If you, me were hungry, without food we would appreciate it more.
We are all hungry, starving in many ways and may not realize it. Not know what is missing. The cure is an inside job.
Growing up on a Maine farm, my family like earlier generations knew the art of producing food for others.
Everything in farming dependent on factors outside our work ethic like weather, the market. Our skills to plant, cultivate, harvest a new crop each year meant possessing perseverance, discipline, plenty of hope.
For everything there is a season. And like the Red Sox, a new schedule to plant again meant newness, an opportunity to begin again fresh. But your own personal garden requires a different approach than large fields mass producing food. It’s special, personal, spiritual. Not growing just one crop like potatoes and a give it a rest rotation crop of grain. Lots of things have to be planted in that personal home garden. Tended, cared for and guided like a marriage. Or raising a family with kind, loving care. To provide needed home grown nourishment for your family table.
Food to feast on that you bow your head and appreciate, are grateful for and say blessings over not just at a handful of special holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter.
Unlike third world impoverished countries, we don’t all really appreciate the bounty of food that shows up three times or more a day in this country. Most of us have never gone without, been truly empty, hungry.
For starters, similar to your life, our personal gardens begin with preparing the soil to provide the foundation to build on. Like your home, healthy safe clean warm loving surroundings for the seed everything starts with just like you and me to germinate and eventually take root. Shoot skyward. We all need to keep looking upward.
To teach your kids to put the time in to tending their own personal gardens someday. To make them have daily pauses built in to their busy schedules. For priorities to get their hearts, minds, souls open for the same kind of needed nourishment for peace, contentment, love. To see what a labor of pure love for others looks like, demonstrated. The best part of a personal garden is giving the abundance of produce away to others to enjoy too.
There needs to be love shown inside not just outside the home. So your children have plenty of good clean water to drink, wash and bath with for cleansing. Lots of essential fertilizer applied in encouragement, guidance, affirmation and tough love to make sure they do more than just survive but prosper. Are grateful, cheerful, not boastful, not selfish and realize their purpose to serve others while here on Earth. Through out their lives to share their talents, skills, abilities to make the community, their homes, the world around them a better place. We need each other, learn and love together.
The sunshine in your home, like your personal garden is critical for the seeds, everything to start germinating. To sprout, to kick start the beginning of their life cycle. Removing rocks that Jack Frost creates a new crop of yearly means your life personal gardening does not get easier with practice. But you get stronger from experiences, good and bad. To weather the storms and develop a deeper meaning, appreciation in your life. If you are not busy living, you are dying.
Grass, thorns, golden rod, thistle weeds can choke, retard a garden so not having too big, a too demanding, expansive one that you can not manage is crucial.
To provide a sod free, smooth fine dirt bed to plant the seeds. And like kids that are as different as snowflakes, some seeds need more special attention. Greater spacing in the garden when planting to have the critical room to become productive, to prosper and do well. To have value, worth.
Like in life that you need to have physicals and annual job reviews to see how you are doing, your personal garden needs the same deep examination. To plan where the seeds you are going to plant go. To establish an order, a blueprint priority of what is important. To develop a balance so the entire garden like your life is being fed what it needs to produce a healthy supply of produce. Like a rich, fulfilling life of service to others. Love and kindness demonstrated with a gentle spirit.
And in that personal garden that you spend time daily on your knees tending, that you make a priority for your mental, physical, spiritual health, other things need to be introduced to protect it. Marigolds, scarecrows, hanging plastic swinging owls and fencing is needed to guard it from predators, invasions, destruction. Keeping things that are not going to help that garden out means constant monitoring. Vigilance to make sure it stays healthy.
Basking in the sunshine and you with the watering can, adding the right mix of encouraging fertilizer side dressed to increase the size, yield of the potential all of us like fruit and vegetables have. And maybe don’t learn about our skills until late in the gardening game. It is never too late to catch up. It is sad that some never get in the garden.
Is your personal garden like the rest of your emphasis in life put out front and showy, impressive to call attention to it with grandness?
Large and opulent with hired gardeners, fountains spurting and picture perfect manicured? Or tucked away out of sight, small, humble and placed in a quiet, hidden protective spot so you can be alone tending it without public attention?
As you listen to the small still voice inside your heart, mind, soul. That mixes in with the sounds of song birds, buzzing bees. As delicate butterflies float and land on the plant next to you. While you move forward to prune, transplant crowded vegetables needing your attention to other locations to have their better place in the sun. To provide them a better home that fosters growth, fruit, a purpose for nourishment to be enjoyed by someone else.
