April is the month for getting out in the garden. After the soil has rested all winter, it is the perfect time to plant seeds or bulbs and watch things grow. As I observed myself doing this last week, I realized how much there is to learn from the gardening process. Nature is such a fertile source of life lessons. Here are a few I am taking away from my time in the dirt.
First, planting seeds or bulbs requires patience to allow them to spout, grow roots, and emerge from the soil. We really don’t doubt this will happen. In fact, if we try and dig them up every day and see how things are going, this will just harm the fragile new seedling. Why then in our own lives do we doubt and dig up all of our seeds of growth? It really makes more sense to set a goal or intention, decide the daily steps needed to be taken to make progress, and then just do what needs to be done each day, trusting the process. Try to remember this. If you need a reminder, go plant some seeds and enjoy the natural progression from seed to spout to full grown plant, all in due time.
The second lesson from the garden is to know what non-negotiable requirements are essential for the plants to grow. This would be sunlight, water, and plant food. You can try to grow plants without these, but you won’t get very far. Give some thought to what are your non-negotiable needs. Quality foods, exercise, rest, and a positive community are some of the most frequent needs for building a great life. People often look for the newest quick-fix solutions, yet the basics are really the gold standard for life. There is no masters course in self-growth – the masters course is to actually do the basics each day. So, if you are feeling low on energy and unable to move forward in life, take a look at your daily food, exercise, rest, and people habits. These are the building blocks for real self-mastery.
Finally, the garden can teach us a lot about removing excess matter and shedding old layers. I had a conversation recently with a good friend who is a plant specialist, and we were talking about how the unseasonably cold January weather in southern Utah damaged the palm tress in the area. She agreed, but she also offered some promising advice. She said as long as there was a bit of a green showing in the very middle of the palm, it was still alive. All that needed to be done was to remove the brown dead layers and allow the new green growth to flourish. As she said that, I thought what a great insight it was into life. When we are making a serious effort to move forward in life, there may be activities, people, or old thought patterns that need to be removed. Just like the old palm fronds protected the palm tree from the cold, those old habits might have been needed at one time. However, as the new self emerges. it is time to let go of the old ways and embrace the new.
As a final note, I found this quotation from Gertrude Jekyll that sums up this whole discussion. “A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” I hope you go out and enjoy starting your garden, and perhaps you will allow it ti teach you a thing or two along the way. I’d love to hear what you discover!