By Theresa Puskar
I was no “Goddess-of-the-Garden.”
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. My mother was a highly creative woman and an avid gardener. Each year she would split the back garden into four sections, one for each of her daughters. To start, we planted tulip bulbs in each garden to ensure that they would at the very least grow annual flowers each spring. Thereafter we were left to tend to our tiny gardens in whatever way we saw fit. My older sister Laura was awarded the coveted “Puskar Green Thumb Award” each year for her stellar garden. She seemed to have a knack. Give her a couple of seedlings and a bit of dirt, and she would create a horticultural masterpiece. It’s no surprise that she now designs stunning garden landscapes for golf courses and country clubs.
While I was a nature enthusiast, unlike my sisters, I did not have a green thumb. While they toiled over their terrain, I was negligent of mine, as I so often found myself wrapped in awe of nature in action. During hot summer days I remember spending hours lying face down on the cool grass that carpeted my backyard, fascinated by the mysterious maneuvering of the busy earth creatures that surrounded me. I would spend hours absolutely mesmerized by the orderly nature and selfless service of ant colony members. They were so committed and focused – it was no wonder that we had a difficult time keeping massive anthill infestations to a minimum. Then there were the roly-poly bugs (officially named Armadillidium vulgare). I would giggle with delight at how they would miraculously transform into tiny balls each time I tried to pick them up. I’d spend hours playing with Daddy long-leg spiders, watching them quickly dart from one end of my body to the other, their thin legs transporting them at record speed. I was lost in the world of nature in fast motion and had no patience for the steady movement of a slow growing garden.
As it turns out, I have a green thumb after all!
Fast forward 50 years, and I just discovered that I have a green thumb after all. It took this crazy quarantine to slow me down enough to stop and “plant” the roses, so to speak. Now that I don’t have mile-long to-do lists and deadlines to impinge upon my quiet time, I am actually taking care of my gardens. In fact, I planted several items prior to our May late-frost and had to cover my vegetable garden and take my planters indoors in order to save the impatiens that I impatiently planted just a bit too early. Now that I have completed my planting, I am fastidiously working on weeding. On a visit to see my family in Canada last year, I noted an impressive number of dandelion-filled lawns. When I inquired about it, my sister informed me that there is a very stringent law that does not allow anyone in the country to use toxic weed-killers of any kind. Despite their being allowed here in the US, I don’t use them, as I don’t want the toxins to get into my vegetables and elderberry trees. So, I get on my hands and knees and pull the weeds from my lawn. While time-consuming, much to my amazement, I am actually finding myself enjoying it!
Nature has a story to tell, if we take the time to listen.
This morning, I woke up with focused attention on avoiding the task of writing this column. Usually these articles flow through me effortlessly. However, uncharacteristically, yesterday this was not the case. I had written a piece that I did not like at all. So this morning, after consuming my morning yogurt, I immediately headed out to my garden to practice a bout of productive procrastination. I’m sure you are familiar with this routine. I completed a plethora of mundane tasks in order to avoid the most pressing duty that required my immediate attention. As I busied myself in the garden, I came to a fascinating realization. I was in a semi-meditative state and as I started to follow the musings of my newly acquired green thumb, I discovered that Mother Earth has a great deal that she wanted to share around resilience and revitalization. Here are some of my observations and their subsequent lessons:
Garden Observation: Roots hold on tight and don’t easily let go!
Life Application: As much as we try, our roots are a part of us. They won’t let go of their grip on us, so making peace with our family of origin is a wise and fruitful act of self-love.
Garden Observation: If I don’t tend to the clover, they will take over the lawn to the point where there is no turning back.
Life Application: Ignoring our issues will not make them disappear. We need to look honestly at ourselves and tend to them before they infiltrate all of the goodness in our lives.
Garden Observation: I could have killed my vegetables and flowers by planting them too early. In retrospect, I would have done better to patiently wait until the winter temperatures were no longer an issue.
Life Application: We are wise to have patience and trust that the right time to take action will reveal itself to us. Universal intelligence knows greater than our haste.
Garden Observation: A tiny dandelion often has a massive, unyielding root below the soil.
Life Application: Things aren’t always as they appear. He who seems mighty may be less so, and she who appears small and frail may have might and depth beyond measure.
Garden Observation: When I am inattentive, full grown plants seem to appear out of nowhere!
Life Application: Life continues to grow gloriously all around us. If we don’t slow down and pay attention, we might just miss out on the best it has to offer us!
Garden Observation: Seedlings naturally allow the wind to carry them, trusting that they will find fertile ground in which to grow.
Life Application: When we let go and have faith, synchronicity shows up again and again, delighting us with her magic!
Garden Observation: Plants are obstinate and determined to grow. They will find a way to manipulate themselves through even the tiniest of cracks in the concrete.
Life Application: When we fully commit to our growth, we will find a way. No hurdle is unsurmountable.
Garden Observation: If you observe a flower or a tree closely, each is far from perfect. The leaves are most often blemished and asymmetric. However, as a whole, they are magnificent.
Life Application: In our humanness we are imperfect. We don’t need to “fix” ourselves. We are each a perfect creation of our imperfections.
“Theresa’s new book is the ANTIDOTE to the mental virus that infects adults. With clear
and persuasive prose she translates the mindfulness narrative of Jon Kabat-Zinn into
practical ideas and advice that every CEO, Manager, Millennial, Gen-Xer and Baby
Boomer will gain massive value from. BRAVO for this masterwork!” — Doug Hall, Founder
and Chairman of Eureka! Ranch and best-selling author of Driving Eureka! and Jump Start Your Business Brain.
As I ponder upon these profound and simple lessons, I note that they reflect the tenets of my most recent book, The Good Morning Mind: 9 Essential Mindfulness Habits for the Workplace. For all intents and purposes, it could have been titled “The Good Morning Garden.” The book is now available for pre-sale and my publisher has been encouraging me to get orders in. While I am not privy to how the world of publishing works, I have been informed that pre-sales are of utmost importance. If you enjoy my writing, I encourage you to order it on www.Amazon.com (if you type “Theresa Puskar” in the Amazon browser window, my books will be listed).
To celebrate the publishing of The Good Morning Mind, and to further support deeper community connection, I am offering a FREE 30-minute Zoom Virtual session on Tuesday, June 16th at 7:00 p.m.
Bring your garden stories and be prepared to “play” with me in our blossoming spiritual sanctuary.
To join go to: https://zoom.us/j/3346376403?pwd=VStTSEMyVFZhWmhpa1RjTm1GNHQrdz09
Meeting ID: 3346376403, Password: 911824.
Theresa Puskar is a highly-skilled transformation leader, author, performer and keynote speaker. As an unabashed truth speaker and inspirational teacher, she is delighted to spread causeless joy throughout the world. Her most recent books, 8 Ways to De-Clutter Your Brain and The Good Morning Mind: 9 Essential Mindfulness Habits for the Workplace are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. To learn more about Theresa, visit www.TheresaPuskar.com.