Transforming Difficulties Into Inspirations: What I Learned in the Garden

December 17, 2010 § 10 Comments

“Our limited perspective, our hopes and fears, become our measure of life, and when circumstances don’t fit our ideas they become our difficulties.”–Benjamin Franklin

My yoga teacher gave us that quote after kicking our butts in a class that left me soaked in sweat and bone-tired, but in that good way where your arms feel so tired you can barely raise them to wash your hair in the shower, so you know you had a fantastic workout.

And, through this particular yoga practice, I experienced how to take what Benjamin Franklin said and flip it on its head (quite literally, at certain points in the class!). I was able to transform those difficulties into inspirations. I’ve always struggled with balance, but by breathing into it, I was able to rise up from the ground straight into tree pose less wobbly than I’ve ever been. Even though my mind said “heck no,” my body somehow jumped back into a one-legged downward dog when my teacher invited us to do so.

So I thought, why not apply this concept to other areas of my life? For instance, the rainy, chilly weather we’ve been having lately has been bumming me out. Every morning I’d get up, make my cup of tea, and be itching to go outside and garden, but the drizzle would dissuade me.

The other day, though, when there was a lull in the downpour, I decided to get over it. I thought the soil may have dried out just enough for me to get the garlic and favas in the ground, so I grabbed my trowel and tromped outside.

I was able to plant the garlic and favas. But the thing that was even more exciting was seeing that the rain had painted beauty in the garden. Fat water droplets hung on the bronze fennel, decorating it into something reminiscent of a Christmas tree (highly appropriate for this time of year).

Bronze fennel frond

The sage I planted recently in our potted herb garden on our patio (for easy access from the kitchen) seems to have settled in happily with the rain, unfurling fuzzy new leaves from its deep purple stems.

The sage

The cyclamen’s color intensified against a backdrop of black pots slick with wet and the misty air.

Cold-weather cyclamen

The shallots and mustards must be loving the moistness, because they’ve exploded with growth. (I need to figure out some good mustard greens recipes for next week’s dinners!)

Shallots and mustards

Experiencing this day in the garden brought what I believe Franklin’s point was home for me. We each have the power to transform circumstances that can seem difficult, irritating, depressing (or whatever) into something easier, fun, or inspiring. We just have to change our perspectives: turn upside down, push ourselves outside, and see the world just a little bit differently.


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