Processes & Nature
Saying "Yes"

Clarence Wright

This year, I have had the pleasure of stage-managing a local community Christmas play based on the story of the Nativity. In the first scene, the angel Gabriel appears to a surprised Jewish teenager, Mary, who is engaged to Joseph. Gabriel announces that she will very soon conceive and bear a son, Jesus, who will be a very special man, a great Lord of his people, and will be known as the Son of God.

Upon hearing this startling news, Mary's response could have been something akin to, "No way! Are you kidding? You expect me to buy this?"

Instead, all she asked was, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?"

Once Gabriel explained that it would be brought about by the unlimited power of God in the same way that Mary's elderly cousin Elizabeth conceived a child well past the time it was "possible" for her to do so, Mary's response was simple and direct. 

"Lo, I am the Lord's handmaid. May it come to pass with me as thou hast said."

A simple, straight from the heart, unqualified "Yes" to something greater and wiser than herself.

This one incident in the Christmas story is the one that has touched me the most. It strikes something deep in me, a desire to affirm life unconditionally.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to work directly in the Perelandra garden full time this year as a garden assistant. Working with all the living beings that make up the garden, both visible and invisible, has opened my eyes to the vastness of the great web of life that is nature. I have realized that my habitual need to control things only gets in the way of experiencing and working co-creatively with this life.

Machaelle, in her book Behaving as if the God in All Life Mattered, wrote:

One evening in early January 1977, I walked into the woods and announced in a loud, clear voice, "I want to do at Perelandra what they did at Findhorn. I want to work with devas and I want to work with nature spirits. I invite all of you to make yourselves known to me. I am ready to learn from you."

As I understand it, this was a pivotal moment in her development as a nature researcher. She said "Yes" to nature and invited it to teach her. From working with her in the garden and in the business she created, I've seen that her main mode of operation continues to this day to be one of openness to what nature and life have to teach her.

I believe that "Yes" is an ongoing part of life. I think that being open like this, though, is not a walk in the park. It's a decision that needs to be renewed each day. It's the knowledge that being open to life means frequently stepping out of the comfort zone, where things are tidy and in place, into the unknown and trusting the unknown. It's the willingness to be the seed bed where an expanded reality can root, without fore-knowledge of what that reality is.

As the poet Rumi wrote:

"Be a spot of ground where nothing is growing, where something might be planted, a seed, possibly, from the Absolute."

When you bury a seed so small the slightest wind could blow it away, and then watch it sprout and grow into a big, beautiful plant, you realize the only appropriate response is "Yes!" and "Right on!"

Gardening gives me a deep sense of humility and awe at seeing this intricately woven reality, this unbelievable intelligence at work. I know I am not responsible for making it happen. I can only affirm it and let it be, just as Mary affirmed the greater reality presented to her.