After we clear out our mind's garden bed, how do we keep it healthy?
In the first post of this series, I discussed the importance of weeding the garden of our minds. I related how tilling the soil can be like a breathwork journey, as it oxygenates and brings everything up to the surface for removal. Also, how a plant medicine ceremony can serve as a shovel to do the heavy lifting. In this post, I will focus on the necessity of maintenance.
Visualize With Me
See yourself walking along in a neighborhood that has a variety of homes to admire. On your left, you see a garden that is full of life! Lots of colorful flowers blooming, it’s well thought out and adds a ton of curb appeal to the home! It's obviously well cared for and has lots of interesting accompaniments to compliment the surrounding environment that it is planted in. Hearing the bees buzzing and watching as the butterflies flitter about, you feel drawn to use this picture as inspiration for your own garden as you walk by.
As you continue your walk, you notice the other gardens in the neighborhood.
You stop at another house and look carefully at the landscape. It seems like someone tried to do something with it, but it's been forgotten about again. Some flowers and plants are still surviving, and the mulch looks pretty new. However, most of the leaves on the plants are burnt up and dried out. Also, there are many weeds growing up through the mulch, invading the landscape. It appears that someone had recently put a lot of time and effort in to redo this garden, but for one reason or another, taking care of it had gotten put off and was probably put onto their never ending to do list that comes with home maintenance!
Coming back to the present, I ask you – which garden example would you want to represent your mind, body, and soul?
That's deep, huh?! Crazy, cause it’s so simple – but it really makes you think…
Really though, it's a common sight to see in a neighborhood. Think about that as you go on your next walk outside. Look at the houses’ gardens. See for yourself!
The garden bed of the mind can be replanted many times, recreating different qualities that we seek to bring to life within the space we have. Throughout our process of healing, this is what we are doing to the garden that exists within our minds. When revamping a garden that has been neglected, forgotten about, and traumatized repeatedly like so many of us have, this is not a one and done process.
Nope, clearly it's not that easy! But if it were, would it still be worth it? I think not!
We are all in a constant process of growing, clearing, and maintaining both the gardens within, and the ones found in nature.
Let’s take a deeper look.
When we have an actual garden, what does it need?
Attention and care, among other things.
What happens if we don’t provide attention and care for it? It becomes kind of an eye sore, doesn't it?
With the garden representing our minds, bodies, and spirits, then the attention and care we give ourselves becomes reflected in how we feel and how we interact with the world around us. That eye sore that can be created through neglecting the garden, can easily become what we reflect on the outside- because this is how we feel on the inside. Slowly but surely, this creates an invisible signal to the Universe, that YOU don't see yourself as important, or worthy, or beautiful... Or whatever the ‘it’ is… and it all stems from not taking time for nurturing yourself within!
The attention and self-care we provide for ourselves is what raises our frequency. It is how we vibrate at a higher level - thus, attracting new possibilities to our lives. Those new opportunities, that reflect the newly raised frequencies we emit when we prioritize ourselves, is what then, slowly but surely continues to construct the reality that is aligned with our highest selves and timeline, which is the reality that we are all seeking to attain. But only YOU can choose to take that time for yourself.
The precious time of a daily practice is how we gift ourselves the kind of attention and care that raises our vibration - and our vibration is what dictates our reality!
Think about it.
If we are relating the garden to our minds here, think about what putting off our own self-care does to the garden inside.
It’s now time to reflect on how your garden looks and feels on the inside. Are you happy with it? Are you providing that special care and attention to yourself regularly? If you aren’t, now is as good a time as any to begin with implementing a daily practice so your garden can reflect a peaceful, happy place; like in the first visualization example.
The Time it Takes...
Taking time for yourself can be difficult, especially with the go-go-go mentality that exists within our society today. However, what it really boils down to, is carving out just a few minutes that are solely for yourself, each and every day! It can even be a mixture of integrated mini practices throughout the day if that's easier for your schedule. The timeframe doesn't even have to look the same each day, it just has to be time that you consistently give to yourself; it's all about coming through for yourself! That's it.
Once we get our garden to feel and look how we want it to- after that is part is achieved, after we win that battle - do we really want to allow ourselves to slowly slip back into whatever muck was holding us down in the first place? Absolutely not! I don't think that's ever anyone's intention!
So, isn't it our responsibility to maintain the figurative garden and provide it with the care and attention it deserves?
There will always be excuses to make: not enough time because I have to do this, we gotta do that... can't spend the time on me - because of x, y, and z...
But I ask you, if you don't, who will?
You have to see the value in you. You must put yourself first, and the rest will follow.
