The Garden of Life
by Vincent Mancarella
When I originally came up with the idea for this article my first thought was, “This would be a great subject to write about. It’s interesting, informative, and even a little poetic.” My second thought was, “This is a dumb idea for an article. Everyone already knows this information and it is just a big cliché.” My third thought was, “I need to take a nap,” but that probably doesn’t interest you so I’ll just stick to my thoughts about the article.
After a little rest, I decided that this was indeed a topic worth writing about. Yes, there might be some cliché in it and it might be just a bit corny (no pun intended) but clichés often come, ultimately from sound advice. Many times it is advice that everyone already knows, no one wants to be reminded of but kick themselves later for not following. And despite the complexities of our lives these days it is the simple advice, the simple changes that usually have the most impact. This information might just change your life.
What comes to mind when you hear the word “garden”? Do you think of flowers in a park? How about vegetables in your backyard? Maybe you see a farm, complete with chickens and cows. Does the idea of a garden bring to life romantic thoughts of growing your own organic food or flowers to decorate your home or are you like a friend of mine who once said, “I got enough problems, I don’t need to dig up my back yard and create more.”
Let me ask you another question. When you hear the word “garden” do you ever think about, your job or your relationships, a project or a life long ambition? Would you ever consider your life to be one giant garden? What is a garden? Well, in the most general sense of the word, a garden can be anything that you intentionally create with the assistance from the universe around you. And it can be a fantastic metaphor for creating virtually anything you want in your life. By simply following the steps of creating a garden you can plant and water your way to anything you desire. So grab your shovel, your gloves and your gardening hat and let’s do a little work in the garden of life.
Prepare the Garden
Imagine you decide to grow some vegetables in your backyard. You walk out the door, seeds in hand. You find a nice spot, perfect for the vegetables you’d like to grow. You stand in the middle of your newly designated garden area. You rip open the packets of seeds and throw them everywhere – tomato seeds mixing with corn, cucumber seeds thrown in with squash. Then you go inside, sit by the window and watch your garden grow.
Sounds ridiculous I know but what is more ridiculous is that, despite the fact we know the success rate of this strategy is virtually 0%, this is what we do so many times in our lives. We throw our dreams and desires around the land hoping that they might come true, hoping that someone else, the universe or even God will give us what we desire.
But as the saying goes, “God helps he who helps himself.” So give yourself a hand instead of shooting yourself in the foot.
If you want to create something in your life, don’t just want it and hope it randomly comes your way. Take as much as you can of the “chance” out of the equation and fill it with preparation. Get the gardening tools, till the soil, add the fertilizer. Create the best garden you possibly can so you have the best possibility for success. And most importantly plant those seeds with intention. Don’t just throw them around. Be as specific as you can. Plant the tomato seeds where you want tomatoes, plant the lettuce where you want the lettuce and plant them in places where you think they would grow. Where in your life are you planting seeds in the shade when you know that plant needs a lot of sunlight?
Tend the Garden
Gardens need a whole lot of tending. There’s just no way around it. It takes constant care and attention, adjusting and evaluating to grow those vegetables successfully. Gardening isn’t rocket science. Even people who have never even watered a lawn could figure that out, but in our Garden of Life, we often forget this rule. We go from one extreme to the other, planting the garden then neglecting the garden. Then we get frustrated that our garden died so we rip it up and start over only to neglect it once again until finally we get so angry we stop gardening altogether.
And what is ironic is that the tending that is needed is usually not very much work at any one time. We just need to do a little bit here or a little bit there to keep the garden growing. Consistency is key. You’d be surprised at just how far you can travel with small consistent steps and just how easy those steps can feel.
When tending the garden, it’s also important to take the appropriate actions. Tomato plants need some form of support as they grow, lettuce does not. So why would you put stakes in the ground next to the growing head of lettuce. We do this to ourselves all the time. Instead of being creative or observant we often apply the same tactics to different situations in our lives and wonder why they didn’t work.
There are no absolutes in gardening and there are no absolutes in life. You must do what is right for that plant at that moment – anything else is just not helpful. You can not force the lettuce to crawl up that stake and you can not force your life to fit into the small box of what you think is best. So instead of trying to force the proverbial square peg in the round hole, step back see what actions would best help your garden grow and then do that.
