On the first day I was writing the posts for the Mind Garden series, I was driving home from a beautiful moment of overlooking the city skyline from atop a frosty mountain. I had emerged from a thick and disorienting fog at the top of the hill, but I pulled over to pause in awe and wonder at the site of the glistening cityscape below me - to give thanks, and to write a bit about the idea of the mind garden. I was riding high. Then, once I had entered back into town, another driver cut me off at an intersection and I had to slam on my brakes. Instantly, I began to fume over the fact that I had had the right of way, that drivers these days really don’t know the rules of the road, and all the things I might have said to someone who might have expressed an iota of interest in this one-second upset of my day.
Then, the irony hit me. I had *just* been reflecting on the importance of cultivating a healthy and positive mental outlook and why the messages we repeat to ourselves can influence the outcome of our days and lives.
The irony! How was I to feel justified in creating a piece about the value of optimistic thinking, and almost immediately head into a rage-thought of mentally condemning strangers on the road?!
I literally lol’d. And, just by bringing in the awareness of shifting my perspective from annoyance to gratitude, I was easily able to let that shit go.
I thought to myself, why silently lament an occurrence where no one was hurt, that passes in an instant, and that didn’t really affect my day or - hopefully - the day of the distracted driver in any serious way? I could feel the relief of that decision as it softened my shoulders. It was natural for me to grumble in my mind when an idiot driver made a poor move on the road. But guess what? It was just as easy to *decide* to let. it. go. In the end, it didn’t matter, and in the end, my heart and mind felt lighter and more at peace.
There was no circumstance in which the other driver would receive and appreciate the wisdom of my insight from behind the wheel. There was no situation I could think of, other than a commiseration amongst friends of similar encounters, that would even be relevant to a joyful day. So, why not take a sip of my own advice elixir, and plant a seed of peace in my mind garden?
The stories we tell ourselves can fertilize the foundations of our mind gardens. You’ve seen them - the individuals whom you just know spend their days stewing and lamenting. Their energy bogs down the atmosphere, and nothing ever seems to be quite good enough.
And you know yourself - and the ways in which the story you’ve decided to believe has influenced a path you’ve been able to travel down.
The ground of our mind garden is spongy; it retains, absorbs, and reenforces the things we tell it.
I’ve been reflecting on a series I began to write last year, about how I have a tendency to be a klutz, drop the ball, put my foot in my mouth, and act awkward af. It’s all true! BUT, how much of my awkwardness have I manifested by feeding the notion that I’ll never be couth? And, if I really want to be couth, what affirmations and words could I tell myself that could affirm the healthy growth of knowledge that leads to a life that’s a little less… dorky?
Perhaps, if I plant vines that can wrap their way around the idea of a self-assured, ultimately successful, and unwobbly me, I could manifest a smoother existence. It could be worth a try (and could save me some of the money I spend on bandaids.)
Last week, I introduced the idea of readying the soil of our mind gardens, so now it behooves us to figure out what seeds we are going to plant there.
The seeds are the stories we tell ourselves. The seeds are the occurrences we hope to come true. They’re the realities we would love to watch unfold and manifest in this life, right here, the only one we’ve got.
The words we tell ourselves, the beliefs we secretly keep, the hopes and despairs we have had the occasions to experience…. All of these things are the hulls of the seeds we can plant.
That’s not to say that everything that happens to us is the result of the thoughts that we sow. Shit happens to all of us. And a lot of times, it feels wildly unfair. Lamenting, processing, moving through, and feeling hopeless are part of this incredible journey. But as I’ve talked about before, it’s important to not let the seeds of “It’s not fair!” be cultivated and tended.
May you start to coddle and nourish the seeds and starts that inspire, fulfill, and allow you to feel wholesome. And then, may your harvest be bountiful.
Next week, for the month’s final Mind Garden post, we will reap what we’ve sown thus far. And hopefully, it will be delicious.
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