I arrived here 10 months ago with no full time job and the intention to breathe more. Taking the advice of so many great voices who say - go to nature, be in it, answers will arise. The location is my childhood home, where my parents still live and tend almost two acres of land.
My mom has fallen in love with gardening and it is from her hard work that this blog is inspired. Come along as I share lessons on growth, from my mom's garden.
Focus on Your Roots
It's a marvel to see this garden. Truly breathtaking. But it doesn't happen overnight. It's a year-round process for my mom. She begins in the winter with tiny seeds in soil. Depending on the type of plant, she can grow them outside or under special lights. The goal during this time is to grow baby roots; to be nurtured with sunlight and water. The roots are the most important thing, at all stages. Without a strong root, the plant cannot grow.
For humans, this is our Root Chakra phase. This is whenever we're at the beginning of something. We need to develop the basics. In any situation, we can ask ourselves - what are the essential elements that will allow me to root down here? How can I get firm footing? What nurturing do I need to give myself to allow for stability?
In our yoga practice, this is where we take the time to learn the basics. Awareness, breath, poses. When we're just starting, we cannot expect to be this big beautiful sunflower. We have to start as a seed.
("To move freely, one must be deeply rooted" - Bella Lewitzky)
Prepare Yourself for the Elements
Plants encounter all the elements of the wild, and many pose a danger to their survival. One wild wind storm and the whole garden could fall down. Same thing with humans. We encounter situations similar to the elements of the wild (grief, loss, disappointment, etc.)
My mom does a few things to prepare her plants for these encounters. First, of course, is allowing them to grow strong roots. Second, she introduces them to the different temperatures in small bits. She never wants to shock them going from one extreme to another. As she brings some of the plants outside, she covers them to be sure frost doesn't get on them (it's not so much the cold in the air - it's if the plant itself gets frost on it that they're in the most danger). Third, she slightly brushes the leaves to prepare the plants to stand tall in the wind.
What can we do to prepare ourselves for the elements? How can we be sure that the environment we're in doesn't frost us over? How can we learn to sway with the winds instead of fall down to them?
For the body, our yoga asana (poses) prepares us for the difficulties we encounter in life (having to hold concentration and strength in Warrior II, for example). For the mind, yoga teaches us to identify our thoughts for what they are, and let them go. This is kind of like not letting the frost get to us. Our thoughts will always be there, negativity and bad situations will always be there, but we can choose not to dwell on them.
("You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf" - Swami Satchidananda)
Have Patience, Lean into Your Passions, Never Stop
I know, I know - we want to be that big beautiful sunflower right now. But this is a slow game. Flowers, yoga, healing, and just about anything else that's worth it.
My mom started gardening 18 years ago. She didn't know what she was doing then. She just got started, following her passion. As time went on she learned more, she grew more, and then one day, it just all came together. She would definitely want me to add though, it's never "over". You have to keep working, learning, growing.
What's a tiny step in the direction of your passion? What can you get started with right now? If you're already living your passion, how can you grow it even more? What can you do to continue your progress?
In yogi speak, think of it like this: after we get our roots firmly planted, we are free to follow the passions of our Sacral Chakra. (just as my mom followed her passion for gardening). This allows us to then develop confidence and strength, pour love into it, share our story, follow our intuition, and trust in the bigger picture (that was a preview of the rest of the chakras). It's a whole process that builds on itself, just like a garden.
("Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly"- Chuang Tzu)
We are the garden, the gardener, the teacher, and the student. In everything there is a lesson, in everything there can be growth. In everything, we find yoga.