This month we’re talking about fresh starts and new beginnings and pairing them with the power of nature and our need to be in it. I can’t think of a better representation of exactly that than planting a seed and watching a garden grow.
Horticulture therapy is the practice of working with plants as a way of building self-esteem, calming the mind, and alleviating symptoms of depression. By tending a garden or a yard, you become a caretaker. Selflessly caring for something which can’t show love in return is a powerful way to connect with yourself. Tending a garden is the truest form of selfless love. The plants won’t tell you that you are doing a good job or that they appreciate you, but when tended well, they will grow and blossom, which is its own reward. By allowing love and care to fill a space, every time you see what you’ve accomplished there, you feel a sense of accomplishment.
Plant a seed in a cup and watch it grow. Don’t complicate the process with thoughts of planting whole flats of seeds, or plans to transplant things into a garden that probably needs a bit of work if it’s anything like mine. Choose something that sprouts fairly quickly, like a green bean, or sweet pea. Watch over your little seedling with care and check in on it every day to see if it has enough water. Use this time to slow down and appreciate the process.
You are a little seed. You deserve time and space to grow. It’s okay if you’ve been in an envelope for a long time, the potential is still there inside of you to do great things. Just as you cheer on your little seed in its little cup for the tiniest new growth, cheer yourself on for each and every sign that you are also growing as a person every day.
I’m a fair-weather gardener. When it’s lovely outside and there’s a spring breeze and it smells of rain and green, I can work outside all day. The second it gets too hot or too cold, I suddenly find myself avoiding outside work. Most years I’ll put in a few tomatoes and plant a handful of seeds, usually beets and carrots because I think they are the most fun, and then in a good year actually remember to water them.
I find that I do the exact same thing with myself. When things are going smoothly and I’m not stressed out about anything, I take really good care of myself. But, the second things get hard, the first thing I stop doing are the little things that ensure that I stay physically and mentally healthy – which doesn’t help anything.
Remembering my seeds and my garden helps me remember that I need to take care of myself as well, even when things get harder.
Especially when things get harder.