I’ve had some really lovely and thoughtful responses to last week’s blog. They came from people who actually garden (unlike me) and therefore they had insights that I didn’t have. It’s amazing what some actual knowledge will do to a metaphor! So I thought I’d share their wisdom with you.
One friend had been weeding her garden just before she read the blog. She wrote, ‘… as I pulled out big weeds I also started to pull out a “wanted” plant that I had forgotten was there (hidden under many weeds for quite some time!). This made me think about the things that restore me and bring me pleasure that sometimes get hidden, or pulled out because I forget I enjoy them.’
I agree with her. Some seasons in our lives are so busy that good and fun activities just get pushed out, or hidden. Sometimes we have to leave them for a time. When the busy season passes and we find we are able to clear our schedule a bit, it’s often tempting to continue to leave the good things out too. We start looking for clear time with nothing in it.
But I find that often clear time isn’t really what we need. If we have ‘free time’ we can fill it with TV, or surfing the web, or scrolling through social media. All good activities in moderation, but often these activities don’t leave us feeling refreshed. What we need instead is rejuvenating time. Activities that are creative, refreshing, enjoyable. Time spent playing an instrument, or going for a bush walk, or reading, or painting. These activities may take a little effort to get started but they are more refreshing in the long run.
Do you have a hidden activity that you need to clear space around so that it has time to flourish in your time garden? Is there something you used to enjoy that you’ve almost forgotten about, that you would like to start doing again?
Another long-standing friend has sent me a list of thoughtful questions:
What if you COULD have a substantially set-and-forget garden/life where you built up the soil, the substrate, then applied, first aged compost, then fresh mulch?
Firstly, the odd weed would appear instantly out of place, green chickweed against brown pine-bark, for example.
- What would that look like in life? What would be the aged compost? The mulch?
- What areas of your “garden” need deeper mulch … perhaps some shade-cloth during the withering summer?
- What areas are going to need additional fertilisation or water to fully enable the growth of what you’ve already planted?
- Would attending to this thoughtful preparation mean that the “weeds” would be so easy to identify that they never even took root?
My friend says that the ‘aged compost and the mulch’ in our time garden is provided by identifying our core values, and our vocation or calling. If we are aware of these deeper intentions in our lives then we can measure tasks and possibilities against them.
Anything that comes along “looking” good and worthwhile, can instantly be measured against these priorities:
- Would letting this demand on my time bring me closer to my true self/ vocation/ calling… or take me away?
- Does this offer/ request really relate to who I really am… or is it something merely “worthwhile” – but not for me?
- What have I planted in my garden previously… that has never prospered, never grown, and is merely surviving unproductively? Does it need removal?
These are great questions, really worth thinking about. I’m going to take some time to consider them and I hope that you will be able to do so also.