You Make a Living from What You Get - But You Make a Life from What You Give

mercoledì 11 maggio 2011


Narmin Mohammadi, fashion PR, traveller and occasional gardner, 
continues her series  on life on her allotment in London.

My yoga teacher tells us, his students, that we often belong to the ‘96 percentile’. This represents the majority of us (the 96%) who lead our day-to-day life in a ‘conditioned existence’. This is a state that is referred to in the opening prayer of ashtanga yoga, where the guru is thanked for eliminating ‘the delusion caused by the poison of conditioned existence’. So every time we get on the mat we are working towards releasing ourselves from this state.

For the past four months I have been a card carrying member of the 96 percentile, deep in the grips of my conditioned existence. I let my work take over my life leaving me exhausted, and frustrated, so most of my free time was spent trying to maintain an equilibrium. Out went my regular yoga practice, as well as long visits to the allotment (the cold weather didn’t help either). But as the days started getting longer, sunrise happened earlier each week and the sun started to shine, I suddenly felt that I wanted to break the shackles and get back to spending time doing what I love. So, out came the seed catalogue, I cleaned out the propagators and started planning what to plant where. Weekends were spent digging; hard work as we’ve had very little rain and the ground was hard. The seed packets arrived and were duly planted and monitored. The beds were dug over again to break up the soil further and covered in compost (by some fluke we managed to get quite a few barrow full of the stuff after the last delivery, even though they delivered on a Wednesday and I got there on a Saturday). Slowly, slowly our plot started looking alive again.
I’ve started getting a bit adventurous with my planting and ordered seeds such as purple French beans (which turn green when you boil them – great for kids, as they think the beans are magic!), ‘golden’ beetroot and purple carrots. I feel like now that I kind of know what I’m doing it will be fun to experiment a little. Some of my seeds have let me down and not germinated. After a long conversation with one of the allotment veterans I realised, much to my relief, that it happens to everyone! So I’ve learned that I need to plant extra seeds to be on the safe side. And now I realise why people have extra plants!

I’m trying to stop being impatient, and comparing our plot to those of our neighbours. Compared to them we were a little late getting our potatoes, and root vegetable in, but I keep reminding myself that we’re still in early May and that we have the whole Summer ahead of us, so plenty of time for the veggies to grow. Having surveyed the plot today, I was happy to see that the potatoes are beginning to grow, the radishes seem to have come up overnight, and the carrots and beetroot seeds I planted at Easter are poking up through the soil. Two of the three courgette plants I had grown in the propagator are now planted out, as are all the cabbages. As I stood there looking at all these wonderful vegetables, I realised that I have started to nudge my way out of the 96 percentile.

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