by Faith Wood
Faith Wood is CEO of Inspiring Minds Consulting Ltd. As an NLP Practitioner, dynamic speaker, hypnotherapist, entertainer, trainer and business/life coach, she works with large corporations, government departments and small companies alike, providing the building blocks for teamwork, communication and productivity.
Faith works with individuals, small groups and workshops. When people need to perform at their very best, they call Faith. For more information, visit her website at www.imind.ca
“If the seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful roses,
what might not the heart of man become in its long journey toward the stars?”
– G.K. Chesterton
“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.”
– John Ruskin
“You must weed your mind as you would weed your garden.”
– Astrid Alauda
“Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.”
– The Koran
It may sound surprising; however the lessons learned through gardening are myriad. While the process of gardening cultivates patience and teaches you to plan ahead for your goals, you can also learn to cherish the moment. You can learn to let go. You can learn to express yourself; regardless of what others think. There’s no need to agonize over a dead or dying plant: if it can’t survive in your garden, yank it out and replace it, you can’t put orange and pink together; yes I can! You can learn the value of listening to others, who are more than happy to share their experiences in the gardening universe; this often involves a lot of smiling and nodding, as you try to get a word in edgewise.
There is something both exhilarating and soothing about gardening. Small buds breaking through in early spring bring with them a sense of renewal, of perseverance, of new life despite the hardships of winter. Gardening allows you to express your creativity, connect with nature and reap the fruits of your own labour. It is therapeutic, offering activity for both body and mind. Gardens can be restorative for the human spirit.
Gardening is also good for the soul in other ways. After a long, stressful day of work, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as pruning wilting blossoms; “off with your head!” you cry, as you ruthlessly decapitate a past-its-prime flower. All the while picturing in your mind that recalcitrant person[K1] you had to deal with that day. Such immediate gratification is hard to quantify. Not only do your frustrations melt away, but the process also encourages the plant to bloom even more.
Another positive aspect is that in your garden, you are in absolute and complete control. You are the one who decides what to plant and where; what stays and what goes. In this world, you are CEO, CAO, CFO and grand poobah. Rain or shine (or snow), you have all the power in your hands.
Even weeds have their place. Weeding is another way to get rid of stress and allow you to feel in control; at least in your own little patch of sunshine. According to Christopher Lloyd, in The Well-Tempered Garden,
“Many gardeners will agree that hand-weeding is not the terrible drudgery that it is often made out to be. Some people find in it a kind of soothing monotony. It leaves their minds free to develop the plot for their next novel or to perfect the brilliant repartee with which they should have encountered a relative's latest example of unreasonableness.”
With this in mind, weeds can also encourage you to see the world through different eyes. Ralph Waldo Emerson called a weed “a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” Following on Emerson’s philosophy, we can learn to appreciate all aspects of nature and then apply that appreciation to life. That certainly doesn’t mean that you have to let weeds run riot; you can still pull them, but with a greater appreciation for their place in the grand scheme of things. In other words, an appreciation of the power we have to create order out of chaos.
Ultimately, you can learn how to use gardening as a template for life. Persevering against all odds, at least in the frozen northern climate, you can bring colour to your own little corner of the world. Ultimately, you will be able to stand back and view your creation with pride and say, “I did that.”
[K1]Unruly, obstinate, intractable, unmanageable