I sat crossed-legged on the deck in front of a flowering nasturtium plant carefully removing spent leaves and blossoms. Pruning nasturtiums is tricky. You have to trace the fragile stems back to the plant’s central stalk before cutting them loose. If you have the time, it can be a peaceful, meditative experience – and it gives the plant energy to produce more beautiful blossoms. If not, it can be stressful and frustrating. Rushing makes it too easy to lop off the fresh, sunset-colored faces smiling up at you.
Totally immersed in the moment, I lost track of time as I pruned to my heart’s content. The garden came alive. I heard a hummingbird speed past my right ear and hover behind me waiting to land on a nearby feeder. I noticed that when a cool breeze brushed the hair from my face, it left a hint of autumn in its wake.
As I looked around at the vast number of flowers and vegetables that have appeared in a few short weeks, I felt grateful and satisfied in a way I never had before. No wonder my garden is thriving, I thought to myself, I’ve given it the time and attention it needs.
This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since reordering my priorities: It’s hard to honor the important things when you don’t have the time required to do so. Like it or not, you can’t do anything well when you’re rushing to get it done. And I’ve been rushing my whole life.
Sitting in the garden on this peaceful morning made me think about the places where I wanted to succeed but never quite hit the mark. The years I spent beating myself up for not being able to lose weight, for example, wasn’t because I was weak-willed or undisciplined. It was because I didn’t have the time to do what needed to be done.
Today I realize I didn’t make the time. Funny, my first book, Take Time for Your Life, was originally called, Make Time for Your Life, but the publisher thought that the word “make” sounded harder to do. I was young and caught in the spell of youth, so I agreed. Back then I had the luxury of believing I had all the time in the world.
The important things in life – the people we care about, our health, earning a living doing something we love – are big priorities in and of themselves. When we add more to that already full plate – too many extra work assignments, volunteer commitments, social engagements, online activities, etc., it’s impossible to truly enjoy any meal.
These days I’m savoring soul food. Slow gardening, cooking from scratch, wandering walks and talks, fewer clients, longer sessions – all thanks to a smaller plate and the wisdom gleaned from my garden.
P.S. – If you’re ready to reorganize your priorities, join me at Omega Institute for our Self Care for the Wisdom Years retreat the weekend of October 6th-8th. You can get more info and register here.