I have always enjoyed cooking and baking since I was very young. I come from a family of great cooks for several generations, so it was pretty natural that the heart of the home revolves around the kitchen and dining table. I also love nature and my garden very much. Initially in the early years of my marriage, my husband and I planted trees and planned the yard space as we built our home. Over the course of the last 25 years, the trees are fully grown and are solidly implanted. Like everything else, there is an upkeep which must be done to maintain the beauty of any landscape, big or small. When I worked in retail 6 days a week all year long, I could not tend to my exterior environment as much as I would have liked. The large trees were all fine, but all of the finer details became less apparent and were not as attractive as they were initially. It was all superficially fine but the lack of real attention to it really bugged me. I still made time to cook and bake several times per week before or after work. I whipped up muffins and baked goods before going to my office and cooked dinner in the evening for my family. However, I was unable to really do anything serious with my yard.
When I made a huge change in my schedule over the last year, it permitted me for the first time in over twenty-something years, to chose how to spend my time. This for me was a luxury. I know for many the word “luxury” probably is associated with spas, expensive clothes, jewelry and fancy trips to exotic places. In my vocabulary and reality, luxury means being able to choose what to do with my time. This little tweak in my schedule has made a world of difference to me. It has changed my outlook and has given me a deeper appreciation for my life. I am appreciative and truly thankful.
Years ago, I had planted some trees which had since become old and overgrown. In fact, my neighbors were benefiting more from their beauty, as the flowers and foliage dangled over the wall on their side. On my side, all I could see from the kitchen windows were the woody, thin, aged and gnarled branches of the bougainvillea trees. I finally decided that it was time to cut everything down and just do the entire thing over. As I spend a lot of my time in my kitchen, I like it to be bright and airy. The view from the kitchen windows once everything had been cut down was dull and boring. The concrete wall behind loomed over 12′ tall and was sterile and empty. The little garden was in sad shape. It had been deprived of sun from the canopy hovering above. For so long I disliked it but I did nothing to change it. I was always too busy at work and on Sundays when I had a day off, I was too tired to think about working on this area with which I had become disenchanted.
The day that I took the initiative to change this, was the turning point for many things in my life. I decided to paint the wall a brilliant sky blue. I envisioned all the greenery and hues in the new garden space. This would all make me feel happy looking outside while in my kitchen preparing food. It took about 8 months for the plants to grow tall enough to create the feeling I wanted to achieve. Today, even the old cut stalks of the bougainvillea trees have begun to regrow young new fresh leaves. I have my little herb garden with several pots of basil, parsley, mint, cilantro, oregano, rosemary and peppers. There all types of flowers and trees for herbal teas and now, that big ugly wall is not so unattractive anymore. When I look out of my window, I feel a greater sense of joy and appreciation for whatever I am doing. It gives me the feeling that only nature can. I am happy to see this as my backdrop, even while doing the most mundane of chores. I have a profound sense of gratitude and happiness in my life and situation.
In all new beginnings, you may seem doubtful at the prospect of modification. When you finally find the courage to make the shift, it will initially be difficult and there may be a level of uncertainty surrounding your decision. Big change is never easy. Once you have the momentum and determination to make the transition; give it your all. Put great efforts into your new project, whatever it may be. Little by little you will execute your new plan of action and realize your dream. When you start to see the transformation in your work, your perspective will change and you will have a deep appreciation for the time and energy invested.
Amazing nature fact: Did you know that new plantlings sprout directly from a mother Heleconia flower.
I spend at least half an hour every morning and in early evening in my garden with my doggies. It’s a ritual that we all enjoy. I inspect all of the plants and flowers, look at what is blooming and what needs trimming or repotting. My dogs shadow me with great interest. When something is not thriving, I change the position with the hope for better results somewhere else. I have learned so much from nature and am constantly amazed by its resilience and its ingenuity. I have a deep connection with my environment and a renewed appreciation for my life. I am most thankful for the time I have to enjoy the little things. My outlook is positive and I have learned so much during this last year. My time is precious and I am lucky to be able to use it this way.
Tending to my garden is my metaphor for my life. I have learned to take the time and energy needed to sow the seeds with love. When you tend to your garden with patience, joy and appreciation, you can always look forward to the budding, flowering and to the harvest. When you invest your time and energy in something you love, you more than likely can look forward to a successful outcome. You literally reap what you sow. I urge you to sow the seeds of all things you want in your life and shower them daily with gratitude, patience, honor and love. In due time, your garden will give you back all the fruit of your efforts in abundance. The universe will be happy to comply with your wishes; you just have to ask, believe and you will receive.