Protect the garden
Again this is a bit of a no-brainer but we often forget this very important rule. With all the hard work we put into our garden we want to make sure that it is safe from the elements that might destroy it. We do everything we can to secure our gardens. We cover the plants in a frost, we use pesticides and fences to keep out the critters. We even build whole buildings made of glass so those tender little seedlings have a place to grow before they go out into the big bad world of nature. Meanwhile we are incredibly neglectful of our own lives and dreams.
How many times have you come up with a great idea or a desire to achieve something amazing only to lose heart when someone tells you why you can’t do it or that it is a waste of time. Don’t let the frost of somebody else’s negativity kill your tomatoes. Cover them! Do whatever you have to do to make sure the vulnerable little seedlings of your dreams and desires are safe in that greenhouse. Do whatever you can to stop the little bugs of nay saying from destroying your crop.
And God said, “Let there be Kumquats!”
Ok, listen up. Here’s the deal. You get this concept and you will be unstoppable in your life. If you really understand this idea and live it, there is nothing that can stand in your way. In fact, you could argue that this is the most important part of the gardening process. And I’m sorry to disappoint you but it really has nothing to do with kumquats – at least not specifically.
When you plant tomatoes, for example, and you tend that garden with all the love and expertise you can muster are you shocked and amazed that a few weeks later, tomatoes start growing out of the ground? Do you say, “That’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen! I planted tomato seeds and tomatoes grew right out of the ground”? I’m guessing you don’t. I’m guessing the miracle that is “plants growing from a tiny seed” doesn’t really faze you anymore. That’s just how it works, right?
So then why, when we put out certain desires or intentions, both positive and negative, intentional and accidental are we shocked and amazed that they came true? That’s just how it works! When you plant an intention or a desire into fertile soil, don’t hope it sprouts; know it is going to sprout! Know without a shadow of a doubt that your desire will be fulfilled. Expect it. And at the same time take the time to appreciate that that in itself is a miracle. The fact that a small seed can create a giant plant is a miracle. It doesn’t matter how common it may seem to us, it is a miracle. Period.
And the best way you can respect and appreciate the miracle is by actually letting it happen. I could be wrong but I don’t think nature needs your micro-management to make sure the seed forms the plant. Nature can do that all by itself. In our extremely ego-centric and results oriented society we often try to intervene to make things better, when we only make them worse. And we usually just stress ourselves out in the process. You’ve done your part, now let the universe do its part. Don’t worry, it won’t let you down. It heard you loud and clear. And when the time is right, it will be done. The universe is just slightly older than your brain so let it do what it will do. You just get out of the way. You can’t force the tomatoes to grow. So you might as well just sit back and enjoy the miracle.
This is a pretty obvious step. When the fruit is ripe, pick it and eat it. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. After all, that was the whole point of planting the garden in the first place. And once you’ve gathered the harvest, enjoy it. Enjoy every last morsel of it. And you will find added enjoyment the more you are able to share that harvest with as many people as you can. Spread the wealth. Let everyone eat from the garden you created.
There it is, the Garden of Life. The great thing about using the garden as a metaphor is that the garden doesn’t only represent the way of the natural world, it is the natural world. This is how it all works. Despite our attempts at overcoming nature and separating ourselves from it, we need it to survive. We are part if it. We are more than that, we are it! So instead of fighting the natural way of the universe, use it to your benefit. Why go to all the trouble to invent a tomato when you can enjoy the delicious one’s provided by the Gardener of all gardeners. Bon Appetit.
Vincent Mancarella has studied and worked in the field of health, energy, movement, voice and bodywork for over a decade. He is a certified Holistic Health Counselor, Reiki Master and Intuitive Healer educated in both Eastern and Western modalities He also holds a 2nd degree black belt in the Japanese art of Ninpo Tijutsu. He has had the fortune of working with many amazing healers and teachers. Recently Vincent finished an Intuitive Healing Mentorship program under holistic healer and spiritual teacher Joseph Aldo. He currently lives in New York City but practices and teaches in both New York and California. For further info e-mail him at email@example.com