The Wanna-Be Gardner

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This early morning, I sit on my back porch, drinking my first cup of coffee. My 7 month old daughter is playing at my feet. I watch hummingbirds buzz by, listen to the birds as they chat, and breathe in the fresh morning air. I truly enjoy my backyard. 

As I sit, setting my intentions for the day, I am interrupted. Not by my small daughter, but by thoughts of judgement that come to mind as I gaze at my yard. I am a wanna-be backyard horticulturalist. I LOVE flowers, and my mother has the greenest thumb of anyone I know. However, I am a new mom, with a new business, and these flowers have not given me the grace I need at this season of life. 

I stare at the weeds that have intruded, the potted plants that are severely suffering, the once- beautiful flowers that have been eaten by rabbits, and I cannot help but feel guilty.

My mind begins to spin.

"I need to pull weeds."

"I need to water."

"I need to figure something out about these rabbits!"

Suddenly, the calm that I was hoping for is over and my to-do-list begins. The feeling of guilt takes over, and I no longer enjoy my porch. Even feeling the guilt makes me feel more guilty, and my moment of mindfulness have been replaced with anxiety.

So, how do I reclaim morning moments of joy?

1. Let go of the story. 

Instead of clinging to the "to-dos" and the "I shoulds," I accept who I am and what is. Yes, my garden isn't perfect, but that doesn't mean I'm a bad gardener. It means I am busy with other things in this season of life. It is proof that I have two precious, sweet daughters that ask for my time. That I have a new business that I am passionate about. That I have a husband who I like sitting on the couch with as we binge watch our favorite TV show.

 So, I let it be. When that happens, I am able to let go of the story and enjoy the present, just as it is.

2. Find the good.

Heather Lende wrote a wonderful book about finding the good in the small things in life and it rings so true to me. 

She notes, “The world is full of happiness, and plenty to go round, if you are only willing to take the kind that comes your way. Which is a roundabout way” 

So, instead of trying to achieve the picture of perfection I have in my mind, I take the happiness that comes my way. As that happens, the, albeit messy, present moment becomes more and more inviting, and I sit and let that meditation flow over me.

3. Give yourself grace.

I realize that, instead of seeking the imperfections, I have the ability to give myself grace. Grace is a wonderful gift, a breath of fresh air, and, by giving it to myself, I am breaking free. By letting go of who I should be and accepting who I am, I give myself permission to mess up and still be happy. To still enjoy my porch.

4. Breathe.

Deeeeeep breaths. Cleansing breaths. As I slowly and fully inhale and exhale, the problems become manageable. The worry settles, and I soak in all that is around me. My perspective changes and I revel in the beauty of imperfections and not having it all together.

I count my breaths and, before I know it, the joy I find in sitting, sipping my coffee, and feeling the warm sun on my face as it rises, returns. 

Emily Behr