This New Year I began a 27 day journaling challenge to work on myself and my health.  If you have never tried journaling, you should.  There are many journaling sites, but the two I recommend are; Mari McCarthy’s Create, Write, Now-Journaling for the Health of It and Matilda Butler/Kendra Bonnett’s Women’s Memoirs who do more than just journaling.  Why journal?  Well it really is a cool way to talk with yourself.  To discover who you are, what you want to be and what may be holding you back.  I consider this blog a sort of journal.  A journal of my garden, my life, my lessons learned.

And then there is the garden journal I keep promising myself I will be starting.  This year I am going to do this in earnest and already purchased one I can use for 3 years.  I believe a garden journal is just as important as a personal journal because it will help me in the long run with making decisions about my garden just as the personal journal helps me with my life.

So what has all this journaling done for me?  It has reinforced what I need to work on and where I am going.  Recently I began to discover about truth and what it may mean for me because what it may mean to each of us depends on our own perceptions.  What I believe to be true is heavily cloaked in my perceptions, my experiences.  Those that know me have heard me say, “the truth is always somewhere in the middle”.  By that I mean, what you perceive to be true and what I perceive to be true may vastly differ, and by the time we unravel what really may have happened it is always a little of both….

A recent journal lesson dealt with a hurt or experience we had as a child that forever changed us…something we internalized that we have never really challenged as adults and it has now become our personal truth.  Mine happened when I was five.  I had just moved to a new town and a new school and it was my first day in a new Kindergarten.  I have never forgotten the incident, but I never realized just how much it changed me and affected my life; held me back! And while it may have seemed silly or insignificant, turns out it really wasn’t.

The experience changed my welcome to the new class to one of being ostracized from the group.  I had been playing with a jigsaw puzzle (funny how I still love them) that was missing a piece.  I put it back carefully, but never told anyone it had a piece missing.  Later I was accused of being irresponsible for losing the piece to the puzzle, and was demeaned in front of this new class.  Needless to say I was mortified, in shock and tried to explain.  The teacher would not listen and basically I was called a bad person that no one would want to play with…yeah, nice huh?

Well you can guess from there.  I refused to go school.  My mother did not know why I cried and refused to get on the bus for a week.  Finally when I told her what a bad person I was, she lost it and went to the school to ream them out.  She put me in a pretty progressive all day Kindergarten at the local Methodist church which turned out to be a great formative experience, but what happened on that fateful day really left me scarred in many ways.

I can be angry, I can blame but really I am sure this teacher was trying to teach me a lesson.  And while she was well-meaning, she went about it in such a negative way.  So why bring up this horrible experience again…well the lesson was one of re-evaluating our beliefs…beliefs we hold onto.  These are the experiences and beliefs that feed our inner critic as Mari McCarthy says.  They just keep coming back and staying in our heads.  Mine says lots of things and I hadn’t realized until now where it was all coming from.  Once I did acknowledge it all, I decided it was time to let it all go…to start realizing all the great things I have done in my life. All that I can accomplish.

And I realized this experience from long ago was why I have a hard time taking a compliment.  I really didn’t think what I do or did was special so when anyone said to me, “I really love your gardens”, or “you have a wonderful talent and gift with your gardening and design” I just dismissed the comments and said thank you, but they are really nothing special.  After all I have no formal training.  I am self taught.  I read, I try, I fail and I keep trying new ways.  Who am I to give a garden talk, to design someone else’s garden?  Well it turns out that many of us are self taught.  We may have a natural talent for something that we finally discover.  Then we nurture it, practice, and keep learning more.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know I am not the be all, end all.  I know I have much to learn, but I am not afraid to discover what I don’t know or even admit I don’t know it.  So as I embark on my garden design business, I know my limits, but I also know what I CAN do!  I have enjoyed reading hundreds of gardening blogs lately on Blotanical, Facebook and Best Garden Blogs.  I have learned lots of great tricks for growing seeds, or how to best plan out your veggie garden, to discovering interesting yard art and materials to use as a border for your planting beds.  Many of the people writing these blogs are your average gardener around the world who are doing real experiments, making mistakes and cheering their own triumphs.

What better classroom to learn the truth about gardening and life at least as I see it!!

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.  Mark Twain