Bedbound Meditation #1

Grow flowers in the garden of your bed with your mind. I know you’re not really in a garden. I know you sweated through your sheets yesterday and you spilt soup on your pillow last week and you’re still too exhausted to clean it. But today we’re going to make it a garden, because you are beautiful, and you deserve gardens.

Close your eyes. They were probably already closed, but–close them. Feel yourself from the tip of your scalp to your toes. Give those toes a wiggle, if you can. If you can’t, imagine giving them a wiggle. Feel them dig down into the squirmy earth and come up gloriously dirty. Not the dirt of a month without showering, but the dirt of living in the world. Build the loam up in your mind; it’s good earth, and you get out of it what you put in. So make it rich, caked with nutrients, aching for seed. Make it ready for the world you are about to summon out of it.

Now for the flowers. I like sunflowers, geraniums and star lilies, but you do you. Lift your hand, or imagine lifting your hand, and let the seeds spill down onto the earth of your bed. I like chaos, a riot of colour blooming around me like it were growing out of my grave, but your garden should always, always be what you like best. You can add a little fertilizer, a little rain. I’m sure you know deep down inside what will make your flowers bloom.

And now lie back. Or, you know. Stay lying back. But either way, relax. And listen to them grow.

Because this is the secret of your body. It doesn’t have to be up and doing. Even the deep ache of a sick life can make a garden grow. Those flowers are called Hope. Self-compassion. Resilience. Significance. Worth. And you have been growing them every day since you took to your bed. All we are doing now is putting faces to them.

I’m picturing you now. Arms outstretched like a queen. Hair splayed out at wild angles. Sick. Hurting. You haven’t sat up in a week. But your bed, ah, your bed. You are sailing on a sea of flowers. You grew them. You built this garden up out of the hardest soil. And even in the smallest, most hopeless hours, they will never, ever leave you.

Leaves And Bees And Hope

Four walls deep in the world I lie
A wildling from a wilder time,
The thought of it is how I cope:
All covered in leaves and bees and hope.

Four miles deep in the woods I walked
And listened to all the birdlings talk,
A sparrow telling its friends a joke
All covered in leaves and bees and hope.

And when I came out of the woods,
I did not think of cans or shoulds,
I thought of how the froglings croak
All covered in leaves and bees and hope.

And when I had to go to bed
I kept the woods inside my head,
A seedling–no, an envelope–
All covered in leaves and bees and hope.

Now four walls deep in the world I cease
A wildling wrestled down to peace,
I think of lovely things to cope:
All covered in leaves and bees and hope.

–Sarah Stanton

(This piece plopped out of me after I described a dress I own as “covered in leaves and bees and hope.” I thought about all the time I spent out in nature as a kid, and how much I miss being part of that world now I’m bedbound. But it’s not like it’s gone–it’s still there, in my head. And even though I miss the experience, it’s the memories that keep me going.)