I was out in the garden early. The heat around here is already oppressive and I wanted to get some work done before I melted. My garden and I have a tenuous relationship at best. Each year I promise it I will be better; I’ll visit every day, take care of its basic needs and help it thrive.
The past few years I’ve been inconsistent at best. I mean well, I really do because the thought of a flourishing garden excites me. And I seem to have a hard time remembering to get down there on a daily basis. I remember early in the day and usually plan to go out in the evening as things are winding down. Then my day barges forward until I am drifting off to sleep and think, “Oh yeah, I was supposed to water today.”
This year, I am trying to be more present for my garden – and more present for myself in the process. If you are anything like me, and I bet you are, you have approximately 43,000 things going through your brain at the same time. Most of them probably have to do with the future, whether that future is three hours or three years into the future, or rehashing actions that occurred in the past. Very little probably has to do with this. very. moment.
I call it active meditation. When I was pulling weeds, I was trying to just pull weeds. When I started rehashing past events or making future plans, I brought myself back to the weeds. When I was picking strawberries, I tried to focus on the act of picking. I noticed, for the first time ever, the little “pop” sound that happens when I pull the berry from the stem. I mixed compost into the soil and studied the rich color of the new earth as it joined the old. I breathed, I enjoyed the stillness. Each time I realized I was someplace else other than my garden (which happened a lot), I brought myself back to the garden.
There’s a phrase a dear friend once introduced to me that I try to remember in these types of moments:
“Let your soul and mind be where your body is.”
My body was in the garden, I brought my soul and mind back there repeatedly. It’s going to take A LOT of practice for my soul and mind to stay there, they’d much rather wander off someplace to examine some fuzzy piece of the future and chew on it for hours like a dog with a rubber toy. But if I live up to my intentions, we’ll all be in that garden a lot this summer and can practice and practice and practice.