issue in this year's garden, I have become aware that when planning the garden, nature connects with my deeper intentions as well as those of which I am aware. It seems that nature included the entire lesson I have to learn in this year's garden. Nature worked with me, not just as a returning beginner, but also as a gardener with manipulative motives.

Starting all over has required that I be constantly alert to my old habits, willing to ask nature about every plan, decision and action I take in the garden, and to have the courage to follow through on the guidance I am given. Despite my doubts, the plants have grown with strength and vitality. The vegetables that have matured so far are delicious and vibrant, just as I have come to expect from a co-creative garden. I find doing energy work in this garden is much easier than it was in my previous gardens. The organization and flow of the energy makes the work quick and simple. My body is stiller and more relaxed than it was when connecting to the deva of my earlier gardens. I experience my connection to the devas and nature spirits as vibrations in my body now; before I depended on kinesiology or a sudden gentle breeze to confirm my connections.

When I received and read the new book Co-Creative Science, I took another leap in conscious understanding of the process of expansion I have been experiencing. I became aware that in this expansion, the process I have labeled "beginning all over again" was my acceptance of my role as student in my relationship with nature. Machaelle repeatedly emphasizes in her books the value of being in a position of not knowing, not having preconceived notions about how a project will work based on experience or education outside of the co-creative context. For me, it took leaving behind all that was familiar to reach the point of sufficient not-knowing to be able to become a beginner in co-creative science. And I am here to tell you it is all worth it: every hardship, every glitch, every unfulfilled expectation. There is truly no way I could have known the magnitude of the journey I embarked upon when I went into my garden that summer day in New Jersey and announced my desire to establish a co-creative partnership with nature. At that time, I thought it was about better tomatoes!

I feel as if I am being taught another way to be a human being. Such a gentle statement to intimate such profound changes. I cannot be encouraging enough to those who are considering entering into co-creative science. Nature needs you, science needs you, but most of all you need you. The journey you will embark upon will truly be the journey of your soul.