May 23, 2022
"When gardeners garden, it is not just plants that grow, but the gardeners themselves.” – -Ken Druse
Planting and gardening bring me an abundance of satisfaction and memories. My grandmother was an avid gardener, cultivating a large patch on her acre of land in New Hampshire. There were succulent raspberries (my favorite), vegetables, and a wide array of flowers. My mother inherited that green thumb and created gardens that brought her joy and a shareable harvest. I married someone who also loves flowers and planting, so we have always had pots and plots of colorful, aromatic plants.
Miracle Gro is part and parcel of our planting protocol. We’ve used the potting soil and plant food for years. Organic compounds, micronutrients, and other unknowns are combined in a smelly but effective concoction that helps plants grow bigger and brighter.
The past few years have been like Miracle Gro for many of us. I’ve found myself digging deeper as I try to understand and navigate these turbulent times. I have worked through multiple layers of grief and loss to find the underlying gifts of grace.
“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.” –Rumi
I’ve immersed myself in reading, writing, and listening to podcasts and audiobooks, all of which work like fertilizer in my mind and soul. Miracle-growth has resulted in an expanded sense of peace and grounding. Those organic nutrients have given me a greater sense of wholeness and self-acceptance, which widens my embrace of others. As I uproot the stubborn weeds of criticism, judgment, and self-doubt, I have more space for the seeds of compassion, celebration, and confidence. I’ve also learned to cut back excess in order to experience freedom and simplicity.
Gardening teaches us patience, humility, and trust. Sometimes we want the fruit and flowers without having to dig in the dirt. Just when our hands or gloves are covered in it, we get an itch on our face or something lands in our eyes. We get sweaty and dirty. It’s a mess. But this is life. It’s like a garden - full of soil, earthworms, weeds, and wonders. We are the gardeners, and we can choose what to plant and cultivate. Every season brings new challenges, storms, and garden pests. This is our work here, and it can be rich and rewarding when we make it so.
Be willing to dig deeper, plant new seeds, water, and wait. Find the fertilizer that will boost your growth - e.g., books, podcasts, service projects, spiritual practices - and allow them to enrich the soil of your mind and soul. Remember that hard and smelly experiences deliver nutrients as well, and miracles are often hidden within them. Your growth will bring life and beauty to your corner of the world, creating a garden in which peace, joy, and love can take root. You may also notice birds and butterflies coming around.
Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers. - May Sarton
Growth & Grace,
Elisa J. Juarez