My Dad passed away a few years ago and we received many lovely messages. One particular card had this beautiful note in it and for ages it just stuck in my head. After a few days it struck me that my dad was actually trying to send me a message. I needed to do exactly that – stop working so hard on my life… look at what I have got in front of me.. .and enjoy it!

Really…? This note was about his garden not my life. But it got me thinking. Is life planning like garden planning?

The garden metaphor was staring at me.

  1. Have a vision: Design your garden how you want it to look but more importantly work out what will grow in the best conditions. What is suited in the sun, what will grow in the shade? Have a vision for how you would like your life to be.
  2. Prepare the soil: Ensure that the soil is ready to receive, lay the foundations so every plant has the best opportunity to thrive. This can be the hardest bit but is absolutely worthwhile. Dig deep and find the time and energy to love yourself.
  3. Planting: Plant the right seeds so you can reap what you sow. Be realistic and plan what is right for the environment. Notice what you have and find gratitude in your present day.
  4. Buy wisely and do the research: Know that you might make mistakes but you will learn from those mistakes and plant better, more appropriately next time. We never fail, we just keep learning.
  5. Nurture and look after: Gardening is not the work of a moment. It needs continual caring and looking after regularly. As do we.
  6. Prune regularly: Get rid of baggage and any unwanted thorns and weeds. Those weeds maybe metaphors for anger, guilt, fear and resentment. They will keep coming back unless you get to the roots. Do this regularly.
  7. Protect your garden: Keep pests and unwanted animals at bay. Build a fence around your garden. Only invite in those you will see the garden through your eyes and enjoy it.
  8. Reap what you sow: Start a vegetable patch to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
  9. Be aware: Things might be out of your control. There might be a storm and your plants might get damaged but if you continue to have patience and trust your garden will bloom again.

To have a beautiful garden is a long, hard working project as is life. But the beauty of a garden project is that at any point in time you can take a step back and say I did that and I am proud of the hard work. Everything I have learnt is only making the garden even better.

So we can do the same with our lives. We can be proud of every step, learn from all the mistakes but sometimes we need to be in the present moment and just stop and take a look at what we have achieved, and enjoy it.

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.

Frances Hodgson Burnett a