Good day amazing daily actors!

With nature’s verdant emergence spring blossoms are popping and there’s a spirit of newness in the air. Our schedule is also popping with a wide and tasty array of events and activities, so join us to get inspired, get skilled and get connected!

Lessons from the garden on transforming annoyance and overwhelm

Of course all this rampant growth in garden and life can be overwhelming with weeds everywhere and a work schedule that’s bursting at the seams. It’s a lot to navigate any time of year with our fast-paced culture and the urgent state of the world. Beyond soaking in life’s new blossoming glory, what can we learn from the garden about the rest of our schedule and life?

Recently I was sitting on my meditation stool, inspired by the season and all that I wanted to do. Then came a slight sense of overwhelm at the zillions of piles and possibilities. As the author of Flow writes (remember? my word of the year), a disorganization of the self impairs its effectiveness when one’s goals are threatened. In this case, it was the feeling that I couldn’t possibly do all the things that mattered to me in my garden, in life and at work. So I took a breath (always the best first step), re-centered, re-visioned, and then remembered the importance of just getting started and that moving lots of little things forward can be more gratifying than doing one big thing. As I recalled this and regained a sense that what mattered to me was doable, stress turned back to inspiration.

In Permaculture there’s the principle of stacking functions where each element has multiple yields. It’s like a 2 for 1 bargain or a ’twofer’. In this case it was more like a ‘ninefer’. Once in the garden, I got crazily inspired, noticing all sorts of stuff popping up, red mustard, bok choi and artichoke seedlings to be transplanted and tasty weeds like nettles and cleavers to be made into a spring tonic tea. Before long I’m soaking up the sunshine, listening to music, eating weeds with my daughter and flood irrigating our garlic with stored rainwater. Neighbors and strangers are stopping by, and I even weave in some writing! In Leading the Life You Want, the author writes about how the most successful people are the ones who figure how to integrate commitments to family, community and the self (that sustains it all). He writes about Four Way Wins, creating value for self, family, community and work at the same time. This nicely aligns with what I wrote about in my blog last month – focusing on three key goal areas of practicing self-care, sustainable living and community engagement. For me, it’s even better when it’s in the garden!!

But I know you’re thinking “Ok, you inspired garden gnome, how does this apply to the busyness of a full inbox, full schedule, and the emotional minefield of life’s mishaps and misunderstandings…let alone, massive issues like climate change”.  Most things come back to our attitude and approach, being proactive, regardless. As Stephen Covey wrote about, helping folks discover how working and struggling to solve personal challenges, can increase our positive influence, personally and in our organizations and beyond.

Instead of an annoyance, the chickweed crowding our garlic patch just became lunch and the nettles and cleavers became tea. Can that thing that popped up in our way be shared to empower and engage others? Instead of a bothersome weed in the path of my garlic bed, someone will be stoked to get that baby artichoke or dill plant. Plus when we share with others, we gain the heart harvest of how good it feels. Sometimes weeds get fed to the chickens and upcycled into high quality protein, or composted to build fertility.

Practice Weed Therapy in garden and life for nourishment, healing, sharing, fertility, even biggering your positive impact.

When properly composted, issues are opportunities for personal development and to deepen relationships. I’ve had some pretty uncomfortable conversations lately, but the foundation of our relationship felt stronger because we had these kind but clear and courageous conversations. Challenges are part of life, but how do we learn from them, growing our emotional intelligence while strengthening our connections, organizations and networks?

Where can you score an unexpected harvest in garden and life? Where can you share with others to lighten the load or compost challenging emotions to build the fertility of self and your relations? Gratitude practices are a great and proven tool for doing this. And since happiness is ultimately in how we relate with our experiences, choosing a proactive and gratitude-filled response is in our best interest.

Just as healthy soil grows healthy food and people; strong communities are built of healthy relationships and folks who are living sustainably, while caring for self, being engaged and supporting and encouraging this in others. So what’s one important thing you can do today or this week toward the goals of self-care, sustainable living and community engagement? Bonus points if you integrate the   tnn  hree together!

More than inspiring tidbits from the garden, if you actually want some of these transplanted artichokes and such, join us for our next office happy hour on Thursday March 17th at 5:30. Or if you want to actually get out in the garden and take a peak around, we’ll be doing at in our neighborhood as part of the 2016 Community Resilience Challenge launch on March 24th. One way or another, hope to see you out and about this spring!