OF CABBAGES…AND CORPORATE KINGS.
This morning while checking my Facebook page, I saw a post by someone on a gardening group I am part of.
She had posted a picture of a cabbage in her garden, which weighed 1.5kgs and her post said.
“feeling elated and humbled.”
On a regular day, I would have blipped over this post, but her words caught my attention.
Feeling elated and humbled?
Its not like she climbed Everest right?
Further reading showed that she had been trying hard to grow cabbages for months, but pests always got to them.
This was a testament to her tenacious effort. It took her three months to harvest one head of cabbage.
That got me reflecting.
One of the practices I recommend to many of my high stressed corporate clients is to get planting.
Whether in a garden or just with a few pots.
And to be the gardener.
(no no, no maali allowed)
They must weed, they must water, they must aerate the soil.
In some cases I even ask them to talk or sing to the plants.
It’s a fact that one the best stress busters is gardening.
1. You are in contact with nature.
You are out in open fresh air, listening to the birds, feeling the breeze or sun beating down.
Something you rarely do in corporate life unless you embark on those annual nature heavy corporate retreats
2. It is tactile.
You work with your hands and mind. There is a messy mix of soil, water, leaf, weed that passes through your fingers.
It feels good. It’s real. No papers, pens, keyboards, antiseptic surfaces.
3. It is non-ergonomic.
Your body works to fit the garden.
You bend, kneel, crouch and work to the garden’s command.
Unlike the corporate world where you either are just sitting or standing.
Subconsciously you are more in touch with your body.
4. It involves both nurturing and letting go.
The onus of the final outcome is not on you only.
Neither the time it will take for your garden to flower or fruit nor the final outcome. There is only so much in your hands (literally)
There is a lack of control you must accept that is far removed from your work life – where you feel the need to be constantly in control.
5. It is your own little relaxing space.
Your garden is the one place least associated with your mobile phone and crazed life and more with relaxing in the evening with a glass of wine or in the morning over a cup of tea.
6. Its builds child-like curiosity.
You come in contact with all sorts of fascinating insects and birds in various hues. Sometimes eggs, larvae and little weaver leaf nests.
It’s a mind-blowing experience to see your junior school science books come alive right at your fingertips. Inevitably you even go and Wiki things you see. You learn more.
How much of curiosity do you build in your work life?
7. The end product brings immense joy.
I have seen proud pictures galore of “daily bounty from my kitchen garden” even its just two strawberries.
Its not just another pretty flower – its your pretty flower.
And probably the most important to me.
8. It is a highly “mindful” activity.
There is little muscle memory or mechanical action associated with gardening.
It is not fast paced like your average day, and there is gentleness involved with it.
In a way, it is your daily meditation.
And it is your baby step to more powerful meditations if carried out daily.
(This for me is a great bonus)
Your garden doesn’t have to be a perfectly manicured Zen space.
It can be anything from a terrace to a few pots to a wild space with a birdbath or bird feeder.
So go out and grow those cabbages.
It will elate and humble.
And besides growing beautiful plants, you will be a step closer to building a calm and beautiful mind.
I’d love to hear what you feel about gardening and this post, so please do leave comments.
Many of my own friends despise gardening because they feel its a chore.
But I know more who embrace it. And love it. And are happier for it.
Some books and sites to help you build mindfulness and meditation through gardening.
The Art of Mindful Gardening: Sowing the Seeds of Meditation
A great site for mindful gardening practices
The Organic Terrace Garden FB group in India