Gardening is something I have really come to enjoy. It’s a simple pastime that allows me to be outside and nurture a few plants that give back fresh, wholesome fruit. This year, I have also found that gardening teaches me some great lessons on balance that I’d like to share with you: changing gracefully and choosing joy.
Caring for a garden is all about managing seasonal change. This year is the first year I’ve managed to keep a few outdoor plants alive in our rather unique climate along the Salmon River in Idaho. It’s a beautiful landscape, but its June snows and early frosts limit the harvest season to only about three weeks.
Alas, I get so much joy out of picking veggies and herbs from my porch that I had to try. Well, we just got our first frost of the season, and I’m afraid it took my tomato plants with it!
In the past I would have been easily exasperated by the early death of these few plants I had been caring for. But instead, I had the following thought: “Mmmm, fried green tomatoes!” That the thought of choosing to appreciate the joy their short little lives came so easily shocked me in a good way. But it wasn’t without the work of so many months before that included making better choices for myself — like choosing appreciation and joy over the things over which I have no control.
The lesson for me was: When life gives you an early frost, make lemonade (or fried green tomatoes)!
Another great learning I took away from the garden this year was balance. I often have delusions of grandeur — that my garden needs to be the best and greatest garden there ever was. This is OK for me to dream about, and perhaps one day there will be time to make that goal a reality. But, the current reality is that I only have a small amount of time to devote to a gardening hobby. And that is absolutely OK.
By choosing my priorities in life, I have placed importance on certain things --relationships and hobbies over others. Instead of allowing yourself to become stressed and overburdened, scale back a few things. Instead of having a huge garden this year, I chose to focus on just a handful of herbs and tomatoes. I could enjoy the benefits of a small garden without the stress of a larger one.
With the cool crisp temperatures in the air, it’s official: The seasons are changing! And much like the new energy of spring that prompts us to “spring clean,” autumn can provide us with a similar internal pull toward change. Are there seasonal changes that you can adopt gracefully to make your life easier?
As the days get shorter, sometimes our motivations fluctuate in a very natural, biological rhythm. Can you find a way to feel good about these changes and make them work for you? Perhaps there are indoor projects you’ve been putting off because of the beautiful weather and long daylight hours. Is there a little housecleaning (physical or metaphorical) that you can accomplish to make the coming winter months more pleasant?
A clean, tidy environment often has a great effect on the mind. It can be a breath of fresh air — a gift to yourself of that creates some new space to move into. Give yourself this permission to move in harmony with life’s seasons — at home and in your life.
This type of change in our personal lives is a choice we can all make. Choose wisely and bring more balance and joy into your life today