Happiness Challenge Day 5

Today’s prompt has me confused. Garden. Is it the noun or the been? What are we talking about here? I feel like this could have been a little more detailed. Oh well.

I like that garden is on here for a happiness challenge. I hate that it’s November. No gardening in an actual garden will be taking place today.

But I do love gardens. Herb, veggie, flower. Big or small. It doesn’t matter to me. I love gardens.

It goes back to the art subject. Gardening is creating. You’re either creating food, medicine, or beauty.

Gardening is definitely a thing of creation. Whearher you’re doing it for the beauty of the flowers or food and medicine for your family and friends you’re using it to create.

And there really is something therapeutic about creation. There’s a whole practice called grounding. You make an physical connection with the Earth. A lot of people do it barefoot by going outside and walking. Some lie on the ground. Others just sit and lean forward, resting their heads on the dirt. They choose what works for them and do it. And the concept is the Earth helps absorb negative and excess energy running through your body. I know it sounds like wackadoo stuff. Actually, it’s a huge thing in my belief system. It’s the whole Mother Earth concept. The Earth heals us if we take the time to connect with her.

If you live where I live, though, going outside barefoot is not particularly a pleasant experience. Between the ants and the potential snake, you really don’t want to be outside barefoot. I’ve been told that there are tarantulas and scorpions around here. It’s not my idea of relaxing or calming or anything spiritual. It’s a nightmare. Top that off with the human debris in the dirt. It’s not unusual to find nails and bits of plumbing tools lying around. Going barefoot is a bad choice.

Plus depending on what the weather is you might regret every choice you made that led up to the moment you decided to walk barefoot in the cold, wet outdoors. Today is Monday and in true Monday fashion, it’s raining. They’re talking about snow by Wednesday. I’m going to tell you right now under no circumstances will I be barefoot outside in the snow. I don’t like snow. I’m not going outside. I don’t want to; you can’t make me.

But I get the concept of getting out into nature and grounding. It’s nice to disconnect feom technology. If you’ve been on Facebook lately you’d realize the hot mess that is the world. I don’t know if it’s actually the full world or just our little corner of it. We are one day away from elections and I think I need to get off my social media platforms for the time being. Even YouTube is like that right now. The political ads, fear-mongering, and hate speech on my kid’s favorite videos are becoming problematic. When your five year old asks what dark money is, it’s time for a technology purge. And it’s not just one party over the other. There’s not one side who is doing this more than the other. They’re both doing it. They’re both terrible. It’s a hot, swampy mess. There’s so much pain and fear on social media. And when you’re doing a happiness challenge that can impede your progress.

Remember that part I said about making sure that you don’t surround yourself with assholes before you diagnose yourself with depression? Plants and gardens aren’t just vegetables and herbs and flowers. Our lives are gardens. What you’re planting is what’s going to grow.

And there are so many people out there who are planting weeds. That’s weeds with an s. That’s on the ballot as well. If you partake, partake. Just not while you’re driving. Don’t let it affect your job and don’t let it affect anyone else. But if it helps you manage your pain, emotional, mental, or physical, then do what you got to do, babe. OK?

We’ve got our gardens. Our friends are in our gardens. Our families are in our gardens. Your life is one big garden. You’ll see that you have different plots throughout the whole thing. You’ve got your work garden, your family garden, and your friends garden. Each one of those needs to be tended.

This is where that self-care stuff comes in handy. Again this is where you need to take care of yourself because there are people out there who are planting weeds in your garden. Theres a saying that goes, the ship doesn’t sink because of the water because the water is outside of the ship. that’s what’s happening here. People are planting weeds in your garden. And it sucks. You can’t control what they are doing. You can’t control what they’re saying. You can’t control what happens. But you can control you do about it. Do you listen to it? Do you grab those weeds and throw them out? Or do you let the weeds overtake your gardens?

