Posted on 19 April 2008 by

Growing Your Spirit Part 1 – Gardening Zen

FlowerBy Michael Nolan

Gardeners are a unique breed.

I’ve found over the years that we tend to be more laid back and relaxed, and generally appreciate life a lot more than non-gardeners do.

There’s just something about having the connection to the earth that comes only from getting soil under your fingernails.

Spirituality isn’t something that you really discuss in the south (other than telling people what church you go to), but from the very first time I learned to plant a seed I felt connected to it somehow. It felt as though I was responsible for nurturing this seed, coaxing it to life and it was a burden that most of my family and friends never seemed to understand.

I have been an organic gardening aficionado all of my life thanks to my old school grandparents. Had it not been for them I may have never learned to appreciate the process of gardening at all and to be honest I can’t imagine my life without a garden of some description.

When I lived in New York City I had absolutely no ground at all in which to plant and yet I still found a way to surround myself with beautiful plants, most of which produced something delectably edible. The tomatoes I grew on my shared terrace produced enough of a bounty that I invited my neighbor to take whatever she wanted and she in turn shared with me many of her favorite recipes.

On the surface that interaction may have only been seen as me being neighborly, but the truth of the matter is that my love for six tomato plants created a bond between two unlikely people whose lives could not have differed more, and yet there was something very comfortable and spiritual about our connection.

The point I’m trying to get to is that there should be more to your gardening than just planting a seed and reaping the rewards. Every step in the process is an opportunity for you to connect with the earth around you in a very real way. You are a guardian of life, even if yours is nothing more than a container garden taking up a few feet of space on your porch.

In next week’s installment I’ll tell you how my garden taught me to be a better listener.

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