Probably one of my favorite stories

 Guys here's a story I feel I really want to tell, a story of pain, suffering, connection and renewal, synchronicity and magic!


So, I'd say it was about this time last year just coming into Spring that I was walking through the forest and this young lad probably about 18-20 years old looking to me was walking on his own said to me, your the phantom planter, I follow all your posts, love what you do man and all that he was saying. 


He then said he had just lost his mum and he would love a tree planted in memory of her at our memorial orchard aka the phantom planters HQ. 

I said thats not a problem man, you call down this Sunday and I'll have a tree ready for you to plant. '


I had managed to get a really nice cherry tree donated to me for the planting by a good supporter on here, it was potted up and in this ladies garden and she had a bumble bee decoration on it and a large heart hanging from the tree. 

So I got the tree and the Sunday came to meet for the planting, there was this young lad standing waiting on time at our orchard with a big flat stone he got and painted on it "in memory of mum"..


He seen the tree and couldn't believe the bumble bee on it, he said his mum loved bees and her house would be decorated with bees, he couldnt believe it, do you think thats a sign from my mum he was saying, it was so nice for me to watch him getting this sort of connection. 


We planted the tree and ever since then the young lad has never missed going down to water it and look after it and adding more plants and decorations around the tree. 


Over the past year I've been getting to know him quite well and he's always asking me advice on drink and drug addiction as he is struggling with it himself and as most of you know I was an addict and alcoholic for about 15 years, but I've been helping him out as best as I can, getting him out planting trees and I even got him to the gym one day which he said he couldn't lift his arms for about a week after and never came back.

He also has a genuine interest in trees and nature and I try and include him in some of our plantings.


Lately he has been really opening up to me about his drink and drug addictions, about how much he's battling with it and not in the best of places and really wants to change, always asking me about Buddhism and how I managed to stop and break away.


I've tried to be there for him as best as I can and last week I said to him if he wanted to come with me and my right hand man as we going on a mission out in the country collecting scions/cuttings for our new heritage apple tree nursery we are getting started, we will also be stopping by Jampa Ling for lunch with the Buddhists I said to him, his eyes lit up and couldn't believe it when I offered him to come with us and said he couldn't wait and would love that!


The morning came that I was supposed to collect him at 7.45 am near where he lived, as I was driving down he wasn't answering his phone and I thought he's went on the drink the night before and has slept in. 

I tried calling him 3 or 4 times with no answer and drove down anyway just in case he lost his phone and maybe he was standing there. 

I drove down and he wasnt there, I wanted for a few minutes and tried calling him again with no answer,  so I went on and collected my right hand man and off we went without him on our mission.


About 10 mins later he starts messaging me and tried calling me, I was driving so couldn't reply and couldn't really read the long messages either, so he was left behind and I put it out of my mind, I had a mission to do that day, I was very annoyed to be honest that my time was wasted and he didnt turn up and I had booked lunch for 3 people in Jampa Ling with the Buddhists. 


So, I'm going to take you off on a different story here, last summer on one of my visits to Jampa Ling just up the road is Florence Court where they have the oldest Irish yew tree in the world, I have a bit of a special connection to this tree and I took myself to it one early morning to mediate under it before the place started getting busy. 

As I opened my eyes under the tree coming out of meditation there was this old lady sitting on the bench opposite the yew tree with her lovely little dog dobby, I never heard them come and wee betty didnt bark or anything either, it was like they just appeared!

When I meditate wee betty meditates with me, for some reason she knows to be silent. 

So I thought this was kind of mystical, just this old lady and her dog admiring the Irish yew tree, so I went over and started to talk with her, she asked why I was down here and told her I was at Jampa Ling, she knew of the place but had never been before and then says, there are no coincidences in life, only Synchronicities and went on to tell me that she was a Quaker Buddhist, she said she was always a Quaker and then when she started reading into Buddhism she seen how similar and aligned they are. 


We stood and talked for over an hour about all sorts of stuff, the lady is 82 years old and very wise, she then went onto tell me about quantum entanglement and lots of other stuff that made sense to my soul. 

I really had a nice connection with this old lady and so did our dogs, it was so odd, as we spoke both our dogs just sat there next to each other at peace, it was a very magical encounter I had with this old lady under the oldest Irish yew tree.

