“Gardening is not a rational act.” ~ Margaret Atwood
There are two things that take me away from my yoga mat during the summer months; training for the Tely 10 road race and tending to my vegetable garden. Both activities are things I love to do and both have taught me a whole lot about myself! I’ll save the running lessons for another time but since I’m surrounded by a lovely sea of green these days, I thought I’d share some of my ‘life lessons from the garden’. Things I am STILL learning!
1. Slow Down.
This is a big one for me. If you have read any of my posts before, you know that I love lists. I love getting things done and I like being go, go, go. But I do visualize a time when I have more leisurely time to read, write and cook. It’s a big goal of mine and I am realizing that I’m not making it a priority.
My garden is teaching me to slow down. Seeds germinate on their own schedule. I can make sure the seeds are watered and there are no pests around but other than that, there isn’t much more I can do to make them sprout. There is a space of time there that I must live with. This space makes me feel like I need to create some time in my life for the things I enjoy, instead of constantly trying to make my dreams germinate by crossing things off my list.
2. Enjoy the journey.
I have a vision board, a painted picture and a very detailed visual of what I want my designed life to look like. I also feel it in my bones. However, a lot of the time, my current day to day does not feel like the way I want the destination to feel.
When I am tending to my plants though, I get that feeling. I am also enjoying watching my garden progress. I love seeing the seedlings poke up from the soil, to see the peas inch their way up their supports and the tomato flowers turn into fruit. I love, love, love it! To be honest… sometimes I don’t like to harvest things because I’m sad that the journey is over.
This would be a good thing to adopt in my daily life. Enjoy the journey and make it feel like I want the destination to feel.
3. Have faith.
I love planning and planting my garden. I am full of great expectations. I have faith that the seeds will sprout and the plants will grow. I know that some things sprout and grow more quickly than others. The seeds are in the ground, doing their thing, and will sprout when they are ready.
But when it comes to the seeds I plant relative to my life’s goals, I often lose faith if I don’t see progress right away. It’s like planting seeds and then digging them up in a couple of days. I wouldn’t dream of doing that in my garden so why do I do it with my life? In the words of one of my teenage favourites, George Michael, “because I gotta have faith, faith, faith”.
4. Tend to your dream.
Sowing seeds or planting is just the first step. If I just left my garden to grow on its own with no watering or pest management I wouldn’t get much of a yield. The slugs would love me and things would dry up pretty quickly. I know that every day or so I have to water and I always have to keep an eye open for pests.
It’s the same with those goals I have. I can’t just create my vision board or write my painted picture and just leave it expecting that everything will be handed to me. I have to then take action and tend to my goals. This means tangible actions and pushing beyond my comfort zone. It means tending to my goals…Every. Single. Day. I’m pretty good at this, not so good at balancing it out with lesson #1!
5. Let go of expectations.
Big one!! Remember how I mentioned in #3 that I always have great expectations at the beginning of the season. Well a lot of times these expectations are dashed very quickly by hungry slugs, caterpillars and poor weather. So far this year my lettuce yield is way up but sadly, I will most likely have teeny tiny beets and carrots.
Every day I have to adjust my expectations and let go of some. It’s a good practice for life. We set goals and have a vision but often times we get ‘not what we want but what we need’. We need to constantly adjust our expectations and let go of the way we think things ‘should’ be.
I am *trying* to learn from my gardening woes so that next year I can grow regular sized beets. I need to take this advice a little more in my life outside the garden. Take that setback as a lesson and move on. Focus on what is growing and producing. As it happens, I like lettuce and greens much more than beets anyway!
And after all that, the best part is that I get to eat food that I grew myself. There isn’t much that is as nourishing and satisfying as that.
If you haven’t tried vegetable gardening yet, why not get a pot, some lettuce seeds or herb plants and give it a go. It’s fun, you’ll learn a lot and get to eat something you grew yourself. All fabulous! So get growing!