Returning home this summer, after five weeks away, my vegetable patch was not an impressive sight! Once I dug through the weeds I found it was full of gorgeous beetroot, lettuce, rhubarb, herbs and the odd sunflower planted by the children – at first sight, however, these were not easy to spot!
You may see where I am going with this….. Yes – the mind! I want to look into how gardening actually stimulates the senses! By cleaning up one area of your life you often start to clean up them all….
Before moving to our current home in Beaconsfield I had merely played around with gardening – always buying the beautiful, full-grown plants only to see them fade and wilt as I did not appreciate and look after them! Actually, that is a lie. I did appreciate them, just did not put in the effort to keep them alive and strong. With life being pretty full on, it did not seem a priority.
Moving, however, gave me a new perspective and some breathing space (that is once the boxes were unpacked and the house cleaned up!!). I was lucky that the lady who previously lived in our house had loved her garden. I took over her labour of love and couldn’t bear the thought of letting all her efforts go to waste.
I was daunted at the prospect, not exactly being Mrs Green Fingers, but the results were surprising. The children followed me out into the garden and we dug out their spades, buckets, rakes and gloves. As I attacked weeds, hedges and the occasional wasps nest, they played with mud for hours! Their imaginary play, mud cakes, witches brew etc, made me laugh and although very messy, it was so incredibly relaxing for us all.
Within a few months we planted vegetables and flowers of their choice – again – very messy but who cares! The seeds grew, we harvested and ate beetroot, radish, lettuce, rhubarb and sprinkled fresh herbs on our pizza. It worked! By putting in the hours and letting go a bit, great results were achieved.
It is the same with the mind. Mine, at least, is at times full of weeds. They come along and crowd the seedlings, crowd the positive, only to suck the energy from them so they do not flourish. When this happens, it is hard to appreciate all the great aspects of life that surround you.
Don’t underestimate the power of weeding and how it can change your attitude! A few hours in your garden, or on your terrace with a few pots or in your allotment if you are so lucky, will clear your mind. You will see things grow, things you planted and cared for, and as you nourish these tiny seeds you yourself will feel nourished.
Are there areas in your house or in your life that are a real mess? Try this little exercise – every morning after breakfast (or when you have dropped children at school, or when you get to your office) de-clutter for five minutes. It could be your desk, the kitchen, your closet, the playroom, your mind – anything. Just clear a small space – either physically or close your eyes and breathe deeply and focus on the positive aspects of your life. Every day, continue to do so until you have tidied this area. You will feel liberated (and your house will look nicer too!)