Only in Kitezh can you have a spiritual experience while weeding! Today while working in the garden, Sasha (our fearless leader in the battle against enemy plants) told us a story to motivate our efforts. She said that she used to have a yoga class that took place in a large field, and before they could do their poses they would have to pull out all the weeds. (Reminds me a little of The Karate Kid--wax on, wax off.) The yoga instructor told them, "Think of yourself as this field. By taking out these harmful weeds you in turn are cleansing your soul." Sasha told us this more as a joke than to be serious, but thinking about this definitely made the task more entertaining. And lurking within our collective soul (aka the garden, you're following this right?) were numerous demons. Tree monsters, evil grass blades, and, worst of all, the Nettle King. Now, I don't know if you've ever been stung by a stinging nettle before, but it's really no fun at all. Here's what it sounded like in the garden that day:
"Ah, I found an evil branch, my soul will be so much cleaner now!"
"I guess I knew my soul was dirty, but this bad? I've really let myself go."
"Ah I know that plant looks pretty, but it is still a weed. Sometimes demons can disguise themselves with beauty... but don't be deceived!"It is definitely necessary to keep your mind preoccupied while bent over cutting grass with a sickle in the hot sun. The 'spoon full of sugar' approach makes things much more fun. But I must say, even though we treated it as a joke, it is pretty accurate to think of the work here as cleansing. It's not easy to equate painting a house to spiritual growth, but I think it's there. Maybe emotionally, maybe mentally, maybe physically, either way without a doubt everyone here is growing by being part of Kitezh.
Me after conquering the Nettle King!
Left: The evil Tree Monster destroyed!
Right: The happy bushes, free from the tyranny of weeds.
Our fellow soul-cleansers working near the green houses in the vegetable garden.