Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A non-gardener's guide to relationships

Until recently I felt very nervous about gardening.  I'd spend hours worrying that putting a plant in the wrong place, weeding, watering, pruning - basically any gardening activity - would result in the entire plant world withering and dying.  I'm still not a gardener and even though I'm learning all the time, sometimes it feels more like outdoor housework.  However,I do love my garden and as I learn and grow in confidence so do my feelings of wonder and gratitude.

My ultimate vision is to create an enchanted realm for my (as yet unborn) grandchildren, a place for foraging wild foods and healing herbs, a sustainable garden that provides for us all, a place of contemplation, discovery and connection and a sanctuary for wildlife.

I’m doing a great deal of research and preparation, learning amazing things about microbes, compost and worms to help me improve the condition of the heavy clay soil.  I’m learning what grows well in this environment, the native species, the bee-friendly plants and discovering the history of the land.   With the help of a friend and a great book, I’m planning the future of my garden as I slowly tame the overgrowth and create a manageable wildness.

I love a good metaphor and have lots of time for reflection whilst gardening – so the relationship as a garden seems a natural move.  Rather like a garden, if you neglect your relationship and expect it to grow without any attention, the likelihood is that the strongest elements will take over – and these can easily become become criticism, self-consciousness, disinterest, indifference, hurt and resentment.  

A beautiful and sustainable relationship needs the tender plants of forgiveness, compassion, understanding and patience.  These are vulnerable and easily damaged, the also require care, attention and commitment to help them get established.

For a relationship to flourish it is important to do the groundwork.  Be sensitive to the environment - don't try and make it do something it's not designed to do: like give you confidence and self-worth.
  Understand the purpose of your relationship and what you are called to give to each other.  Remain flexible and respond rather than react to changes in circumstances.  

Plan together - share your hopes and dreams.  Like any garden, the beauty is enhanced by the work and attention you put in.

Don't be afraid to make your mark, to manifest your vision. Think about the long term; when you get your planting right and work on creating the best conditions for growth, your relationship will provide a natural environment for love to flourish - and benefit not just you but everyone around you and generations to follow.

No comments: