A lot of people extract life lessons from the hobbies they are passionate about. “All you need to know about life is in the game of golf”…or surfing…or fishing. For me, life analogies spring from my love for gardening. Gardening is a treasure trove of lessons on self-betterment, wise living and perhaps even the question, is there life after death?
I think it was GK Chesterton who provided the analogy that humans are like trees- with roots in the ground and branches in the air. How true this is, with our physical nature as a carbon based life form but our spirits interacting (photosynthesizing) with the ether – be that a life force in general or, for the less spiritually inclined, simply the invisible electrical forces that potentiate every aspect of our brains and nervous systems.
Another lesson in gardening is the interconnection of worlds. I remember hearing a program on Nova, years back that was a broadcast on the music of the stars. Literally, it was a kind of humming or buzzing sound. At the time, I was working on an estate garden in Ireland and thinking about the program of the night before while I was weeding away. All of a sudden, a swarm of bees was lazily buzzing around my spot and, gosh darnit, it sounded exactly like star buzzing. It was one of those lifes moments of feeling COMPLETELY CONNECTED that was unforgettable.
It is obvious to the point of cliché that the practice of weeding gardens is a great analogy for each of us noticing and rooting out weeds in our character, then supplanting them with more desirable traits. One doesn’t have to be a monk tending a monastic garden to see that in gardening, one is also cultivating one’s own spirit in the process. And that a sense of personal beauty and satisfaction, a garden, emerges from the practice of personal discipline.
These are just a few thoughts that getting down and dirty in the garden can inspire about life. Next article, we will delve into how the garden can guide entrepreneurial endeavors.