The Heart's Garden - September 22, 2018
In the Re-enchantment of Everyday Life, Thomas Moore wrote about the heart and soul of a garden. As I pondered these words, I started to consider the analogy that the emotional heart could be symbolized as a garden, as well.
When I visualize my Heart's garden, I see an old English garden with low stone walls, a beautiful entrance, beautiful vine-covered archways a variety of plants, trees, bushes, colors, smells, butterflies, bees, birds, babbling brooks, and cozy places to sit for contemplation and relaxation. It is a haven from the outside world. A place for rest, regeneration, and peace. The walls provide a beautiful boundary.
Weeds might symbolize toxic relationships (intimate, personal, workplace, family, etc) or harboring past hurts. I can imagine that trauma, betrayal, abandonment, shame, or guilt can resemble the vining weeds that choke out beauty and soul. Anger, resentments, and hatred feel like the thorny thistles weeds that require leather gloves, a shovel, and the determination for complete removal.
As in any garden, weeding is a constant necessity and takes persistence, otherwise, weeds can grow out of control and take over entire areas. Is this what I want for my heart? To allow it to be choked by vining weeds or feel the prickles by the ugly thistle weeds? Over time, I have learned what this feels like, and while I have learned to let go of toxic relationships, guilt, shame, and resentment, I know that this process will be a continuous work in progress, necessitating awareness of what I allow into my Heart’s garden. The low stone walls are not only decorative but also provide boundaries. Only I can determine who is allowed into my heart’s space.
Of course, when appropriately tended, the beautiful flowers, bushes, and trees flourish and expand, naturally preventing weeds from growing in abundance. What does proper tending look like for the emotional heart? For me it is:
time to notice the positive and beauty of each day
regular yoga practice
reading inspirational books and articles
time with Charlie
being with family
having fun with my husband
being with people who are uplifting, encouraging, supportive, and inspiring
riding my motorcycle as much as possible
eating good, delicious food
and noticing the abundance of joy
When I am mindful of my heart's garden, even if it is just for a few moments at a time, I gain more tranquility and further increase my ability to let go of the toxic weeds.
While the nourishment of your heart's garden may look different, I would encourage everyone to see the positives and beauty of each day. Beauty encourages resilience, patience, creativity, and peace. Then choose activities that feed your soul and provide opportunities for peace and mindfulness (even if it just for a few minutes at a time). The blessing is a freer mind to notice more beauty and fun, creating an upward spiral of well being.
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