Garden of the Mind

 

My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece

~Claude Monet

 

We all engage in self talk. A running inner dialog that writes the script of our lives.

Seldom are we completely aware of just how influential we are on ourselves. We definitely live up to our own expectations. Positive or negative.  Problems arise when insecure feelings begin to dominate the conversation. And rarely do we share these dark thoughts with others. They are hidden behind a wall of bravado we put up between each other. This causes us to see only the exaggerations put together by our imaginations not the full scope of reality.

Insecurities are kept in a secret place locked inside ourselves in that dark closet of pessimism, where fear lives. It is fear that leads us to lie to ourselves in the first place. Much of the negative crap that our own insecurities whisper to us is not accurate or realistic at all, but these hidden feelings do have a profound effect on our behavior. Only when we can forgive ourselves for not being perfect can we begin to rebuild and replace all that negative crap with good crap.

I liken a life to a garden. What grows in our garden is what has been planted.

 

 

The lives which we are living now are the result of our past actions and those past actions were the result of our past thoughts. The seeds we planted long ago are sprouting now.

We truly are what we have cultivated. We can thrive in a colorful vigorous and sunny garden or we can wallow in the dark. and it is that simple… of course surprises can spring up

Life is random and certainly not fair. We are subject to the whims of that randomness…

…and no matter what we do surprises can spring up…

Sometimes squirrels can dig up your tulip bulbs and plant them in your neighbors backyard…sometimes a spring hail shower can wreck havoc on your tender pansies. There have been times when a black cloud descended into my garden and left it cold and dark. There have been times when I thought that the sun would never shine again…

And then I found the sunshine within myself and lit up my garden with hope, faith and blind determination.

 

 

These are the times when we have to rely on that sort of sunshine to make our gardens grow.

…that’s why you need a good dose of it stored up in your pocket for a rainy day.

 

 

Determination: Yes. Work: Most certainly. Anything worth anything takes work and belief. That is your sunshine and nothing will shine without it.

Gratitude is like water. It nourishes life in our garden. It makes what grows grow. Without gratitude we will never find the happiness and contentment we seek.

Attitude. How we frame the picture we see.

What some may interpret as a raging storm can seem like a gentle shower watering a summer flower.

 

Seeds are the ideas we present to ourselves. We can plant what we want.

 

Being afraid; having social anxiety…the alien-ness I felt being on the autism spectrum…my alcoholism.. these were symptoms of a greater problem these were/are my challenges. I on instinct planted seeds to counteract the ones planted many years before which led me to feel so sad.

How do I do this? I change my inner dialogue. I forgave myself. I saw myself as a poor damaged thing that needed sympathy, love and understanding.  I began to treat myself more kindly; I began to lie to myself but in a good, encouraging way.

I told myself wonderful things about me; things I didn’t believe. But I kept planting and counting.

I counted reasons to be grateful. I thanked God or the spirits that be. I thanked the universe for my good fortune. I embraced mindfulness and tried to enjoy every passing moment for what what it is without expectation. I found worthiness in contentment and strength in humbleness.

 

I wrote words like”optimistic” ,”happy”and “Yes” in bright colors and tapped them around the house.

I found solace in the colors of music and the sound of the rain.

I refused to be daunted by a reluctant sun so I made my own.

 

What began as a tiny spark has grown larger and my garden is growing with colorful, green, growing wild things.

I continue to plant seeds whenever I can. My garden is a work in progress. Always planting something, digging, weeding, taking it all in.

Despite changes and setbacks I am here to encourage other gardeners who may be discouraged. Maybe to make myself feel a bit better too.

 

As Ram Dass once said: We’re all just walking each other home.”

And I say that it’s damn good to have a friend to walk through the rain with. 

 

~nlm

 

 

 

Related Articles

Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy

Mister Rogers Remixed | Garden of Your Mind

Words Can Change Your Brain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Dreams of Bees

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
~Frances Hodgson Burnett

 

 

The sky is bright. The day is new and I am out in the neglected garden, busy as a bee, foolhardily attempting to resurrect order into chaos.  I feel wonderful out here in the fresh air and sunshine. It is a spectacular Saturday.  I have the whole day ahead to do whatever I want and this is what I want.

