The last few days have been the kind of weather that makes me long to spend the evening hours outdoors. Taking leisurely walks, sitting on the back porch with the sun warming my back while an intermittent breeze ensures that I do not break a sweat…or as we southern bred women like to say, “start to glisten.” These days are ones to be cherished. Families are discovering the joys and benefits of gardening by planting backyard gardens of all sizes, while others are learning about the advantages of buying locally grown vegetables and herbs that they can use and share with others.
I was raised around gardening. My father always had a large garden that he worked in after he got home from the office. My parents did this because it was more economical, but it was also a way my dad was able to unwind and stay physically fit. Now that he is 80, he cannot garden in the same way, but he still has an impressive variety and considerable size garden that many friends and neighbors enjoy throughout the summer and into fall. This past weekend, as we walked around the property looking at the rows of freshly tilled and planted ground, we observed different levels of growth. Some seeds were still underground waiting for their debut, while others had produced plants that were standing tall and proud with green leaves enjoying the warmth of the sun. The fruit trees and blueberry bushes were full of green leaves with small round fruit buds only visible when one took a closer look. Finally, we strolled over to the muscadine and grape vines, twisted and old; where they had just finished “bleeding”, a process that marks the beginning of a new life cycle. This is where I found a deeper appreciation for my dad. He does all of this because he loves to watch things grow, not just plants but people as well, which is why he has always invested time and energy in relationships. This got me to thinking about the importance of doing what you can-planting seeds of kindness, and blooming where you are planted.
We all have the ability to make a difference. We can learn from those around us, discover new interest and talents, and share with others. Maybe life has been difficult for you, and you find yourself struggling financially, physically, and emotionally. If this is where you find yourself, then it is my prayer that better days are ahead. Until then, reach out to someone and share with them your struggles. We were not created to carry burdens alone; we thrive when we cultivate healthy relationships.
To lift your spirits, try Forest Bathing. The practice of “forest bathing” or “absorbing the forest atmosphere” encourages people to simply spend time in nature — no actual bathing required. “It’s also very low impact, which means you don’t have to go for intense trail runs or hikes. The goal of forest bathing is to live in the present moment while immersing your senses in the sights and sounds of a natural setting.” https://thrive.kaiserpermanente.org/thrive-together/live-well/forest-bathing-try
If life won’t allow you the above luxury, you can simply take off your shoes and socks and walk barefoot on some grass. As you do, enjoy the sensations you feel and embrace the way your senses come alive and are connected.
As I write this in my office with my back to a large window, where the afternoon sun in all its glory is shining so brightly and inviting me to come spread my wings, I am reminded of how blessed I am. Being encouraged to express myself and help others as a Holistic Nurse and an Aromatherapist is a gift. This week I will plant kindness and will nurture the seeds that have already been planted. I also challenge you to plant and cultivate kindness in those around you. I can promise you that your life and those around you will be blessed by it!
Give Yourself Grace,