This time of year always gives me energy. Maybe it’s the longer days with more light.
Mostly, I think it’s hope.
When I explore my yard, I see life bursting through my haggard, muddy lawn, and I say to myself, “If that little crocus can make it through five months of cold, dark hell, and burst through with life and beauty, anything is possible!”
Let’s acknowledge that life really is like a garden. Nature gives us clues for how to weather the storm and bloom when the time is right.
If you want to improve or grow something in your own life, may it be a business, relationship, health, or project, try using the metaphor of gardening to inspire and nurture your actions.
Gardening can physically get you out of your comfort zone, requiring you to lift, stretch, kneel, dig, bend and move about. It also prepares your heart to connect to the grand energy of life.
In the garden we slow down, connect to the earth and get in touch with the energy that ebbs and flows through the cycles and rhythms of each season, something that our daily life sorely needs, a variation from our 24/7 focus on consuming so we can tell ourselves we are enough.
We have lost our connection to each other, ourselves and to nature, and forgotten that everything we need is already in abundance in nature. Only when we slow down long enough do we get in touch with the magic and miracle of being mindful in the present moment. We realize our connection to the earth and all of life that restores the ability to create beauty when we collaborate together.
So how can we utilize gardening as a healing tool for our health, to better relationships or to grow a business?
Here are some gardening tips:
1. Start by imagining or creating a vision of what you want to grow into.
What do you really want? What kind of garden inspires you? What do you want to harvest in your garden at the end of your life? Don’t just toss some random seeds out your back door and expect them to grow and flourish and provide you with what you need. Be intentional about what you want to plant.
2. Set the timing & prepare your soil.
Some things take more time to root than others. Plan accordingly to support the growth of what will grow when. You reap what you sow. If you plant angry seeds, you get angry plants.
3. Nourish with fertilizer, water and light.
Don’t expect your garden to flourish if you ignore it or if you keep digging up the seed to see if it has roots. Pay attention and give it nourishing thoughts. Ask for help from a more experienced gardener: find a coach or mentor to help you and guide you on your way to mastery.
4. Prune, weed and protect your garden.
The doubts and fears of others can quickly stomp out dreams. Protect your garden with boundaries, only let in what will be nourishing, and keep out pests that will destroy what you have started. Make it a practice to clear out the weeds so your dreams have space to grow. Do this consistently, for if you don’t, weeds and pests can take over and slow down or even kill your progress. Pay attention and be consistent.
5. Be flexible and bend with challenges.
Let go and trust the process. If you are consistently doing the above, enjoy yourself and let go of control. Work with nature to learn how to balance the elements. Have a practice to make space for resiliency. Sometimes the wind can help create a stronger foundation and spread your seeds. Have faith!
6. Celebrate your harvest.
Learn to receive. Enjoy the fruits of your labour. There is nothing worse than protecting something wonderful only to have it die before we fully appreciated it. So share the bounty, celebrate it and let it become part of you. Everything (and everyone) has a purpose. When we receive, we honour and value that gift. We take it in and it we make it part of us and in doing so, it lives forever. I think this is why grieving the loss of something we loved is so challenging, we often take it for granted, not fully embracing the gift it has offered to us.
7. Give back and reflect.
Reflection is a great gift if we have done the previous steps with love. Learning is one thing, but when we share our knowledge by mentoring someone else, we give the gift of leadership and our legacy to another.
This spring, get outside and breathe the new air. Let it fill your lungs and sweep out the remains of winter. If you have a dream or even something you are struggling with, plant some hope, cultivate it and watch it grow.
Learn from your garden. What might it be teaching you to do or to stop doing? Nature always has guidance if we’re willing to listen. Let yourself connect and collaborate with the greatest gardener that ever existed.