Finally…

backyard studio

I miss it out here and from the looks of it it misses me. It is a cornucopia of green things vying for space and light. I liken this tangled mess to my mind and life in general; bursting with wild, colorful and impatient things…lush, exuberant and messy. Tending the soil has given me metaphor upon metaphor upon on which to reflect and the act of gardening itself allows my mind to meander down strange and unusual and often very creative paths.

I am more of a scientist really than an oranmentalist. I like crazy wild. I shy away from the straight line. I will allow a mysterious plant to grow, just to see what it turns out to be. Most of the time it turns out to be just a common weed but once in a while serendipity will shine on me with something new and wonderful.  Life is like that I think too.

It is labor intensive here. I set all this up when I had oodles of time on my hands. I didn’t have to do much at work and life came pretty easy. My garden, my sanctuary as I called it, was my respite from the world, a world I was very much afraid of. It was here I started this blog and the blogger Strawberryindigo was born. In a little converted garage we call the studio I typed and typed and purged my heart out.

I think about that now; how far I’ve come.  They say where our heart lies there lies our treasure. Once my yard was my treasure. It was pristine, nary a weed or grass-blade out of place. I worked hours at a stretch, this is where I gained my satisfaction in life but it was lonely being so afraid of the world…

 

flower shadow july summer

Through design and through fate via a series of sales related jobs has forced me out of my comfort zone again and again, so much it is a common occurrence.  Once I gain mastery I go onto the next challenge. I am cultivating my garden. I am accepting myself as I am but weeding out what does not serve me to make room for the more beautiful things that do.  Beautiful things we all can enjoy.  I am cultivating friendships where I did not before and now my garden is not so lonely anymore.

My goal is to spread goodness and light in my own small way; planting seeds along my path. Some may not take root but others will, growing into something wonderful. I figure the more seeds I plant the more flowers that will grow…

 

…and so here I am pulling weeds thinking about this and there I spy a butterfly; a swallowtail. It is headed for the butterfly bush.  I run and get my camera. It is kind enough to stick around for a few photos

 

june butterfly swallowtail in butterfly bush today

 

 

 

today butterfly swallowtail 2

 

I get excited at this sort of event , and yes seeing a butterfly is an event to me!  I lay back in the grass.  The breeze cools my sweaty brow. I am totally living in that moment and then as if on cue nature rewards me with a smallish flock of sweet little birds who make tiny hops around the branches of the tree next me, they make cute little chirpings the sort you’d expect from birds such as this.

 

I am happy…

nancy in jean jacket back yard

I watch honeybees visit the white clover flowers in the grass. They carefully buzz from one to the next fast and efficiently. Their devotion to their task inspired me to leave this wild area in the grass, unmown and full of clover, the patch has grown since last year.

 

clover grass bee

I am an avid bee watcher although I don’t have the time like I used to…

My mind drifts to the story I was reading earlier that queried if bees dream and then what do they dream about?  The whole prospect of bees dreaming intrigues the hell out of me and the writer of the article states that bees when kept from sleeping (yes, bees sleep) tend to forget where all the good flowers are.

This makes a whole lot of sense.  I think that we humans could learn a few things from our friends the bees:

A busy bee still finds time to dream. It is those wonderful dreams made into fruition by hard work that create beautiful gardens. 

 

~NLM

peach flower and bee

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“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.”
―David Foster Wallace

 

Honey bee workers {Apis mellifera} flying towards flower, Digital composite, UK.
Honey bee workers {Apis mellifera} flying towards flower, Digital composite, UK.

References and Related articles 

  Do Bees Dream?  (BBC.Com) 

 

Fresh Quotes: A Thing for SPRING

 

spring blossoms light tree beauty

I wake to the sound of songbirds and the fluttering of sunlight tiptoing across my sleeping eyes.

I hear the geese

Never fails. Every time. Every year. The smallest sign of Spring approaches me and I bubble over in anticipation like a sparkling strawberry soda, all frothy, fruity and effervescent.  I get giddy and happy and laughy.  Seriously.

To me Spring is like a drug and I am totally under the influence.  any sign will set me off no matter how small and/or strange. I spied a spider in the bathtub. A fuzzy gentleman or lady who I sang to as I scooped  up and put it outside. It’s getting warm out there after all. The crocus are crocusing and the daffodils are doing their daffodilling. I saw a squirrel chase another up a tall pine. 

