Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower. ~ Shigenori Kameoka
We are slowly emerging from the dark, cold depths of winter and getting ready to embrace the beauty that comes with spring. Symbolically, spring represents a time for new beginnings. Depending on where you live in the world, you may be seeing new signs of life.
With new beginnings comes planning, planting and tending to the garden. And as I make preparations to plant seeds for my garden, I can’t help but recognize how caring for these new seedlings is a lot like the love and care needed when tending to our personal dreams.
Each of you has dreams inside you that are waiting to be manifested. And just like your garden, it is up to YOU to recognize the dreams deep within your heart, to create a strong foundation for them to grow, and to nourish them daily so they can thrive and flourish.
Practices to Create the Best Growing Conditions for Your Dreams
Clear & Prepare
When planting a garden you must clear away the weeds and prepare the soil for new growth. The same goes for your own life. Clearing away physical, mental and emotional clutter makes space for new things, thoughts and feelings. So take time this spring to clean out the closets, organize your cupboards, donate items you no longer use, and let go of the thoughts and behaviors that no longer serve a purpose in your life. The more clutter you clear, the more peace and clarity you will find. And being clear about your dreams gets you halfway to actualizing them!
Be Still & Breathe
Life is moving by at a rapid pace and sometimes we truly do forget to stop and smell the flowers. Slow down and find quiet space throughout your day. Whether it’s sweeping the floor, folding the clothes, sitting in meditation, taking a bath, or walking out in nature, you can find stillness by reconnecting to your breath in these moments. Take some deep, slow inhales and full, slow exhales. Notice the quality of your breath. Enjoying this stillness and letting go of the distractions in your day will reconnect you to what truly matters.
Become an Observer
When planting a garden you must tend to it daily. Notice what’s growing, what isn’t seeing the sun, what needs more water and tender loving care. What dreams and personal interests aren’t being cared for in your own life? Start to observe your inner voice and stop long enough to really listen. The more you practice listening to your intuition, the more trust you will build to follow its lead.
Play and Explore
Caring for a garden is a lot of work, but it shouldn’t be all work and no play! Planting, pulling weeds and seeing the results of that hard work can be lots of FUN and it gets you outside! Taking the lead from our children, being light at heart, staying connected to nature and playing more often, helps us tap into that curiosity and wonder – the place where the seeds of our dreams live.
Create & Get Messy
When you choose to plant a garden you get to decide what you will plant. Will this be a flower garden and if so, what kinds and colors will you choose? Or are you going to plant a vegetable garden and what kinds of creative meals will you make with this vibrant, fresh food? The act of creating is a practice in letting go of perfect, in getting messy and in exploring new ideas. Whether it’s digging in the dirt or playing with paint, find outlets that you enjoy and carve out a little time each day to express your creativity.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a garden journal offers you a place to learn from past mistakes, as you document your growing conditions and keep track of what worked and what didn’t. Writing from your heart can work in the same way. You are more likely to notice patterns that tend to repeat themselves in your life when you write them down. This type of reflection is a powerful way to gain clarity and is a very freeing practice. A journal can offer you a safe place to share your feelings, explore your dreams, and find the wisdom it takes to make those dreams real.
I’m really new to gardening. In fact, last year was my first real experience with starting seedlings and caring for a garden all spring and summer. We started with a 10 x 10 foot space and had so much fun that we are expanding to a 10 x 25 foot on our community garden plot. We had great success with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and beets. We struggled with watermelon and failed miserably with peas. Had we not taken risks by trying new things we would never have learned what changes we need to make this year. So apply this same idea to your dreams. I bet there’s a dream or two living within you that is ready to emerge, but you might be feeling some resistance or fear around them. Allow yourself to take more healthy risks, especially if they are scary, and watch your confidence and courage reach for the sun.
Connect & Find Support
There are so many experienced gardeners and green thumb gurus out there — so don’t think you have to tend to your garden alone! Sometimes we can feel isolated and think we are the only ones having these feelings or experiences. Reach out to a friend or local group that can help you stay connected and build power in your dreams. Maybe that means joining a new knitting group, or starting an art night with your friends. There are tons of supportive, wonderful communities online, too. (I’ve created an online community through an e-course I teach. If you are interested in checking it out, please email me for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.) Connecting, sharing and relating with other like-minded souls is a wonderful way to ensure our dreams expand and grow beyond measure.
So as you embrace the change of seasons, take time to reflect on what seeds and dreams want to be planted this year. Create the best conditions that will support this new growth and allow your garden and your heart to open, expand and flourish. Start with the best foundation and tend to your seeds and dreams daily, and one day in the near future you will get to sit back and relish in their beauty.
Shannon Kinney-Duh is celebrating 8 years of marriage this year, and is the mother of two boys (3 years and 4 months). She’s an artist, yoga teacher & self-discovery coach and considers herself an explorer of life. She can’t wait to dig in the dirt this spring with her boys. You can learn more about her by visiting her blog, Free Spirit Knits.