The Soil of the Soul: Nurturing Your Inner Garden

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Think of yourself as a garden

Have you ever thought of yourself as a garden? It may seem strange, but follow me on this thought.

Your mind is like a garden, your hobbies, habits, and routines are like plants, and your thoughts are like the water and sunlight you give your plants to grow. 

When the plants are tended to, the garden flourishes. When the plants are neglected, the garden suffers. You, as the gardener, are responsible for the success of the garden. You choose what grows and the level of care the plants receive. When invasive weeds (such as negative thoughts) pop up, it’s your job to manage them. If an infestation (like a depressed mindset) develops, you need to address it; the longer you wait, the greater the problem will become. 

Now you can see that you have more in common with a garden than you initially thought. So, how do you nourish the soil of your soul?

Nourishing the soil of your soul

Your soil is the foundation of your garden. The quality of soil and amount of nutrients present determines the health of your plants, if they can get what they need to grow and flower, and if wildlife can be sustained. In the perfect garden, the soil is rich, the plants are strong, and the wildlife has healthy sources of food (some people consider wildlife to be enemies of their garden; for me, gardening is about life coming together in a balanced way). 

Where do the nutrients in soil come from? Believe it or not, they come from “what has come before.” Dead leaves, old sticks, grass clippings, and compost are full of the nutrients necessary to healthy soil, and they pass them onto the soil as they decompose. This is why it drives me mad when I see plastic bags of raked leaves on my neighbors’ lawns, left out to be picked up by the trash collectors. By taking away the leaves, we take away a key source of the soil’s health! And, insects and critters need the leafy environment over winter to prepare for spring. 

Anyway, soil is constantly building upon itself in the cycle of life. The old becomes the new, and this is what happens with us. 

Think of all of your experiences, positive and negative, as the dead leaves, sticks and compost that nourishes soil. You can learn from your past experiences and use those lessons to grow in the future – the same way your food scraps as compost support the plants in your garden. 

If you want to nourish the soil of your soil, pay attention to the choices you make and the experiences they yield. Learn from those experiences, and use them to guide your choices in the future. Turn every experience into a lesson, and your soil is sure to be nutrient-rich and healthy. 

Using your soil for continued growth

With a healthy foundation, you can focus on your plants. What do you want to grow in the garden of your mind? Kindness, patience, and positivity are good “seeds” to plant. Seeds of negativity are likely to take over your garden and stunt your overall growth, so I recommend doing your best to keep these out of your soil. 

Remember – your plants grow together, just like your mind, body, and spirit. Plant seeds of dedication to your well-being, resilience in the face of challenges, and perseverance to finding solutions to problems that develop. The seeds you plant and the sprouts that ensue represent the person you want to be and the level of well-being you seek to maintain. 

As you tend to these growing seeds, remember to continue nourishing your soil with the lessons of your experience so your soil is constantly getting new nutrients. After a plant absorbs nutrients from the soil, the soil needs new nutrients for future plants. 

A good practice for learning lessons from your experience is journaling. Write down what you learn from your experiences so you always have them to review, and I bet you’ll find a new lesson in each experience as time goes on!

The benefits of a vibrant garden

By tending to the garden within, you set yourself up for success in mind, body, and spirit. You will notice that you are less intimidated by challenges because you are energized, confident, and motivated. You will have improved relationships with those around you because you are focusing on positivity, which yields patience for others. Have you ever noticed how people are drawn to genuine positivity like moths to a light?

If more of us took the time to tend to the gardens within, I think we would have fewer problems in the world, happier people, and a healthier planet. Thankfully, this reality is more than possible. It starts with us, and it starts now.

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