GARDENING AS A METAPHOR FOR LIFE
BY KIMBERLY CARROLL, MA, LPC, LADC
There is something simple and wonderful about a garden, where at the end of the day, we know that there was success when the vegetables are growing and are plentiful. We often forget how this happened and so automatically move into remembering the wonders of the harvest, forgetting the efforts that led to the success.
Gardens begin with nicely tilled soil, perhaps efforts to make mounds for certain plants, fencing for the beans to climb or a trellis for the tomatoes and identifying what grows well together. It involves carefully reading the instructions and following them for proper planting and conditions. Inevitably, we then plant the seeds, the dreams we are hoping will promise something amazing in the foreseeable amount of days the packaging tells us.
Next comes the watering and continual tending. The pulling of weeds is important, because if we do not pull the weeds, they will take over our intended plants. We can continually hoe the garden or throw down mulch, two ways of continual prevention. Weeds, if left, will take out the nutrients that our garden plants so desperately need, they will cover our plants, shrouding them, making them difficult to find. Such is with our lives. Life takes continual removal of the negative things, or else they will take over our positive efforts (of dreams and eventual harvest). How often do you recognize your weeds from your intented plants and do you take the extra effort to manage them? It is when our weeds get to growing and ignored our lives start becoming unmanagable. Can you identify your weeds? In order to relish our harvest we must put effort into the present and perservere.
What helps to manage our gardens? Well, it does help to remember that the harvest will come and the seed that was planted (the dream). Sow your seeds for the season and put in the efforts. If we don't have any dreams, then what are we really chasing in life? Are we then just treading the soil, walking over the weeds and hoping for the best? I challenge you to choose your seeds, plant them fearlessly and tend to your garden daily.
As a side note, real-life gardening can be just as positive, and a fun summertime activity that promotes good health. You get loads of Vitamin D (our body's become deprived of this in the winter months), a boost of healthy hormones including serotonin, light impact exercise and stretching of muscles, and of course, with the efforts put in, improved diet. For recovery, it provides doing something different, and needs continual time contribution that must be sustained throughout the warm season. If you need somewhere healthy to go, your garden will always need some form of tending. Overall, gardening may improve your overall mental and physical health. Happy gardening!