Garden Practices Reveal Your Psyche
You may not be aware that your garden practices reveal your psyche. As an avid gardener, each growing season has brought great joy and great frustration into my life. Being self-taught, my gardens have survived numerous amateur attempts to keep annual, perennial and vegetable gardens alive. There have been spectacular failures and successes interspersed over the years. How I have felt about the failures along the way has been very revealing and has had an uncanny connection to issues in my life at the time.
Getting through the four stages of competence in your gardening, in your life.
When one jumps into a new project such as gardening, you don’t know what you don’t know. You are in ‘unconscious incompetence’ according to the Four Stages of Competence. Every new skill requires us to go through these four stages of learning, until we finally master what we were trying to learn. There is no set time as to how long it will take you to move through each stage. Some people believe that we are continually cycling through all four stages, every time we reconnect to a project. Others find it beneficial to remain in the beginner mind in all things, so that we are always open to learning new ways.
When we remain in the beginner mind, we are always open to learning new ways to do or to be.
In the past, I remember feeling crushed and angry when I would come to the garden and discover that some vegetable had been destroyed by an animal or an insect. It was so disheartening, after putting so much effort into creating that section of the garden. I felt like an absolute victim. Some animal or insect had attacked my poor plants who were also helpless and unprotected. My garden practices reveal my psyche so that I may bring healing to it.
Now, each spring, I greet my garden as a brand-new entity and this allows me to see it with fresh eyes, and to forgive my past failures. Every gardening year presents opportunities to learn new and different lessons.
How are your garden’s (your life’s) boundaries?
One of the first lessons I had to learn about the garden was about boundaries. Did I have good boundaries? In our life or in our garden, probably not. So, my partner and I erected 8-foot-tall bamboo poles, attached to 5-foot-tall iron stakes and installed two layers of four-foot fencing, one above the other, attached to the poles. That kept the deer out! But it didn’t keep the rabbits out. So, then we attached a rabbit fence to the lower fence. This kept most of the rabbits out. Next, we installed chicken wire fencing over that and finally have kept the rabbits out of the garden. It took several tries to establish good boundaries between our vegetables and the natural world that wanted to eat them. Establishing boundaries in life is also essential, not letting others invade your space or your psyche is paramount to mental well-being.
Are you letting weeds (toxic people) take over your life?
The next lesson was about setting boundaries with the weeds, to stop being a victim once again and to nurture our plants. I finally learned how to weed, before the weeds got out of control and took over. When your plants are being threatened and overtaken by weeds, I doubt that they feel like they’re being nurtured. Again, these plants needed our help and nurturing with strong boundaries set between them and the weeds.
Do you have weeds in your life? Is your garden reflecting that to you? Is it time to nurture yourself with healthy boundaries? Do your garden practices reveal your psyche?
Is it time to set clearer boundaries which only allows love and light into your life instead of other people’s drama and trauma?
Eventually, my partner decided to make raised beds in the garden which helped improve the soil quality and the garden overall. I soon realized that putting straw around the base of plants prevented the weeds from growing. We covered the path between the raised beds with gardening cloth that didn’t let weeds through. Big lessons in boundaries. Saying no to the invaders. I chose to no longer fall victim to the weeds.
Are there people trying to invade your life with their toxicity? Is it time to set clearer boundaries which only allow love and light into your life instead of other people’s drama and trauma?
Failures are opportunities waiting to be embraced, accepted and learned from
My failures in gardening gave me numerous opportunities to feel bad about myself, to think I wasn’t smart enough, I couldn’t get it right, I had done something wrong again. Our negative beliefs about ourselves become our instant response to anything that goes wrong. It is very revealing to see where our mind goes in the presence of disappointments and failures. Ideally, we learn to accept our experiences in life without judging them. We still gain from the experience without adding a layer of berating ourselves along the way.
Breathing in light and breathing out your negative beliefs one at a time, over and over until they release their hold on you. By acknowledging the negative, filling it with light and breathing it out, we create space for something more positive to grow. You can learn more about my Breathe in Light technique here.
Nurturing helps us to reach our true potential
Another big lesson learned was about nurturing the garden by watering. I wanted to believe that if I put straw down, then I wouldn’t have to water my plants. The reality was they still needed to be watered, just not as often. So, my hands-off-never-watering technique was not very nurturing to my tomato plants. Perhaps that was why my tomatoes weren’t heavy producers?
Once my gardening intuition kicked in, I realized that I needed to water on a regular basis. Watering a huge garden takes a lot of energy and commitment. Being consistent about watering is what helps the plants grow and produce to their fullest potential. Finding a way to incorporate watering without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated was the challenge. Discovering soaker hoses was a step in the right direction. Googling how often to use your soaker hoses was the next step in the right direction.
Self-care habits and what they reveal
One of my goals in life is to add a personal self-care habit to my life every year. These habits are proof that I am choosing to nurture myself, to make my well-being a priority, to take time for myself. When I work with my Reiki clients, I inquire about their self-care habits. I’ve noticed that people who have incorporated these habits into their life understand the importance of nurturing themselves. On the other hand, people who don’t make time for self-care habits or who don’t believe they have time for self-care habits, may need to learn about taking care of themselves and making their needs a priority.
I’ve noticed that what I feel about my garden, reflects what I feel about my life.
And what I feel about my life is reflected in what I feel about my garden. Over the past 34 years, I have seen the improvements I have made in my life and in the care of my garden. I don’t feel like a victim as much around my garden anymore.
In my life, I have learned how to set clear boundaries, how to make my needs a priority with self-care habits, how to keep toxic people out of my life and to choose love and light every time. What have you noticed is ready to transform in your life?
Anchor your process and progress into the present with journaling
Ideally, one needs to remember what was done last year in the garden that worked. Perhaps having a gardening journal would be helpful, to take notes and document the lessons learned so that next year you will build on that knowledge and experience.
Similarly, it’s very helpful to journal about your own self-healing journey, how you have navigated through learning boundaries, letting go of victimhood and accepting all your experiences as they appear. Seeking answers and asking questions on my self-taught journey has been essential.
“Journaling about my intuitive insights brings even more insights to me as I write”
This year’s main lesson has been about making sure to harvest and eat what we produce. That’s a high bar. In past years, there were many times where all the peas would be ready right when we were on vacation. Other times, life got too busy, and I didn’t make it down to the garden daily to check on everything. Whenever I would find that I’d missed harvesting at the right time, I’d once again feel like a failure. Who knew that gardening would reveal all these important layers of my psyche?
What is my gardening bringing up this year (to be healed)?
What are my garden practices trying to reveal about my psyche? Every gardening season I get to notice if the gardening evokes anger or frustration, or feelings of victimhood or lessons about either boundaries or nurturing the garden. I get to check in whether things were over-planted or underplanted, and how I feel about that. All along this process there are opportunities to feel like a failure or to just see it as a learning opportunity. “Oops, I didn’t hit the mark on that one, hopefully next time I will.”
This year I threw a bunch of radish seeds into the ground because I didn’t know how old the seeds were or if they would germinate. I was surprised to find they all germinated, producing a hundred closely, spaced radish seedlings. I harvested those baby microgreens and put him on my chevre cheese gluten-free toast and enjoyed tasty lunches. That’s a technique I’ll use again.
Remember, we have a choice in how we view whatever happens in our life, whether it is in the garden or out in the world. Noticing how we tend to react to disappointments helps us know what is ready to be healed. Asking for Divine help, breathing light into our feelings, mental states and beliefs and then breathing them out, are simple ways to transform yourself. I invite you to step into your empowerment.