“It’s Spring!It’s  Spring!” At least that what it seems the geese are saying as they fly overhead.

According to the calendar Spring begins Sunday, March 20 but to me and the Robin out there on the lawn who just slurped up a big fat worm, that glorious season has already arrived!

 

spring robin by Denny Beck bird flowers nature

Spring is magical and I feel that magic down deep inside me, ready to spring forth as does all the greenery outside.   Spring is hopeful. It is the season of  light and whimsy.  It is delicate and white at first. You can hold it in your hand, like a tiny seed. It embeds itself and begins to grow. It bursts out of the earth; vigorous and green with the exuberance of life, capable of taking on the world.

And I feel this and I feel hope. I feel good things are just waiting to bloom and spring up in my path.  I will seize those tiny serendipities as they come and enjoy the hell out of them. Spring makes me believe all this can happen. Spring is like that;  It’s sunny and happy. It cheers me on and fills me with gladness. I just can’t help it.

I  know I’m not alone in this. I know that you too have a thing for Spring. So let’s do this…right here, right now. Why wait any longer? Let’s empower ourselves today and declare that Spring has sprung!   And what better way to celebrate than with quotes about Spring.

NLM

flower snow crocus purple

 

Spring will come and so will happiness.  Hold on. Life will get warmer.      

-Anita Krizzan

Sunrise-10-Beautiful Trees-in-the-Morning1

Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!

~Sitting Bull

happy smile dog and flower animal pet

All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.

~Helen Hayes

cat bohemian

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!

flower gif peony purple

The spring came suddenly, bursting upon the world as a child bursts into a room, with a laugh and a shout and hands full of flowers.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

nature spring flower relaxThe beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.

~Harriet Ann Jacobs

Spring cherry blossoms Sakura-Tunnel Japan Tree-Tunnels

I want to do to you what spring does with the cherry trees.  

~Pablo Neruda

love lips blow

In the Springtime love is carried on the breeze . Watch out or flying passion or kisses whizzing by your head.

~Emma Racine Defleur

milky way space glass stars

On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars – Something good will come out of all things yet – And it will be golden and eternal just like that – There’s no need to say another word.”
― Jack Kerouac

Beethoven – Primavera (Spring/Frühling)

Bee watching

 

 

Mario my famous cat and gardening companion.
Mario my famous cat and gardening companion.

 

The miracle of life lies out there teeming in the dark rich earth. I can feel it.  I can sense it and it is a wondrous thing.  No matter how many times I see a tiny sprout emerge from the soil I  am awestruck at such beautiful complexity inhibiting such lovely simplicity. Everything has it’s place, it’s purpose. Exquisite harmony and balance reins supreme…or at least it used to.

I have spent much of my 44 summers enthralled in the wilds of an urban garden; laying in the grass staring up at the imaginative clouds, cavorting with the butterflies and communing with the bees. As a young girl I felt a kinship with nature that has only intensified with age.  I feel in tune with the earth and with all living things and I have always had a special affinity for the natural world and all the beautiful shapes and colors of life on our amazing planet. 

It has been only natural for me to embrace gardening as one of my passionate pastimes.

As an adult I have spent countless hours in glorious toil in the backyard sun, digging and planting and weeding and planning. I have transformed a weedy double lot into what I refer to as my sanctuary, my retreat from the artificial inside.  I feel safe there and so do many of the urban wildlife that visit.  The neighborhood cats especially like it here and it isn’t uncommon for me to have a clan of disinterested felines “cheering me on”.

I am a great observer. It is another one of my pastimes; watching and observing and drawing conclusions….and I am a great watcher of the earth and I don’t have to tell you how sick it is. 

How sick our mother is. Our planet Earth. Our only home is ill. She is dying. The signs are all around. Some people don’t want you to believe that because they are more interested in the status quo but if we don’t change our ways there will be no status at all. 

It seems so far away; all this unbalance, this poison that eats away.  It is all around us, in our plastics and pesticides, in our gas- guzzling machines and in our diet colas. It hasn’t hit most of us yet…not really, but can you hear the rumblings? I can. I do as I sit in my garden; my sanctuary.

