My shrink, in case you didn’t already know, is my garden.
I often talk about the therapeutic qualities of my garden and on Sundays, I seem to do a little more “deep thinking” in the dirt than I do throughout the rest of the week. My garden-time often becomes as therapeutic as any session I have ever spent with a real counselor. I get to carry out just as much introspective thinking and soul-searching and I save myself a whole lot of money in the process.
One of my best therapies in the garden is weeding. For every weed I pull up, I think about some negative aspect that I am trying to eliminate from my life. Insecurities are probably the most pervasive weeds in my fertile mind. Self-doubt, fear and anxiety all pop up on their own and, if left unattended can soon grow to completely overshadow all of the beauty in my life. As I gently pull the weeds from my garden, I think about how easy they are to keep under control if I just work at them on a regular basis, rather than letting them keep growing and take over.
Some people I know resort to chemicals to keep the unpleasant things in their life under control. Not me. I choose to go the natural route, with my garden and with my psyche. Sitting down. Getting dirty. Confronting my demons face to face. Pulling weeds one by one is easy, calming and it doesn’t pollute the rest of the body of land that surrounds my garden.
My mind does tend to drift while I am doing my weeding. But my shrink gently gets me back in focus. Just as I am about to walk away and get side-tracked by some task that feels more important, a swirl of butterflies circles around me, reminding me of the beauty of a healthy garden and I begin reaching again in the dirt, finding the roots, and pulling another weed.
When I’m done, I sit for awhile and survey my work. My garden and my mind both feel clean and refreshed. I have removed so many of the things that were troubling me and causing ugliness in my life. And in the process I have created new spaces for beauty. A whole new blank canvas sits before me. I feel excited by the prospects. What shall I plant?