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Letters from the Garden - Mindful Living in Action


container garden
Our first container garden

Tenderness 


As I prepared for gardening season this year it occurred very little to me how much tenderness, care, and attention it takes to be a gardener. 


Having been very focused inward these past 8 month of pregnancy to maintain my personal health for the sake of both the baby and myself, I have been semi-detached from the energetic connection that made me fall in love with gardening in the first place. Let's be real, I've been detatched from a lot. Most of my time the past 8 months has been managing symptoms and sleeping, but now that I'm in the final stretch I am feeling a little more energetically engaged across the board.


Back to lessons from gardening...


My first attempts at gardening began with growing a container garden when Jordan was about 2 or 3 years old. The following season the containers multiplied and by the time he was 4 I was well on my way to exploring the territory of using the square foot gardening method and tended a 4 feet by 24 feet raised garden that nourished my multi generational household that year with plenty of abundance to share with friends. 


Raised garden for square foot garden method
Square foot gardening method

Over the years my time and attention was drawn away from managing such a large garden due to learning all the lessons that come with being a single mom of a young boy who needed an advocate when he transitioned through school and balancing that time with teaching yoga with more frequency.  I still had an affection for growing so I still maintained a few container plants while redirecting my focus to growing and nurturing my son and my yoga business. 


As life happened and offered new obstacles, challenges, and opportunities for slowing down for healing, I returned to the hobby I found so comforting to me when Jordan was young. In 2021 I partnered with a local gardener and got my hands back into the soil and when the season ended, began to learn how to tend to and care for tropical house plants. 


Girl potting annuals
Potting annuals

Tropical houseplants require year round attention so it was quite the learning curve and I learned much about propagating plants, proper soil, humidity, and light required for keeping indoor plants alive and thriving. 


The cycles and patterns of gardening are pretty much the same with both indoor and outdoor plants with the only exception of the length of the life cycle. Many garden plants must be started from seed early in the year indoors in our area - something I’ve never been good at due to lack of education and experience. Alternatively one can purchase plants that are ready to go right into the container or garden space of choice. After the season is done, everything is pulled out and the soil rests for the winter. 


Indoor gardens follow the same lunar cycle patterns for growth as the outdoor gardens but are in a constant state of growing. With observation one can notice which moon cycles create more growth and which moon cycles hold space for cutting or propagating the plant so it can grow more and create new plants. Following a Farmers Almanac is a wonderful way to begin to learn these cycles when you’re a beginner. 


All of this attention and willingness to observe the patterns and connect with the natural cycles as provided by the sun and the moon requires a tenderness. 


As one cannot observe anything without the ability to be still and see clearly. The practice of tending plants is much like our meditation practice. It has many parallels and similarities to how we sit and observe the patterns within ourselves and the patterns that exist outside of ourselves. This requires a deep tenderness for oneself which then translates to our relationships annd experiences with others. 


If we take the time to tend to our inner landscapes with tenderness it is much easier to tend to our external connections with tenderness. 


It is a beautiful cycle of empathy, love, care, understanding, compassion, gentleness, and kindness. It is a constant space of studentship, of learning when the time is right to plant a seed, to water and watch it grow, to learning when its time to prune or replant in a new space for the purpose of growth, and a learning when a tender loving hand is needed for handling and not causing harm. 


When tending a garden of plants or humans, the lessons are so intricately intertwined. Each plant is so unique and has its own set of needs and requirements to grow. Each plant offers its own characteristics and qualities to those whose life it touches. In this way so are we. Plants do not receive shame or criticism for being too small or too showy. There is no guilt or judgement in the garden. Only tender care by the gardener to know what environment is the best for an individual plant to grow. If a plant is growing fast, the gardener supports it, it doesn't shame it and tell it is too proud and showy. If the plant doesn’t receive support it will fall over or even slow it's growth due to out growing its pot and becoming root bound and stuck. If a plant is slow to grow or produce fruit, a gardener would tenderly nurture and care for, perhaps even transplant it to a space where it can receive the right balance of light, shade, water, and nutrients to grow. So to be a good teacher, a leader, or a gardener tenderness is needed. Without tenderness the energetic connections that result will wither and fade.


As we move through this season of spring and observe all the growth around us, let us think on these things. Let us ponder the sweet lessons of the garden, of the growth around us and how the tenderness of the Creator keeps everything in balance. Let us strive to take that lesson and show more tenderness to those in our lives with the understanding that we are all growing together and that no matter what our individual personal experiences are in any moment of time, that we and others are in the loving care of the Great Creator and as such should be grateful and willing to share that same care with others. 


As above, 

So below,

As within, 

So without,

As the Universe,

So does the Soul. 


Keep the faith, Yogis.


With Love,

Rhonda

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