I’m not known for my gardening expertise. Growing up in Germany, the gardeners who tended to my parent’s yard kindly asked me not to assist them after I mistakenly pulled out flowers instead of weeds from the rock garden. Their request left an impression on me and stunted my desire to gardening career.
I’ve always stuck to planting pots, avoiding the complexities of full-fledged gardens. However, one year, I mustered the courage to dig up a patch of grass in our backyard and create a flower garden. I was proud of my efforts, but it didn’t last long. Our mischievous Golden Retriever, Ellie, and the squirrels she loved to chase through the yard, wreaked havoc, erasing most of my labours and leaving only fallen leaves and petals. I took it as a sign that I should stick to pots.
In the summer of 2020, the year my mother passed away, a generous neighbor gifted me three beautiful purple irises from her garden. With my trowel in hand, and trepidation in my heart, I plunked them into the earth the giant fir tree in our frontyard. I’d occassionally water them, poke around and pull out weeds at their stems, and pray a lot for their survival.
Fast forward two years, and those three irises have multiplied into a stunning display. A neighbor across the street even remarked that I must have a green thumb. I chuckled and corrected her, confessing that I simply have resilient plants.
Life is a lot like that. We find ourselves planted in the garden bed of our family, or something resembling it. The caretakers of that garden do their best, wrestling with their own self-doubts and limiting beliefs about being parents or ability to function in an often unfriendly world.
We take root. We reach for the sun. We navigate the sometimes daunting mystery of the garden of our life, where the path ahead is obscured.
And yet, we continue to grow.
Our growth may face obstacles—a lack of nourishment, care, or support. But still, we dig deep, anchor ourselves, spread our roots and expand.
My irises flourish not because of my expertise or nurturing (remember, my limiting belief tells me I’m not a gardener). They thrive despite my lack of gardening prowess because they seize any opportunity to grow. Survival is their instinct, and that’s precisely what they’ve done.
I cherish these irises. They serve as a potent reminder of life’s beauty and mysteries. They also bear my mother’s namesake, connecting me to her enduring spirit of kindness and her desire to always see the beauty in all things.
Moreover, they invite me to confront my own limiting beliefs about gardening – and other things too. They challenge me to dig into those beliefs, uproot the weeds of doubt, and allow myself to flourish right where I’m planted.
How’s the garden of your life today? Are you tending to it with loving care? Are you uprooting weeds and watering the flowers?
Or, are you letting limiting beliefs keep you rooted in the muds of past mistakes and dead end adventures?
Is it time to let nature have its way and flourish right where you’re planted?