Tend your life like a garden

I love metaphors for life.
Sailing a ship.
Running a country.
And one that seems to work really well is gardening.
Having a garden.
There’s so many ways in which that seems to capture a lot of what’s going on with life.
This idea of we have this space and it’s somewhere in the middle between being purely nature and purely constructed.
So if we have, you could imagine, a house, that is a fully constructed environment, where we’ve built everything ourselves.
We’ve designed the walls and the floors and the rooms, and it’s fully constructed.
Whereas if it’s just like out in the forest, then that’s something that we just found ourselves in.
We didn’t construct it at all.
A garden’s in between.
It’s nature.
It’s something that’s growing, not entirely in our control, but it’s sort of shaped.
We give it a shape, and sort of encourage it to go in certain directions and not others.
And that seems to fit the way that our life goes, because we don’t have total control.
Now I do like “build your life like a house”.
I do like that.
So you can go lots of different directions with these metaphors for life.
So I like thinking of it as a house too, and that emphasizes the aspects of life that we can control.
But abuilding a garden is kind of like building a house, but it’s not as fully a constructed environment.
It’s like a little piece of nature that is sort of walled off or separated from the environment, just like we are.
We don’t live fully integrated with nature.
We like to separate things, like having our shelter and clothing, and we like to have some systems that separate us from being 100% simply living in the forest.
But at the same time, we are still part of that natural system.
We’re not living in some imaginary spaceship or something.
I mean, we are living in nature, and we still are open to the sun and the rain, the weather, the seasons.
Those things affect us, just as they affect the natural world.
So we work with them.
And so a garden is a place where we can be in a built and tended environment but also still be in nature, in a sense, still open to the outdoors and to the natural elements.
So we mix these things.
Not trying to control too much and turning it into a box or something, because we can’t completely simply decide everything we want in life and exactly just like painting a painting – although that’s another metaphor that is fun to use for certain aspects of life, for the aspects that we can control – but we can shape it.
So for one thing, we have the edges of the garden.
Try to keep those rascally rabbits and keep the raccoons out and try to control access to the garden.
We don’t just let anything come in and eat our plants.
We have to be careful about the the edges of the garden, and and tend it against intruders, just like we decide what we allow to enter our minds.
And of course, the metaphor with weeds.
In the garden, we want certain things to grow and not others.
And so, as part of tending the garden we remove the weeds.
That can be seen as certain thoughts, certain habits, that are not leading to a very nice garden, that are leading things in a direction we don’t want: we can remove those weeds.
And so working in our garden: this is how we can see working on ourselves.
What what does your inner garden look like?
Is it being overrun with raccoons?
Is it overgrown with weeds?
And what sort of plants are growing there, and what do you want to grow there what do you want your garden to look like?
I think this can be an interesting way of looking at how we manage things.
We can’t simply design it out of nothing, it still has to be tied in with nature, but we can shape our nature and tend it to become what we want.

#gardenyourlife #lifeislikeagarden #lifegardening

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