A note from a well-worn co-creative aspirant. When I'm up, I call myself "devoted." When I'm down, it's just "stubborn." In my opinion, both characteristics are necessary on the co-creative gardening path. My first two and a half years were full of blood, sweat and tears, but not lacking in humor. I bought the Perelandra Garden Workbook in 1988. A long-time gardener and farm girl, this stuff appealed to me big time. But having lost all faith in gurus of any kind, male and female, for two years I would read only the words of the devas. (Machaelle Wright, after all, was just a mere human!) In 1990 a serious car accident involving my two sons hurtled me to a working knowledge of flower essences and a new and different energy toward co-creative gardening.

My first big obstacle was self-consciousness. There I sat on my front porch, usually in the evening when the fading light made my presence less noticeable to passing cars, decked out in my disguise of a glass of iced tea and a huge gardening book. Of course, hidden behind the book, my aching fingers sweating blood as I tried again and again to figure out — was that a "yes"? or was it a "no"? Then again, there was the straw hut. Yes I did it! When they delivered the straw bales with which I was to cover the designated area for my new, first-time, devically-instructed garden, I built a tiny house out of straw bales. And I sweated out many a sunny hour, while the straw dust slowly sifted down on my head, going over and over and over those fertilizer lists. All you could see was a suspicious stack of straw bales with "pinkies" occasionally showing and a lot of low, mumbled questions coming from within.

My first year's attempts were somehow shrouded in mystery — like this was a new occult religion, like I was sitting in the grass before the Most High, praying for mercy for my feeble little mind as it tried to communicate with the unseen world of co-creative processes. But in spite of my awkwardness, the new lawn somehow produced a carpet of white clover where none was planted. Dying transplants from my old house came to life again. And my love affair with nature increased ten-fold. Then there were times when I experienced the tenderest and gentlest love I have ever known. But during that first year, my reverence definitely kept getting in the way.

In the second year, a lot of house-building type injuries began to show up in the trees, the transplanted flowers and the lawn — all of which needed trouble-shooting attention. [Troubleshooting Process, Workbook II] Of course, by the time I dragged down all my essence boxes, all the papers, the books, the pencils and my cup of tea and arranged everything nicely around my lawn chair in the least conspicuous place in the yard where I could still see the plant in question, it began to rain on my Workbook. Or the kids decided I just had to view their new sprinkler tricks. In the second year, I braved insect triangulation [Insect Triangulation Process, Workbook II] out of absolute necessity because Japanese beetles were absolutely destroying my one precious little yellow rose bush. It turned out that trying to read the book was actually a lot harder and more intimidating than doing the process. In the second year I decided not to panic about the garden itself. Actually, learning to do the processes and maintaining the devastation of building was all I had time for. At some point two very foggy answers about the shape of the garden came: a square and a circle. Did the question get checked and rechecked fifty times over to verify it? Yes! But was the circle near the top, forming an arch at the southern edge? Or was it one of six other possible combinations on my paper??? How could flower essence kinesiology be so simple, so easily picked up, and garden kinesiology be so impossible? But the location of the garden did come through, No question on that. I got it plowed, covered it with the famous straw, and wearily put the Workbooks away for the winter.

March, 1992, the beginning of my third year on the co-creative gardening path. First, the shape of the garden must be clarified. Painstakingly, I prepared myself and the coning, not forgetting to do my most energy-producing spiritual exercises as preparation, not forgetting to take my vitamins. I began. The first half-hour we worked on some questions about the roses I am ordering, and the kinesiology went well. But when the subject of the garden shape came up, a half hour of first yes, then no answers made my spirits begin to drop. Finally, I said to them, "Look, you guys. I'm trying very hard here. I swear I have done everything I can to understand you. You've just got to help me. I can't understand what you are saying. I'm asking for your assistance."

All of a sudden, all the mystery went out of the process. Everything became clean, clear, simple, unemotional. These are very matter-of-fact guys, these devas. No baggage. Clean, straight. The answers came, one by one. In a very short time, I had all the information. Suddenly I felt finished and went out to the garden to check the measurements. A perfect fit! I gave a few shouts of celebration and kicked up my heels. It had happened! Now it's 1992, and I can read the book like a person of sound mind and follow the directions! And, yes, my self-will was in the way. After a days' work of getting the shape, size, and lists of plants, in the evening, I re-read the "What Goes Where" chapter. It hit me then, I have to do this all over. My own self-will was shot all the way through the plan. So I went back again. This time, I said, "O.K., guys, I give up. I give up my limitations, I give up my conditions. My aim is for a vegetable garden, emphasis on green vegetables, but I will plant whatever you say, and if we don't eat it, we'll make compost with it. I surrender." You know, that was such a good feeling? Such a relief. Lastly, I have one hint of my own for other blood, sweat and tears co-creative aspirants: Do some exercise before you begin. It relaxes you. I mean an hour of your favorite aerobic or strenuous exercise. It will relax you and release your anxieties. And best of luck to every hard working, determined one of you.

— M.B., Maryland