Enjoy the time in your garden rather than have it become a burden because you want to get the chores done.
Enjoy the time in your garden rather than have it become a burden because you want to get the chores done. Photo Thinkstock

Mindfulness with Nick Bennett

LIVING where we live and being who we are, we made a decision many years ago not to have a lawn, rather to grow a beautiful, peaceful, natural environment that native fauna, pets, friends and ourselves could find refuge in. That's our garden and we take great pleasure in it.

Through the wet season, the heat, rain, humidity and general climate keep us indoors and the garden is free to grow, shaping itself on the prevailing conditions pretty much without interference.

At the start of April the weather had cooled sufficiently that we could re-engage with the garden and start the task of cleaning, clearing and refreshing the various spaces ready for the best of the year ahead.

While it's a simple pleasure, for some it could be a daunting task, particularly if you were to look at everything that needs to be done and allowed the scale of the job to get to you. It's like multiplying time by task and equalling overwhelm.

In order to get the job done we set a time that was cool enough to begin, we had a general plan of attack, the right tools organised and we also set a time to stop - regardless of how far along we've got.

Why do we do that you might wonder? Well if we don't take a sensible approach, we'll burn out, burn up, overheat and possibly blow up.

The thing is that the garden is always going to need tending. There will always be something to be done. 

It's a never-ending story and I would much rather enjoy the time with it than have it become a mindless burden that has had the joy sucked out of it because I want to get it done.

When you think about it we're all gardeners, aren't we?

Our mind is like the garden and, if left too long without conscious attention, those "care less" thoughts - self-defeating and negative - grow thorns, branches and tendrils that cut off the light to more constructive ways of thinking.

And soon that light, which self-esteem and self-care - like plants - need to grow, is blocked and we are left with what grows in the darkness.

The more attention we give and care we take in what we feed the fertile garden of our mind, nurturing it and refreshing our thinking, the more joy and happiness we find in engaging in the full potential of the life we are gifted with.

The great thing is that it is up to you. What do you want to grow? Is it worth taking time to clean, clear and refresh or will you let it run amok?

Like the garden, energy flows where attention goes.

Nick Bennett is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned: http://www.mindsaligned.com.au