California Poppy in June Credit: N.L. McKinley
California Poppy in June Credit: N.L. McKinley

I sit in a prime spot next to a huge swath of brightly colored California poppies. They are one of the stars of the garden at this time of year and a favorite among the bees, including my favorite, the honey bee. I remember a time when they would be in beautiful abundance; busily buzzing from one flower to the next. I have noticed them slowly start to vanish…little by little; just a trickle at first but now it grows more obvious every year. My eyes scan the flowers and I only see a clumsy black bumble. I patiently wait…I don’t see a honeybee. I scan the grass at the clover I allow to grow, still no honeybee. The sun is out on an 80 degree day in June and where are they?

 

 Ahhh there’s one.  One honeybee and two bumbles…

 

 

Honeybee in June by N.L McKinley
Honeybee in June by N.L McKinley

 

Bumble Bee in June accompanied by Orange Poppy. Credit: N.L. McKinley
Bumble Bee in June accompanied by Orange Poppy. Credit: N.L. McKinley

Perhaps it is still to early for them…perhaps I didn’t wait long enough…I will go out and look tomorrow for another one…

California Poppy in June Credit: N.L. McKinley
California Poppy in June Credit: N.L. McKinley

 

 

More stuff to ponder…

Just me Nancy reporting from the urban wilds of my backyard…SMILE!  Have a good one and remember what our friend Anne Frank said:

 

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” 
― Anne Frank

 

Sometimes that is all we can do…

(And one more thing: please no more pesticides. I know YOU don’t use them but for anyone who may. Please as a personal favor for me…stop.)

Nancy

 

“The natural world belongs to us all and it is vanishing at an alarming rate. We the people of this planet have a responsibility to the generations that come after us. I believe we gardeners have a special and vital role to play in the protection of our dwindling natural assets.”

 

~N.L.  McKinley

 

bee gif flying

 

 

 Related Sound and Natural Tunes

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Marvin Gaye – Mercy Mercy me
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Counting Crows – Big Yellow Taxi ft. Vanessa Carlton
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Blind Melon – No Rain
Optimistic Sunflower and Bee. Credit N.L McKinley
Optimistic Sunflower and Bee. Credit N.L McKinley

 

Related Articles and Items of interest

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SAVE THE BEES (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

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List of crop plants pollinated by bees (Wikipedia)

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Mass bee die-offs reported in Portland area (Statesmanjournal.com)

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A Disastrous Year for Bees: ‘We Can’t Keep Them Alive’ (New York Times on You Tube)

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Feds aim to save declining honeybee (pressherald.com)

 

Sweet Daydreams

 I have always sought to create another world.  A fantastic place of harmony and enchantment where dreams come alive.

Time stands still in the multiverse of my imagination.  Colors deepen and take on a vivid hue.  All is one and right and the atmosphere is steeped in loving peace and understanding. A wondrous a place comes into view.  I have been here before and every time I visit it becomes more beautiful.

It is a place where

 vines of crimson and gold grow over ancient  walls.  Ruins of stone spires shoot crazily out of a dense forest of deep green.   The sun is bright and warm and has just begun to fill the sky.  I take in a deep breath of the cool breeze coming from the west. The air holds the promise of the day.  It is a bright spring morning filled with fresh wonder.     

Rolling hills of emerald, soft and mossy give way to sweet-smelling apple orchards sprinkled with tiny white blossoms.  The warm spring rain tickles my eyelids and caresses my face.

I walk down a slate path into a soft misty velvet wood..  Sunbeams dance and play with shadows in the whispering breeze. Scarlet tipped hummingbirds dart through the leaves of the trees drinking in the honeysuckle nectar of the tall pineapple sage.

 I delight in the riotous songs of a forest full of life.  Flowers of a million hues dot the landscape.  Tiny white butterflies flutter and frolic among them. Visiting each one in a true perfection of form.  

The sun rises high in the sky of deep cerulean and cotton white.  I lie in the grass and gaze up in wonderment, not a care in the world….My mind begins to wander and the hours drift away…in senseless abandon… and dream a dream inside a dream….

Sweet Dreams    Strawberryindigo.