One of the first gardens I tried to design was a formal garden at my old house. It had a focal point in the center of a trellis and both sides were planted the same. Needless to say nature intervened and it did not stay as planned. No matter how I tried to fix it to be uniform and in balance it would not work. So finally I gave in and let nature take its course and planted it to flow as nature was telling me. It certainly was beautiful and much more original. This was not the first or last time though that I tried to go against nature’s own balance. Believe me I don’t learn that quickly from my mistakes.
I have also tried to plant the pre-planned gardens that come with designs and planting guides. That should be simple, right? Not for me. I never seem to be able to follow the plans. Instead I add a bit of this or that and work the design with the garden. More recently I stopped trying to force something to work. And you know it always turns out fine albeit may need a few adjustments. My garden design style as you may have guessed is not formal. It is more relaxed-trying to find a balance with nature instead of trying to balance nature. It flows with color, texture and theme. It has taken a long time for me to see this style. To recognize the beauty of it. To find my balance in the garden.
People equate balance sometimes with the concept of yin and yang. Yin and yang actually do not mean perfect opposites in balance –they really mean working together to complete the cycle of life. I like to think of it as finding the perfect yin for your yang. I found my yin with my husband, my garden and my friends. Unfortunately not so for my professional life which had fallen out of balance knocking my whole life off kilter.
I never realized just how bad it had become until recently when my professional life hit a wall at an alarming speed and I was stopped dead. Banged and bruised I got up, surveyed the damage and saw I was in trouble. Although I needed serious help, it was not a life threatening emergency and I would live—I would be fine. You see I had been working 60 hour weeks for years. My work was my life and my passion not leaving me any time for anything else. All my time spent for 1 thing…my CAREER!
A brush with death (bleeding ulcer that landed me in the hospital 4 units of blood down) didn’t slow me; long illnesses and injuries suddenly cropping up didn’t seem to work either. Nothing would slow me until they cut my job to half time. That did it all right. This was not good–how was this going to work–I need to find a new job–I can’t live on half a salary…OK time to calm down and get past this. Sure that was easier said than done. For years I had been going along spinning out of control never taking breaks unless forced on me. So I could get mad-I did; could look for a new job-I did, but none panned out or seemed remotely interesting. Then a friend (my acupuncturist) told me not to worry I had been given a gift. What? It took a few minutes for this to sink in. Wow I guess I was given a gift. For years I complained how I wished I had time to do this or that, and here it was. Was I shocked….a gift….a life…time…but what was I going to do with my life and all that time. I had not had time before. Not taken time.
So I started looking at my life. What was it I loved to do-garden. Now I had time to garden the way I always dreamed. So I went to work. I weeded and weeded and cleaned and planned and moved plants until suddenly-Ouch!! I hurt my shoulder. Now what! Too much gardening. I thought I was taking it slower, doing new things and living my life differently, but again here I was doing too much all at once, but this time in the garden. I still had not grasped the concept of how to balance things. This was getting dangerous. OK time to rethink this. What was I missing? You would think I would have figured this out by now, but as I said I don’t learn quickly from my mistakes. So I decided to slow it down even more. What choice did I have? I wasn’t going to give up gardening completely. Of course I could learn to garden more with my left hand but then my other shoulder would give out. I had to really start looking at what was out of whack. I began to practice Reiki on myself again (yes I am trained as a Reiki Level 1). Took time to read some books to find my authentic self and search for my passion. And all of these things kept bringing me back to one word –balance.
Then a I read a quote by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross that says we must find a balance between the physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional parts of our lives. And so my journey has continued as I search for that balance. I find that balance everyday I am in my garden watching the seasons change, flowers bloom and die back, and wildlife move through their cycles. I find my balance in watching insects that seem to steady themselves effortlessly on whatever is there-they hang on to flowers that are blowing in the wind as they drink the nectar. They hang on and move from flower to flower until they are nourished. I don’t think we can ever really be in perfect balance, but I have learned to go with the flow more in all aspects of my life. To look for the beauty of nature that lives and grows around me. To spend more time with friends and family. To explore new creative ventures. In this way I have found I stay grounded, calmer and happier-more in balance.