Whilst out in Poly earlier this week, I was preparing the bays for their first influx of seedlings and it occurred to me how akin gardening and cultivation is to our wellness. With every dig, more parallels came to me that I just wanted to share with you and so here is my Gardener's Guide to Cultivating Wellness.
1. Prepare and organically nourish the soil for a healthy crop.
Without the right combination of pH balance, nutrients and composition, some plants just won't thrive. So we have to prepare our soil and nourish it with the right ingredients.
This seems so relevant to well-being. If we don't nourish ourselves with the right foods and ensure that our internal soil is balanced, then we become out of kilter and illness creeps in. To cultivate wellness, we must ensure that we're healthy from the inside. This is a combination of eating well, taking in the right quality and quantity of fluids and flushing out the 'bad stuff'. This is a great start to wellness.
2. Remove weeds and replace with new seeds and water daily.
Part of a gardener's, sometimes thankless task, is to ensure that weeds, harmful grubs and pests don't creep up on our plants as they have a nasty habit of taking over our patch.
So too must we give attention to our internal weeds and other bad stuff that lurks under the surface. Our negative thinking, fears, doubts and insecurities are all parasites that need attention. Making sure that we remove them from our conscious minds and replace with positive beliefs, intentions and dreams is crucial to wellness. Actively observe where you put yourself down and replace with a self-affirming and compassionate belief about yourself that, when repeated daily, can build your self-esteem. Then you can flourish.
3. Remove roots for weed-free envrionment.
The nature of weeds seems confounding; the faster you remove them, the quicker they grow. It's a mystery - or is it? Because there are so many of them, we tend to only pick out the heads and not the roots - leave the slightest piece behind and it regrows. We must invest in digging deep and getting to the root tip.
Our internal weeds are the same. Sometimes it's quite hard to tackle our doubts and fears, yet if we could find the courage to burrow deep enough, we might understand where our issues are rooted and find a resolution. When we find the source and heal it, we can feel liberated enough to move on. Attend to your weeds, dig down to the root and remove. Then feed with love, forgiveness and compassion.
4. Break up sods, then rake over to create an even patch.
Some soil is clay-based and hard to work as it produces huge clumps. Plants will struggle to navigate their way to the nutrients and minerals if clumps get in the way. Break them up to make the soil more receptive to light, nutrients and plants' roots.
Sometimes we can feel very clumpy with life's ups and downs. Perhaps you have a cold, back ache or heavy heart, all representing clumps that bog us down. So we need to look at what is holding us back and making life feel out of balance. Is it a food we're consuming that doesn't suit our body? Perhaps it's a straining relationship that is draining us of energy or a stress or anxiety that you can't express. Whatever the clumpiness is, find the courage to explore not just what it is, how it came to be. Look for the trigger that caused the clump and to break it up ask, 'If this block, person or issue, were a message, what would it be asking you to do, gently?' Once we treat the issue with kindness, forgiveness and compassion, then the discomfort starts to resolve.
5. Nurture germinating seeds with the right conditions for growth.
Spring is such a great time for new life, although our late UK Spring has shown how important the right conditions are to life blossoming. Whilst Mother Nature has her own way of doing things, a contribution from gardeners is generally needed to help things along. Potting seeds in the right compost, watering appropriately, placing in a warm environment. When we treat new life right, we reap the rewards.
Our well-being needs the same attention. As far as I know, there is no 'quick-fix' pill that gives us long-lasting well-being. We need to invest in balancing an interdependent set of conditions that together make us blossom; healthy eating, healthy living, supportive relationships, nourishing work, financial security. Whilst there may be other headings you could add or words you may change, they all have an important interplay to us flourishing. If we give attention to balancing as many of these conditions as we can, then we enhance our chances of growing to our full potential.
Now I'm sure we could take the Gardening analogy further and I welcome your contributions that this blog may inspire. The similarities may not, at first, seem like an obvious one, although I hope you'll agree that there are some interesting parallels that we could attend to in cultivating our well-being. Happy gardening from your hopeful 'Good Life Barbara'.