With all the technology today, it's easy to find ourselves wasting precious time just scrolling on our phones. Carving out 15-20 minutes in the day is not really all that hard. How often does 20 minutes passes by, without even being noticed?
Remember, it doesn't need to be a solid 20-minute practice to start - that can be the goal. It is OK to start with a 1-minute practice – and build up to more - if you remember to do it every day!
After we clear out all that muck from the past, we need to fill ourselves back up with positive things to set the stage for success. This coincides with adding new healthy habits to our routines, and making sure our environment and space is healthy and clean. Ensuring that our relationships are aligned with our growth and the new priorities we set for ourselves. This is how we replenish the existing soil within and begin to plant new seeds.
Let’s Get Personal
In the past, I was famous for these huge shifts and transformations that were both drastic and short lived. I was always seeking new ways to heal and learn about myself through different means. I never had difficulty talking about tough things in an emotional sense. With my past, I knew I needed help from professionals, and had no trouble seeking it out.
However, I always had difficulty making the changes stick. I yearned for the day that I could hold onto that feeling of flow, presence, and inner knowing! I think about how that unkept garden has been so real for me, in my actual garden bed and my garden within.
Consistency has been a challenge for me in life, especially when it comes to caring for myself. Always beginning things with the best of intentions, and somehow where I was consistent, was in faltering when it came to my follow through. Being a teacher helped me improve in this area, but it's still not my strongest quality. However, with this one thing, I have been able to keep it up for about two years now. After getting past the first month of using a video to lead me through a practice, I saw the results so fast that I just never stopped!
My personal preference is to take that time in the morning, which is funny, cause I’m not known to be a morning person. But I like that it helps me get my head right for the day ahead and keeps my vessel clear of any energies that do not serve me, as I do a body scan and release daily.
My morning routine is my time to connect with the elements, to ground into the Earth, to ask for wisdom and protection from above, to move and stretch my body, and to visualize how I want to BE that day, and what qualities I want to affirm, depending what's on my schedule for the day.
I believe by doing this, it's like I am announcing to the Universe that I see myself as important, as worthy, and as loveable - especially when I take that time first, before I deal with anything else on my list. All of those aspects of the practice sink into my subconscious every morning. These qualities that I consistently work on began to reflect in my actions, reactions, and interactions throughout the day.
I finally figured out that this is how you create a well-manicured garden within.
With time, these practices have become integrated into who I am. I realized that it is the integration of practices into my daily lifestyle that has enhanced my ability to remember to use my tools in the moments where I feel triggered, which I had always struggled with.
The shift from using my tools occasionally to using them as daily practices changed everything!
Thankfully, I have always had a lot of tools in my toolbox! From years of reading self-help books and going to therapy myself, I knew what my tools were: Journaling, yoga, talking things it out with trusted friends, dancing it out by myself, meditating, using my oracle cards, creating art or even just coloring for a while. From growing up with a mom who practiced Magick, I also knew how important it was to ground on the grass, connect with nature, take time with my crystals, pull some Oracle cards, smudge my space, or even practice Reiki on myself. I was not short on things that helped me connect with myself, or tools to use to get myself out of a slump … Nope, I had all the tools! But that’s just it. They were tools, not practices – and making this distinction changed my life!
What I was missing - was consistency!
These things I used to do to heal and explore throughout my life, when I was in crisis mode, I still do. But now, I do a few of them every single day, and I’ve come to develop weekly practices for some of my other favorites.
In this life, there will always be some difficult circumstances to navigate, as this is how we grow. The shifts in consciousness necessary to respond rather than react when in the moment takes time to cultivate.
Practicing these things in a calm state of mind, daily, makes it so that when stressful occasions do arise, we remember to use them when it counts!
My shifts became more fluid, happened faster, and were easier to navigate each time I was presented with a triggering situation. Riding my wave of emotions has become much less scary and consuming! I am more easily able to sit with my feelings now, so that they can flow right out. I am grateful to have reached the point where I mostly remember to see each challenge as a chance to use my tools. I choose to see these situations, the ones that I used to dread, as opportunities to learn and grow. I still don't always remember in the moment, but with each passing month, I see increased improvement in my ability to take that pause, use my tools, and face whatever it is with a relatively positive attitude. That is something I am proud of.
By prioritizing myself and by coming through for myself each and every day, all of a sudden, I started to believe in myself again! I started to be present in my daily life, in a way that I never had been before. I became confident that I didn't have to hold on to those new 'weeds' that landed in my soil, from myself or the collective. I learned that I have the power to release them, as I am now very aware of what I have and want to grow in my figurative garden bed. I now understand that what you focus on, grows - and that this applies to ourselves too!