Garden seed spacing, elbow room, not crowded or too jammed in. So the garden will have the proper seedling spacing. For the greater good of the entire garden to maximize its return in food return. That you ultimately share with others. That is one demonstrated random act of kindness, love. Feeding someone who is hungry, needy. Watch their eyes light up when big shiny green peppers, large red juicy, earthy beef stake tomatoes, a baker’s dozen ears of farm fresh corn gets delivered by you to their home. Left with a kind note and smiley face.
You get it. You lift your head and see what others without gardens, not on their knees daily miss.
Shoppers too hurried that zip in and out of automatic doors. Frantically filling expensive carts with genetically altered, sprayed and gassed with who knows what food from who knows where. That is food purchased at the tail end of the movie from outside. Those folks miss the entire excercise of being on your knees, the struggle with pests, weather, bristering son and hard driving winds, rains. The same kind your life gets tested with to see what you are made up. That improve you.
You are raising home grown food that develops slowly, watching it grow on the vine. Trained, tended, watered and hoed by you for you, your family. And shared with other local folks who appreciate, need the rich in essential vitamins and nutrients produce to survive and live another day.
Like people soils are different too.
Some of us are more dedicated in our daily gardening routine. Work harder daily to prepare out inner personal garden “soil”. To produce better growing conditions for inner peace, contentment, joy, humility, humbleness, meekness. Thinking of others makes these types of gardeners better servants. To clearly see their purpose, talents, skills and abilities in this short life on planet Earth.
The best part of your personal garden you raise from start to finish is giving away the excess produce. The vegetables, fruit, flowers that you gladly deliver to others around you to enjoy is the best part. Kindness, sharing, reaching out to others and revealing more of yourselves is what happens if you start, keep working and developing your own personal bountiful garden.
Some seedlings like people are higher maintenance, a little finicky, stubborn and more delicate.
I am one of those but realize it now and working to improve. Requiring more individual time, love, kindness, understanding from others around me. Other plants like folks you know develop late in the season of life. And do needless damage that can not be taken back but that does not have to continue when we finally get it.
I have learned much today I could have benefited from earlier in my life. To avoid some of the pitfalls, mistakes that I was blind to see. The people I hurt blindly. Usually from busyness or not spending daily time, on my knees that I can only get in my simple, spiritual personal garden experience. Get a seed catalog. Till that plot of dirt you own.
Share the food and what you learn while growing it in that garden out back.
Then get off your knees, stand up and be willing to be an open book to others. Stop hiding, wearing a mask, running. Quit trying to run your own life alone and turn it over to God. Freely testifying for others to learn the lessons you encounter in your personal gardening experience. So others struggling can see why. So others can avoid some of the same mistakes you were not warned about. Or just were not listening to the cues. You can only change you.
You find you are never truely alone in your personal garden either. And your spiritual pantry, root cellar of the real treasure in life will fill to overflowing with pure love and joy if you are willing to get your hands dirty. So you eventually consider whatever happens to you is all joy. Taking nothing for granted. And learning to let go, trust something outside yourself to guide your life. Your kids are watching. They need to know what to do, how to live their lives from your shining example. Or on their own without it if missing.
They say some people are harder to love.
The expression is that hurt people hurt people and that many folks retreat, build walls to keep others away defensively. And to maintain loving relationships comes harder because they need more time alone. To be in that personal garden alone to see, hear, learn. To eventually understand more about the lighted path to a special, sacred place of unity, oneness in relationships. Take it to that next level that is just before the “best is yet to come stage” that only a long relationship of triumphs and setbacks can produce.
Don’t you want that kind of deeper comittment and to grow closer with someone? You have to be willing to trust, open up, be vulnerable and surrender. In the garden is where you learn to do that. To be less self assured, self contained and so tightly wrapped, unavailable. Not wearing the public mask that does not reflect what is carried around in your heart.
The mailman who calls me “Slim” brought me my garden seed catalogs this week.
I plant it alone this year with empty nest syndrome sinking in. But I am excited, know the size I can handle to enjoy it, get produce from it. And have the horse model Troy Bilt rototiller I inherited from my parents all serviced, ready to fire up. It will definitely be smaller than the family garden the last few years. I have learned my limitations. Easy does it.
The rototiller put through its paces to prepare the soil with the garden I already have thought out, planted in my head. Each plant seed or seedling needs its own individual spacing and depth. You will learn what to do next spring if you get it wrong and notice the mistakes this fall during harvest too. Each spring is a new season to start again, but armed with what you learned from previous gardens you sow and reap from in your life.
Roll up your sleeves, be willing to be vulnerable, open and honest about your fears, weaknesses as you head to your personal garden.
The work out will show you much about yourself, how you are built and why. And where long over due changes are blaringly visible like over grown neglected weed sections that need your attention. Because your kids are watching and need to learn they must plant gardens of their own. And how they need to be tended, watched over and sheperded so they don’t get out of control. Or are not fruitful to be enjoyed by others you love and care about around you. No man is an island.