Mindfulness in the Garden
“Wherever you are, be there totally.”
Amidst the chaos and clutter of today’s world, it seems like the thought on everyone’s mind is how to find a sense of peace and calm. Everyone’s got their thing, whether it’s watching the latest ASMR video or attending a yoga class, we’re all just looking for a little peace of mind. That’s what mindfulness is all about – and your garden may just be the perfect place to find it.
What is Mindfulness?
Stemming from roots in Buddhism, mindfulness comes from a practice of getting in touch with the mind, body, and soul. Before you start picturing sitting criss-cross-applesauce down in the mud, chanting “ohms”, it’s important to note that this isn’t your average meditation. Rather than trying to clear your mind of all thoughts, mindfulness encourages the deliberate acknowledgement of everything around you, instead.
Mindfulness is attempting to reach a state of total awareness of the self – inside and out – to fully engage with and enjoy the world around you, relieving stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts as you go. I know, I know, that’s a LOT, but I’m not talking about finding the meaning of life or unlocking your brain’s true capacity, and we’re certainly not talking about achieving Nirvana here. It’s literally as simple as just stopping and smelling the roses.
A Mindful Garden:
Studies have been documenting the calming and relaxing effect of nature and the garden for years. They’ve even found chemical and biological explanations in the soil for why getting down in the dirt makes us feel better. As a naturally calming environment, that makes your garden a just plain logical fit for a space to practice mindfulness.
Our gardens are a place of calm amongst the craziness of everything happening around us. While we’re busy worrying about work deadlines and after school activities, our plants are just existing – soaking up the sun and the rain, basking in life. That’s what mindfulness is, so we can really learn a thing or two about it from our plants.
Mindful Gardening Exercises:
Getting started with practising mindfulness in the garden is as easy as taking your time. Don’t give yourself a time limit or a goal when going into it. Instead, just prepare yourself to get lost in the wild wonder of your outdoor oasis.
Ground yourself. Before you dive into the garden, take a moment to mentally prepare yourself to get swept away. Don’t rush. Step outside, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and just focus on yourself. What do you feel like? What do you hear? What do you smell? Slowly take yourself through all the motions. It’s better than drinking chamomile tea, trust me.
Lose yourself in the flow. If weeding needs to be done, really focus on every detail. Look at the weed and discover more about it. Feel the resistance from the roots clinging to the ground as you pull. If you’re pruning, really feel the sensation of the shears cutting through the leaves. Allow yourself to be totally involved in what you’re doing in the present. Remember, today’s a gift. That’s why they call it the present.
Indulge your senses. Take yourself through them all – smell, sight, touch, tastes, and sounds – and really feel them. Listen to the wind rustling through the leaves. Taste the sweet sourness of that freshly picked raspberry. Feel the sun touching every pore of your skin. It’s a lot to take in, so just give yourself the time you need to get lost in it.
Give up control. In our everyday lives, there is so much that we are in charge of controlling and our gardens are definitely one of them. We want plants that are thriving and beautiful, free from pests and diseases, even if that means strictly controlling their environment as much as we can. Problem is? Nature is one environment we can’t control. Our plants are living and dying and going through the motions of life all around us, and that’s a pretty cool thing to witness all in one space. Very grounding, too.
Mindfulness is all about existing in your body in this moment that is happening right now and what better place to practice it than your garden? It’s a place of peace and tranquillity and right out there in nature for you to soak in the sun, fresh air, and all the life that’s happening around you. Just go out, get lost in it, and really take it all in for a sense of peace and calm unlike any other.