To maintain a presence of pure love, in spite of the world around us, takes practice! Hence, practices!
There will always be new weeds to clear since we are still humans having a human experience fueled by our emotions. It's inevitable then, that we will still have to feel offended, hurt, disappointed, or let down in some way or another as we go about life. But those feelings don't have to stick!
That's why the routine and consistency is so important, because it causes these tools to become ingrained and integrated into who you are!
Returning to the garden for advice one last time, I ask you - what happens if you put off weeding the garden for a few weeks, or months?
Now, what if you spent 5-20 minutes a day giving that same garden attention, love, and care?
If you miss one day, does it hurt the garden?
Same theory applies - you might have more weeds to pluck out the next day, but everyone has a day now and then where we just don't feel like it. So, my rule of thumb is to never miss more than one day in a row. Providing some space to give ourselves some grace on this journey, is imperative to our success in healing and in life. For some of us, honoring that in itself is a practice!
Let's Do This
If you do not already have one, I challenge you to start a daily practice today. Just start somewhere, begin with whatever you feel is an attainable goal and one that you can promise to keep for yourself. If that's only 1 minute a day, it's OK, just start!
Once you’ve begun, I invite you to join us for a Soul Recovery meeting, held on Zoom, every Wednesday night at 6 pm Central. (FYI Having a daily practice is not a requirement to join us) . We would love to hear about how it’s going for you, and so would our amazing community!
Easy Integrative Daily Practice Ideas
It doesn't have to be a big thing - personally I used Insight Timer to help me learn different breaths, visualizations, and other practices when I first started. I have since taken the parts of each that I like and created my own routine.
Realize that it can be as simple as starting your day off by saying or listening to affirmations while you are getting ready for your day. One member of our tribe practices "Morning Affirmations and Nightly Gratefuls". I love the saying and honestly, having a daily gratitude practice is another easy one that I believe no one should be without!
Another easy one to start integrating into your lifestyle is playing Solfeggio healing frequencies while you sleep.
We also recommend using rescue breaths, like the 478, or the Breath of Life, are both examples that are easy to incorporate, as needed, throughout your day. There are many quick breath work practices that can be completed in under two minutes. Amanda Rae has a whole bunch of lifestyle breath-work techniques on her TikTok available that are quick, short, and easy to implement. I encourage you to check them out if you haven't already!
Consistency is key! This is especially important for people to understand, especially as so many of us are answering the call to following the courageous path of healing, on a generational level.
In the past, I had attended a few transformative retreats myself. I had participated in big breathwork sessions that were incredible and had attended many group meditations and spiritual courses that expanded my consciousness and self-awareness. All these big experiences worked to transform my life for a time, they all helped my soul evolve and grow, and they each strengthened my connection with myself.
But - without having a daily practice, those shifts didn’t always stick. Parts of them did..., sometimes! However, in my experience, after returning to my life, what I was consistent at was finding excuses afterwards to continue my old ways of not prioritizing myself. That consistent pattern would override all the changes I was seeking to make.
Putting the needs of others, or even just the rest of my responsibilities around the house, before caring for myself - was my consistent pattern, one that was heavily ingrained in me. It is so easy to get caught up in all the things we have to do, in all the BS, that those deeply ingrained patterns will not shift until you integrate the lesson into your consciousness in a way that overrides that old pattern.
Daily practices give you the power to shift this - and that's what I had been missing all this time!
Knowing this, we encourage our guests to adopt a daily practice as part of their routine from day 1 at our retreats. It's important to note that while they can absolutely transform your life at one of our retreats, maintaining the changes you experience will ultimately be up to you.
This is where our Integration Coaching fits in so nicely. We can help you to integrate all that you learn from one of these transformational retreats is something I never had when I attended these things in the past – but I truly feel it’s where the magic happens!
If I did made this shift, I know you can do it too!
If it seems overwhelming, just remember to start by taking baby steps, my friends! YOU GOT THIS!
Cosmic Soul Recovery can help you to clear out your mind gardens, replant them, and maintain them! We teach you how to integrate different practices into your day to day, which helps you navigate life more smoothly. We have coaching packages, workshops, and even healing retreats that can help you learn to live a life that is aligned with your highest self and purpose. We also offer a free community meeting every Wednesday night and our tribe is full of support and deep insights!
If you would like to know more, or, if you are interested in learning about different self-care practices that you can incorporate into your daily life to help you maintain your inner garden, please reach out to us at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.