When I realized I would be home by myself a lot due to teleworking and the New Jersey Stay at Home Order, I decided to put some energy behind tending to a balcony garden of potted plants as a distraction from anxiety attacks.
I’ve never been much of a gardener. When I lived in a single home in the past, the bunnies used to eat all of my plants. Those adorable little gangsters caused me a good bit of frustration. I eventually gave up gardening until this attempt at a potted garden on my balcony. My experience so far has been encouraging. However, I already have a few lessons learned.
First, Mid March is too early to plant anything – even a potted garden. The herbs are really growing great so they may be ok any time of the year inside. Spinach is a cold weather plant and is doing really well too. The Kale is growing fine but Lettuce… Oh my goodness, the Lettuce is not being cooperative. I may try to grow Lettuce from seeds in cell trays and then transplant them into the bigger pots. That’s a weekend project.
Second, it’s windy on my balcony. I live in a beach front condo on the seventh floor. My unit is on a corner so it gets the wind in two directions. It can be windy on the balcony even on warm days. We’ve also had a lot of storms lately. It’s been very changeable weather. One day it’s sunny and next it’s a wind storm out there. The plants are getting beat up outside on the balcony. I find myself bringing them inside a lot. I don’t like to do that because they bring bugs with them but my little seedlings are looking a bit depressed from being blown around. So, I will live with bugs to watch the seeds I planted grow.
The most important thing I’ve learned from these plants is that good things take time. It took time, water and a little sun for the seeds to push through the soil. I am happy to see seeds I planted grow but I am also not attached to them. I’ve learned to love without attachments. I am not looking to be perfect with these plants. I just want the experience of tending to them. If the Lettuce does not want to grow, it’s ok. I will give it one more shot, perhaps, then let it go. It’s really about act of tending to the plants that helps manage my anxiety. Harvesting and being able to eat what I grow is a big bonus but not my main objective in this activity.
I read the below passage by Khalil Gibran earlier today. I think it’s just beautiful. Fear often holds us back from becoming who we are meant to be. Just as a seedling can’t go back to being a seed once it pokes through the soil, we can’t go back to being who we were in the past or stay who we are today because we are afraid.
So today I encourage you to breathe through the fears and become the ocean…
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