“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness’. Jon Kabat Zinn
“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” Gertrude Jekyll
Have you ever felt out of control? Have you woken to your new day and feel as if time is just slipping away and there are just too many things to do? Or, have you been asked to do things and you’ve agreed even though you may have to set aside one of your own obligations to meet the request?
I’m sure we’ve all had those moments. We’ve all had those hurried days where they seem endless. These days pass by without joy or meaning.
This is when we need to learn to cultivate our own garden.
Cultivate is defined as a way to improve by labor or study. It is to advance, to grow to refine and improve. This includes cultivating talents and knowledge.
Cultivating your life means to take your time and to understand the value of time.
It means not taking shortcuts, not multitasking. (This one was a hard lesson for me. Dearest always told me that we couldn’t multi-task and I’d fire back that I could). Not really. I couldn’t half give to a task or to people and do what I was doing well.
Focus on one thing at a time.
My mind battles with me on this one. I can have thoughts and ideas pop into my head while doing something causing me to think that this something was more important and urgent. They rarely are. The best thing to do is to write it down and add it to your calendar for a better time.
Do what you do completely and be in the moment – be present with yourself and with your task.
If your task is simply walking with a friend or loved one – be present.
Time is not money…it is all the elements that come together to make your life.
Because of this you need to invest your time in what is personally relevant and meaningful.
Take time for yourself.
I was always known for putting other people first. Neglecting care of yourself is not virtuous and it is not a good example to your family.
Create rituals for yourself to take care of yourself. These are things you do to tend your own garden. That is personal care. Regularly wash your face, brush your teeth, wash your hair, get enough rest, eat well, drink plenty of water, and get plenty of rest. All these things are essential to caring for yourself. By doing this you create a beautiful mindset for yourself and are better able to do those important things for others.
Being mindful in the care of yourself demonstrates how you see yourself and how you carry yourself.
Tend your personal garden with dedication by taking care of yourself in both large and small things gives you the opportunity to be healthy and free to take care of others. It’s important to focus on the essentials of life.
Mindfulness means knowing when to speak and when not to.
It means learning to mind our own business and thinking before speaking. If you need to speak at all. It is about learning to be discreet.
Discretion should be a part of every aspect of your life. Discretion is a filter. It is a screen by which you make decisions that influence every area of your life from what you wear to how you spend your time.
Remember to take your time when necessary.
‘Life is deep and complex and has its roots in fundamental things – honor time’,
When we make decisions we make decisions about how we will use our time. Time is fleeting and short…the memories we make, however are long and are long-lived.
Cultivate your surroundings.
Just like tending a garden, it’s important for us to continually edit our environment. Surround yourself only with those things that have meaning and purpose. All else will only clutter your life.
“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris
Truly, less is more. It’s more important to invest in quality than to have numerous lesser quality items that have no meaning or value.
In limiting what you have in your surroundings, you elevate simplicity.
Limit what you have to what has meaning or use to you or evokes memory. Everything should have a place and everything should be put back in its place. This also applies to making sure everything is done in its place. When you’re at work – work…when you’re at home…that’s where you express yourself, relax and play.
Cultivating your life also includes cultivating your mind.
You should always endeavor to learn something new. This is a wonderful way to invest in yourself and to be an encouragement to others.
As you’re learning more you’re able to share more and to contribute in quite a variety of ways.
To cultivate your life is a love of excellence and a way to live a very gracious life.
While cultivating your garden by caring for yourself, by being discreet, by editing your environment and by educating yourself, don’t forget to enjoy the simple moments in life. Find pleasure in the beauty that is around you. It is a good thing to learn to appreciate the ordinary things in life. Life is full of textures, sounds, sights and some with a bit of patina – a sense of time.
The Proverbs 31 woman is a great example of one who cultivates her private garden. She took great care of herself, her family and did those things that enriched hers and her family’s life. We are each unique. We are each gifted with different appearances, personalities, and talents. How we cultivate our lives – how we exercise our talents is not only our gift to God, to others but also to ourselves.