plant seeds, pull weeds
Updated: May 14, 2022
Gardens have often been used as metaphors for life's nurturing and growth. If you take time to think about the end to end process of gardening, it makes sense.
When you consider the gardening process, if we live our lives "well tended", we can grow strong and live healthy. Here are some thoughts on how to "plant" positive seeds and "pull" negative weeds from our lives.
Before you plant a garden, you need a Vision: Why are you starting a garden and what do you want to get out of it?
Then you need a Plan: What will you plant? Where is the best location? What resources are needed? What care does it need?
You need good soil for your foundation.
In health and wellness foundation is your body, mind and spirit. What are the ways that you sustain a strong foundation in each of these areas?
You have to assess the conditions to ensure there will be enough sunlight and water.
Where you can control your surroundings and environment - look for ways to make small improvements. Keep things neat and organize your mind. Set daily plans and assess your physical areas like your desk, bedroom, living space, car, etc. Face a window or get outside daily.
You have to tend to the garden daily.
Self-care can be done in small spirts through the day. Pause for a deep breath, step outside, take a short walk, shift positions, get up every hour and drink water. Where possible take larger steps like meditation, a longer walk, a workout of your choice, spending time visiting with a friend or family-member.
You need to learn to deal with things that are out of your control (like weeds and animals).
We can't always control the narrative, so when plans do not go as expected - use the power of the pause and consider what response will be the most productive. When that unplanned call or visit comes asking for something from you (possible weed) - asses and prioritize. Can this wait? Is this more important than what you already had planned?
You need patience and perseverance.
We often give others grace and compassion (seeds) very easily and quickly. It's important to give ourselves that as well. We can be our own worst critics (weeds) and if we allow ourselves, we can receive a good "beating". It's helpful to recognize when you are not being patient with yourself, reframe the narrative (seed) and look for the pathway forward and out of the negative. A daily dose of mindfulness can help make this happen more naturally. Here's a reminder of a 1-minute breathing exercise you can do daily.
You need to harvest the garden and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Gratitude is a way to harvest the life seeds you are sowing. Gratitude is powerful and can lead to a more positive mindset and perspective. Recognizing daily what went well and what brought you joy and fulfillment can settle down negative feelings a bit more quickly. It's not to say that things won't be upsetting or frustrating (weeds), but when you are able to put some perspective on the matter, you often can find your way to ideas to effectively deal with what may be out of our control.
So, what do you want your garden to look like? What seeds will you plant? What steps will you take to tend your garden?
What is just one small step you can take today to become your own gardener?
Here's a book with more thoughts on this topic. Plant Seeds, Pull Weeds.