Cultivating Your Garden

posted in: Mindfulness | 0

You’ve probably noticed, I love being outdoors. And I get out there every chance I get. Jason’s garden has given me many reasons to be outside, and you’ll find me there every evening after dinner. It brings me peace.

The Garden is definitely a work-in-progress, which, I suspect, will never be “finished.” Much like many other home projects, it will continue to evolve. I had a general plan in mind when we first started, but was flexible enough to let it take on its own personality. Come to think of it, that sounds like my life!

Figs on Plate

One of the aspects I love most about the Garden is the chance that it gives me to nurture – both myself and other living things. We planted a fig tree, and it has already produced three ripe beauties. Luckily, my husband Tim doesn’t like figs, so they’re all mine, and they are delicious! Tending this fig tree, watching the fruit ripen and then biting into one gives me such pleasure.

Japanese Maple Seedlings

I also had a friend gift me with two tiny Japanese maples, off-spring from one on her property. It’s been gratifying taking care of these treasures and watching them grow. I look forward to the day they can join the fig tree in the Garden.

As you can see, it’s more than just a garden to me, and it has many lessons to teach me, if I only listen. So here, I present to you, my list:

10 Things I’m Learning from Jason’s Garden

Weed out the clutter
When I’m weeding I’m reminded of the importance of cleaning out the clutter. When my environment is cluttered, my brain feels cluttered too.

Care for other living beings
Without regular watering, feeding, weeding and pruning all done with love, my plants would get sick. I enjoy seeing them thrive when I nurture them. When I nurture my relationships, they thrive as well.

We are all part of a larger community, dependent on each other
This speaks to the idea of Ubuntu, the African philosophy that says I am, because you are. Bees and butterflies pollinate so that new flowers grow next year. Plants provide us with oxygen. We in turn, provide carbon dioxide. Rain falls. Sun shines. Old growth dies and returns to the soil. On and on the cycle continues, and we are all a part of it.

Respond immediately to health threats
If insects or other diseases appear in my Garden, immediate action is necessary before there is irreparable damage. With my own health, I address concerns as soon as they appear.

Allow for quiet time
My Garden goes to sleep in the fall, resting up for a burst of new growth come spring. I also need rest and rejuvenation to grow.

Be attentive for clues of distress
Plants will let you know when they need water, when they are getting too leggy, when they’re being attacked by disease. Look for distress in those you love and nurture them with what they need.

Kindness is more beneficial than force
Plants take their own sweet time, and if you try to force them by over feeding them or transplanting them too soon, they will not respond as they do with kindness. The same is true with people in your life.

Healthy growth takes time
When you’re first shopping for your garden, you might be tempted to buy those plants that look amazing straight from the nursery. Oftentimes those have been rushed through the growing process artificially and aren’t sustainable. They may look good for a short time, but in the long run they aren’t healthy. I’m reminded not to rush my own growth, and just appreciate the process.

Never stop learning
There is no limit to the knowledge that is available to you, whether that’s learning how to care for your plants, or learning how to care for yourself. It’s not always easy, you have to put in the time, but the results are so worth it. And if you fail, don’t give up. Just try a different approach.

Nature heals
No metaphor here, just firsthand knowledge and scientific fact. When I lost my son last year, my heart tore open and I thought I’d never heal, never laugh again, never care about anything ever again. And while there will always be a hole in my heart, I have found ways to enjoy life once more. I owe that to three things: my community of family and friends, my meditation practice, and spending time in nature.

So, no matter where you live, you can plant something. It may be a houseplant, vegetables or a healing garden. Whatever you plant, tend it, nourish it and watch it grow.

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