The Garden of the Mind
May 8, 2012 by
Categories: Miscellaneous

About this time last year, my husband and I purchased our first home, and this spring is the first chance we have had to begin a garden.

The repetitive action of raking and shoveling offers the perfect space for meditation and reflection. After a year of being ignored, our garden space had become overgrown and infested. Even the plants that were worth salvaging were hardly noticeable among the weeds, leaves, and sticks. It had passed the point of simply needing a bit of attention. It required a complete overhaul. 

While pulling out yet another batch of pesky weeds, I realized how similar they were to my own experience over the past year.

 Just a year ago, I was complacent. I recognized the areas in which I needed to grow, but I felt content – appreciating my strengths and accepting my imperfections without judgement. Yet as I stopped paying attention and ignored my own personal needs, my mental space became infested with unhealthy thoughts. My everyday coping, of pulling out a few “weeds”, was no longer enough. When we neglect ourselves for long periods, those unhealthy tendencies become habits, and they are difficult to overcome.

With this realization, I decided that I needed to spend a chunk of time deciding the parts of myself that I wanted to maintain. Similar to the good plants we rescued from the overgrowth, I knew there were some pieces of me that were valuable and promising, even if they are a bit weathered. 

I also recognized that I needed to tread carefully. Figuring out your bad habits can be difficult, and for some it can lead to disrespect and contempt for yourself. Unfortunately, I woke up the next day with poison ivy and bug bites – a lesson that tearing at things blindly will not help anyone. We need to be mindful and kind. The only benefit of the poison ivy is that, for the next few days, I was reminded to be gentle with myself. 

 A couple months have now passed, and I found myself in the garden yesterday doing a checkup on not only the garden but also myself. Last week was a hard one. Though, in contrast to the months before, I realized that it was much easier to pull myself out of the darkness.

Pulling out a week’s worth of weeds was manageable. And I was grateful for the work I had previously put into my own well-being.

Although a few weeds manage to sprout, there are more healthy things among them: Tomatoes, peppers, carrots, herbs, acceptance, forgiveness, appreciation, and so on.  The key is not to become lost in the overgrowth.





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One Thought About The Garden of the Mind

  • Dad
    May 10, 2012 at 10:59 pm Reply

    Your tomatoes look great

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