Disorderly Mindfulness: When it Hails on Your Freshly Planted Garden

I love spring! It’s my favorite time of year, as it yields heaps of sunshine, flowers, gardening, composting, and new beginnings.  Gardening is a hobby I really enjoy — getting outside, digging my fingers into the dirt, smelling the fresh earthy scent of life.  It’s where I can release anything that’s not serving me and focus on nurturing new plants to life.

I’m just beginning to learn about the ins-and-outs of gardening — soil composition, xeriscaping, vegetable garden planting, composting, etc etc.  This year we tilled a large plot in our yard that had never been used before and made it into a beautiful spot to grow vegetables and herbs. So much possibility!

Whether I knew it or not, this year in gardening is teaching me more about patience, balance, and letting go than I

My plants patiently waiting to go outside.
My plants patiently waiting to go outside.

could have ever imagined — and it’s still only May!  I have been reflecting on the parallel process of my experiment with gardening and the challenges and growth that I observe my clients experience every day.  The perseverance of the plants amidst the powerful elements of nature reminds me of the resiliency and strength my clients embody as they work towards a healthier, more loving relationship with themselves and other parts of their lives.

If you are from Colorado, you know about the extreme weather patterns we can experience, especially in the spring.  A couple of weeks ago, I’d gone to several markets and sales and stocked up on dozens of vegetables, herbs, perennials, annuals, and just about anything else I could grow!  Of course, the next day brought a blizzard that dumped eight inches of snow.  My plants were patient and waited it out in my house until it was safe for them to go in the ground.

After hours of planning out the garden, planting my seeds, transplants, and new plants, and making sure they had everything they could need to thrive, I was hopeful that my garden would grow, grow, grow!  Then, two days later, a massive hail storm hit.  My larger eggplant lost all of its leaves and my baby transplants of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant seemed to drown in the barrage of ice balls.

Just when I thought everything was in order, chaos hit.

Hail!
Hail!

Have you ever experienced something similar in your life?  For example, a health crisis that seemed to come out of nowhere, or an accident you didn’t foresee happening?  A loss of some kind — loved one, relationship, house — or a personal experience where you felt you had no control?  I think we have all been there.

It’s normal to experience ups and downs in life, things that you cannot control or avoid.  As humans, we will feel a range of emotions on a daily basis, some more pleasant than others, and it’s how we choose to deal with those emotions and experiences that paves the way for our next step.

I could obsess about my garden, worry about what I “did wrong” or “how I could have avoided the hail”, and spiral into a tornado of negative self-talk.  (Trust me I did go there for a bit!).  I could also choose to acknowledge that it is highly unpleasant to have this happen to something you value so much and have worked so hard on, but that all hope is not lost.  There are windows of possibility.  After all, the saying goes that “the sun always comes out after a storm”.

My little eggplant will rebound.  I’ll make sure it gets everything that it needs.  And if some of my plants succumb to the whims of Mother Nature, what is there that I can do about it?  Nothing.  This is also a lesson that is tough but crucial to learn:  we cannot control everything in life, and it is when we are able to embrace the chaos — to accept that it will happen at times but we will get through it — that we find peace.

By surviving a storm, we recognize that we are stronger than we ever knew, and that we could do it again if we needed to.

Hail in my garden.
Hail in my garden.

So out I go to nurture my plants back to health, amidst the chirps of the birds who are used to riding the waves of nature’s whimsical weather.  Because they know that the storm will pass, that the sun is behind every dark cloud, and that hope, patience, and perseverance are all we need to find it.

By being mindful of the moment, observing what is in my control and what isn’t, I am able to release the tension, anxiety and fear that holds me back from truly enjoying my garden, this activity that nurtures my soul so much.

Do you need support in finding the hope amidst a chaotic or challenging time in your life?  Or a little help getting back in balance after a difficult, unpredicted life experience?  I can help! (I’m still learning at this gardening thing, but am a great, empathetic, and skilled counselor!).

The sun emerges.
The sun emerges.

 

Give me a call at 720-340-1443 for  a free consultation!

And stay tuned for more exciting updates on my mindful gardening adventures and for an upcoming Mindful Gardening Class  this summer!

 

5 Responses to “Disorderly Mindfulness: When it Hails on Your Freshly Planted Garden”

  1. How timely! And I was worried about hail marbles pocking my car! If my car had only had the mindfulness to seek shelter! Or the forewarning of the upcoming hail storm. But it did have the willingness to take it as it comes, and the knowledge that it is still learning the coping skills needed for the unpredictability of life in Denver!

    • Hi Claudia! Thanks for showing up here! You’re right- it would feel so much less stressful if we could just predict everything that would happen, but life doesn’t work that way and that’s where mindfulness is so helpful. I think we learn so much from these ‘chaotic’ moments. My garden is healing 🙂

  2. Kate I can appreciate your use of metaphors in our life. Yes our life can hail, and ruin our garden or it can hail and nourish our garden! I so relate to needing to be present mindful and patient, not wanting or waiting for my outcome but accepting the outcome that is!

    • Hi Jocelyn, thank you for your comment! I agree with you that sometimes the very same thing that can “ruin” something can also nourish it. . . that is another great life metaphor. I’m all about acceptance and mindfulness and I see that you are too! Best of luck continuing to nourish the things that give you vibrancy in life 🙂

      • Kate- I find it so amazing what happens when we allow ourselves to accept what is around us, so much beauty and life. Being outside defiantly allows me to be mindful….and of course so does crossfit.