In another book that I’m writing I talk about co-parenting with a narcissistic parent. I compare it to gardening. I compare it to having a garden where my daughter is the garden. You love your garden but it’s in a really crappy neighborhood. And you have to share the garden with someone who doesn’t know care about gardens. But you do what you can to let that that garden grow. You give it what it needs to flourish. Yiu give it what light, feed it, water it. You let it know it’s doing a good job at school. But, the conditions are terrible. The garden doesn’t get full sun like it needs to. Every now and then the neighbor throws trash into the garden. Then, by some miracle, you get to move the garden and you get to choose where you move that garden to. Now you get to teach that garden how to grow. However, the neighborhood committee or housing Association AKA judges and lawyers also have a day in things. One day they say, “Oh, yeah. Hey, by the way. You have that garden and even though your old neighbor was a really terrible individual who did everything he could to tear your garden down you have to share custody of your garden with this individual.” This is a prime example of people trying to poison your garden by planting weeds in your garden. This is when you have to hope you’ve given that kid – your garden – the strength and tools to grow strong to grow tall even in the face of no water, over pruning, and weeds. We’re still weeding with my daughter. But she’s growing up so smart, strong, and beautiful

Gardening as a metaphor is great but gardening in real life practice is amazing too. Think about how great it is to hold something you created. Aside from a kid. When you hold up a kid, everyone’s like, “It’s a baby. Yay. My sister did that twelve times. Big deal.” But you hold up a bouquet of roses or you hand somebody an herbal ointment that you made with herbs from your own garden and people are like, “Holy crap! You did this? That’s awesome!”

There is a strong disconnect I’ve noticed in the world where people don’t really realize where food comes from. Any venture into Twitter will show the absolute need for telling people there are things called farms and they have food and that food grows from the groud. Reading Twitter is sometimes an exercise in determining if something is sarcasm or real. You pray the person tweeting is either trolling or sarcastic because you do not want someone walking around with that level of intelligence knowing that they have the power to vote. It seems like if you don’t know meat comes from actual animals you should probably not be able to make decisions for the country. That’s just my opinion of it. Take it for what it is.

I really do like gardening though. I love my roses specifically. Outside, right now, we have roses from my father-in-law’s funeral. The Air Force gave them to my mother in law at his funeral. They bloom twice a year. Once in spring and then again in the fall. I’m actually very surprised there are roses still out right now. It’s the beginning of November. It’s almost like it’s his way of saying, “I’m still here.” Halloween is the time to remember those who have come before us and those who have passed. So the thought that we have October and November roses is actually really sweet. When we do move those roses are coming with us.

Gardening teaches us a lot about ourselves. We learn about life in the garden. Your garden will suffer if you give it too much if one thing. Your garden is going to suffer. There needs to be balance. Not all plants are going to need the same things. Some are going to need full sun and daily watering. You’ll have some plants that will need partial sun and some that only need a couple hours. There are some plants out there that like the darkness. Some can go weeks without water and there are others that need a gallon a day. It’s up to you to learn those things. You have to learn those things to be able to treat it correctly.

This is how relationships are. This is how raising a kid is or even working with random people. You’ve got to learn how to deal with those situations. There are going to be situations where the soil is going going to be super rocky or thick and heavy and clay like. You have to learn how to fix that. Sometimes, you may not be able to fix it. You may have to let go and move on. You might have to add things to the soil to make it worth growing things.

Gardening is about patience; it’s about learning the cycles, the ebbs and flow. You’re not always going to be growing something. Don’t you have to rest sometimes? You have to plan for winter. Winter is a good time to rest. Gardens can recuperate. They be better and stronger in the future.

Even though I may not do actual gardening today, I’m going to tend to my garden. I will look at myself and see what needs to be worked on. I will see what needs to be deleted. I will plan for what needs to be trimmed – mainly around the waistline. Halloween candy is good and Thanksgiving is coming up. I will look at the arden of my children and see how I can help them to grow and be stronger in the face of weeds and poisoning. I will teach them to reach for the sun even though there may be some people who try to sabotage them and pull them up by the roots. And I will work on the garden of my marriage. I will plant little seeds of love. No. That’s not a metaphor for getting pregnant. That’s not ever happening. Ever. Again.

Today, I will Garden.

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