Growing like a garden

Many of us would love to mould our lives as if it was clay, but it is more like a garden that can not be tamed. It will always surprise us and remind us that we are rarely in control.

Our current society is very result oriented. Success is often seen as a destination, not a journey. Instead of focusing on results, is it not better to pay attention to the process? Instead of asking the question: “What do I want?”, how about asking “what do I need?” Understanding the limits and consequences of the path we take is also important. After all, we may not be blank canvases capable of doing whatever we chose to do.

Whereas I understand that it is possible to limit ourselves wrongly, it is good to remember that there are some things that we have no control over and that if we go against the grain, we are likely to exert a lot of effort (and get splinters). I suggested that we are a bit like an eco-system, let’s simplify the simile further and use the image of a low maintenance garden. If we understand the soil, the exposure to the elements and the relationship the species have on each other, we are likely to grow healthy plants that nearly look after themselves. Instead of spending all of our time labouring and solving issues, we can marvel at the unfolding growth and the maturing of our garden.

So instead of trying to be different from who we are, is it possible to nurture ourselves and our relationships to provide the right conditions for growth. This may involve, having a healthy rhythm, doing exercise, expressing our creativity, being of service and maintaining our relationships. That does not mean that we close the door to proactive change. The transformation is called for is a more caring and less controlling.

Many people claim that we should become masters of our destinies. It is an attractive idea. However, over the last few years, I have come to question the strife of constantly trying to better ourselves. Aren’t we happier when we accept ourselves and follow our hearts? Something changes when we start looking after ourselves and caring. We can witness the flowering.


One sentence journal – day 3:
“Why is it so difficult to comprehend that the earth is old and that it was beaming with life for millennia before we came about? The Natural History Museum in London made its mark on my heart.”

This blog is part of a renewed 42-day writing challenge inspired by Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits Book.
Photo: Stephanie Krist