One thing I noticed and maybe I'm going a bit woo woo here, but it started raining heavy and I remember observing the lady and the rain wasn't hitting her, maybe I was seeing things, but it was weird, she looked like she had an invisible umbrella over her head. 

She had me intrigued about the Quakers and then strangely enough a few weeks after meeting her I got invited by a friend of mine to a Quaker meeting in Belfast, I thought this is a bit of quantum entanglement right here and I gotta go.


So I went to the Quaker meeting and was so impressed by these people, I read lots of stuff there and meditated with them and could see what the old lady under the Irish yew tree meant when she said they were aligned and similar to Buddhism. 


I thought about this old lady alot over the past year and would have loved to meet up with her again. 


So just last week on our mission when we left the young lad behind one of the places we were to stop off at to get scions/cuttings was in Florence Court, the walled garden in here has something like 90 of the 120 native Irish apple trees, its an amazing place and the staff were so helpful in letting us take some Scions from their orchard and this was the place where I first found the No Surrender apple tree!


But as soon as we landed in the Florence Court car park and as soon as I got out of my car the old lady I met under the Irish yew tree just got out of her car at the exact same time as me and we clocked eyes right away, I remember my first thought was "Quantum Entanglement"...


So we got talking and she said she had just lost her wee dog dobby the month before and that she still went on her walks without dobby, she remembered me well and wee betty and I then said to her, look I've got lunch booked for 3 people at jampa Ling and now there are only 2 of us as 1 got left behind. 

She took me up on my offer and I said I've just to go and collect some apple tree cuttings and I can meet you back here at 11.30am. 


She agreed and we met up and she followed us to Jampa Ling and we all had lunch with the Buddhists, the lady couldn't believe she had never been to this place before as it was not far from where she lived, she seemed very impressed with the place and its teachings. 


Now, if I had of waited on the young lad for even 5 or 10 mins, or had of turned back for him I never would have met this old lady in the car park, it was perfectly timed and quantum entangled!!


So after lunch I started to read my messages from the young lad and he was very upset, saying I was mental for not waiting on him and that he really needed to go and see these Buddhists for help, he seemed very annoyed at me. 


So I rang him back to see how he was and all he said was im sorry man, im sorry man and I was like whats up, he said I've dug my mums memorial tree out of the orchard and planted it somewhere else, he thought I wanted nothing to do with him again because I was ignoring him, I said I was driving kid and was under a tight time schedule and couldn't have waited, he said I know your a regimented paramili-tree and I'm sorry for letting you down. 


I couldn't believe what he done, he went and bought his own spade and 2 more trees with his own money, found a shopping trolley somewhere to carry everything and planted his mums tree along with 2 other fruit trees in a field far away from our orchard. 

To be honest him doing this made me like him even more, it's like something I would have done. 


He sent me a video of where he planted them and its in a field that cows graze on now and again and I said they'll get trampled over and ate by the cows man.


So off he goes again with his spade and shopping trolley, digs out the trees and moves them to this cracking place that I've been eyeing up myself for sometime and plants his mums tree and the 2 other fruit trees in it and when I went down to see it, there was this jostaberry bush that was growing next to his mums tree at our orchard, for some reason he thought it was part of his mums tree and dug this out too. 


Turns out this josaberry came from jampa Ling and was blessed by the Rinpoche - a Tibetan Lama and given to me about 5 years ago, I got given about 50 of these jostaberry plants blessed by the Lama and they were the first thing I planted at the orchard as a way of blessing the ground before I was about to make it the phantom planters HQ!

Kinda uncanny and magical that this young lad dug out one of these and planted it in his new orchard, carrying on the Buddha blessing for what is about to become the biggest phantom planted orchard in the world. 


This area of land is massive and so close to Belfast city centre, this is going to become the Belfast city orchard with what this young lad has started!

Since his phantom planting I've added 10 more fruit trees to it, another kind lady donated 4 more and another kind supporter donated another 4, its growing by the day and well respected and loved by passers-by.


"Out of a muddy pond blooms a lotus flower"


From destruction comes renewal, this young lads moment of madness has planted the seed for something special...


Yesterday I did a post to raise money for this young lad to go and stay at jampa Ling for the week to eat, sleep, pray and meditate with the Buddhists and the money was raised by all you guys within the space and about 6 hours and I'm running him down myself on Tuesday to drop him off for the week. 


May the Buddha guide him and protect him and also guide and potect the old lady too who just lost her wee dog dobby. 


Om mani padme hum.....


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