Posted by: Angela Coulter | on May 30, 2017
I love gardens; always have. To me, there’s something so fundamental to my own core being … so breath-inducing …. so beautiful …. so alive. I always feel closer to myself, closer to inspiration, closer to All, connected to All.
To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a structured English-style garden …. Hakone Gardens which is near where I grew up and is one of the oldest Japanese-style residential garden in the Western Hemisphere …. The Tuileries and Carrousel Gardens which is part of the Louvre in Paris …. Filoli Gardens, also near where I grew up …. my dad’s extensive vegetable, fruit, and flower garden …. fields of fresh growing produce which can be found across this amazing United States …. a personal garden in a backyard …. or even a bunch of pots with plants grouped together.
I could spend hours just enjoying the presence of the living vegetation as well as the other living beings such as dragonflies, butterflies, bees, etc. Even as I type this, thinking of gardens I’ve enjoyed, my psyche begins to get all energized and I feel uplifted.
I begin to take deeper, more fulfilling breaths.
Still, something was missing for me.
My parents always had amazing green thumbs; I did not inherit this; or hadn’t until ……
….. bing … a lightbulb went off. I came to realize I had yet to experience creating and maintaining my own garden …. versus just enjoying others’ creations.
From this awareness, I realized there was a metaphor for me … meaning, “my garden” represented the relationship to myself. Am I, or to what degree am I, actively engaged in my own life?
Last fall, with some guidance from a neighbor who is my “garden muse,” I started planting in various places in my small front and back yards as well as in lots of pots. I’ve found one of my most inspiring and insightful choices is to purchase plants from the clearance area at my local Lowe’s stores. It used to be that if the plant didn’t survive, I wouldn’t feel as bad that I wasted money.
This habit of purchasing the clearance plants now has a completely different lesson and insight for me. I have found such reward and personal validation when a plant that was barely living is now thriving.
The more I develop the relationship with my plants, the more I develop the relationship with myself. It starts in a simple, literal sense … My connection/meditation time for the day includes going out daily to check on my plants, water them, move around the ones in pots which don’t seem to be doing so well in their current location. Often, I’m joined in my outside time by a bee who frequents the front yard, a dragonfly who is partial to the plants in the side yard, and most recently in the backyard, a new swallowtail butterfly which was fluttering all over one day showing me what it could do with its lovely wings.
As I connect with my plants and their insect friends, it reminds me to connect to myself …. “Am I watering myself (enough) daily?” “What am I feeding myself?” “How am I doing in my current location?” “Do I need more sunshine, more shade?” “Who am I connecting with, or not connecting with?” “Am I taking time for myself to just breathe?” “Am I enjoying moments of just being?”
The other thing about having “my own garden” to enjoy versus watching or enjoying others’ gardens, is that my focus in life is now on ME. I no longer look for someone to take care of my garden, nor am I off taking care of someone else’s garden. I’ve found that …..
I am joyfully and gratefully responsible for creating and maintaining my own thriving garden.
P.S.. Both photos are from my garden. In the top photo, the pink flower in the large pot in back is a “Guara.” This winter all that showed of the plant was a bit of the woody stem; it wasn’t looking good. Some people may have even thrown it out.
I heard to give it time, water, and love …. and voila, look how gorgeous it is! This too has been my experience with myself. When I accept myself as I am, and provide time, water, and love … I too have blossomed. What a beautiful blossom I am.