I have learned many lessons in my garden over the years. Let me share a few.
Pruning is necessary for growth. I will never forget the first time I had someone come and prune our apricot tree when we lived in California. He came while I was at work and when I got home, I rushed out to the yard to check it out. I was devastated by what little remained of my beautiful tree-it felt like there was only the trunk left. My husband assured me that the pruner knew what he was doing and to be patient. Fast forward a few months and we were harvesting apricots the size of peaches! It was the best fruit we had ever gotten. We too must sometimes endure “pruning”. Initially it may feel like we have been crushed and will not recover. Almost without exception however, we rise more beautiful, stronger, and more determined than ever!
We need to find our “right place”. I planted a small Japanese Maple tree shortly after we moved into our current house 18 years ago. It was battered by strong winds and over time I nearly lost it. I trimmed the dead wood out and thought it was just in shock and would make a comeback. I was about to throw it out when the thought came to me to plant it in a more sheltered location. It struggled for a few more years, and I pruned it again and again. This year it is vibrant and beautiful! I just had to find the “right place” so it could really grow! We too need to find our “right place” where we can flourish. I would love to be able to sing beautifully, but this is not for me! I excel in the kitchen and the garden and love to create an inviting home – this seems to be my “right place”. I have learned to try new things, but not to focus on those things that do not come naturally to me.
Consistency brings beautiful results. I “walk the yard” every morning to cool down after my time in the sauna. I look for weeds, dead-head flowers, and remove anything that doesn’t look right. This allows me to spend 30-45 minutes each day beautifying my yard. It looks good throughout the growing season. I also use this time to reflect on the day ahead. What do I want to accomplish? Who do I need to call? What is the top priority? Having this time in the morning sets the mode for a consistently productive day.
Don’t allow the undesirable to take root. Occasionally, in spite of my daily walks in the yard, I miss a weed. By the time I notice it, it has taken root and requires a small shovel if I have any hope of getting the root. When I get them early, a small tug removes the weed root and all. This is like our own lives. If we are not constantly evaluating how we spend our time, what our priorities are, if activities are helping us to become better – we may allow things that are not serving us well to take “root”. Once we develop a bad habit, it is much harder to remove it from our lives.
Plan ahead. Before I planted anything in my yard, I had to remove most of what was already there. Then I had a landscaper draw up my plans, and only then, did I begin to plant beautiful things to my heart’s content. I learned in my yard in California that when you don’t have a plan for the whole yard, you end up digging things out as your vision expands. Doing it that way wastes a lot of time and money! Ask yourself where you want to be a year from now and formulate a plan to get there! Planning ahead is my key to success in every area of my life.
Patience is worth developing. Just as I was patient with my Japanese Maple and finally have a great result, gardening takes lots of patience. I always cut things back and wait to see what happens before I tear something completely out. Planting a seed requires patience as we wait for the first signs of life. This is a particularly hard lesson for me. Ask me when I want something and the answer is always, “Yesterday”. Learning to be patient with myself is definitely one of my greatest challenges, but my garden is a constant reminder of patience paying off and such a great life lesson.
Re-evaluate! I often sit in different locations in my yard and just take it all in. I evaluate what I like, what doesn’t quite look right, what needs to be added or removed to make things look better. Our lives are much the same. We head off in a direction, pursuing something new, and sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. Often it is necessary to adjust our pursuits for something better. Don’t hesitate to rip something out of your life if it is overtaking every other good thing in your life. Always choose the best and most rewarding things to pursue!
I hope you will use your time to “find your place”. Choose the best things that bring you joy! Be consistent and don’t sweat the “pruning” that is sure to come. It always brings out the best in you! I am so grateful for each one of you and the way you bring joy and happiness to my life! Thank you for being a part of my life!