In the Garden of Your Life
There are many ways we can view our lives, and sometimes an analogy can be helpful. Though the use of analogy we can sometimes understand what's going on in a way that can suddenly make things very clear to us. One flexible way to think of ourselves and our lives – and one that has the advantage of being easily understood – is through the analogy of a garden.
Rejuvenating the garden
Firstly, gardens, like lives, can be maintained or unmaintained. In maintained gardens, we can rejuvenate the garden by taking out old plants, planting new growth and maintaining the plants we want to keep. Sometimes this maintenance involves pruning and cutting back, and other activities that call on us to be hard-nosed. The garden of your life requires work.
Active in the garden of your life
When we take an active stance to our garden, pulling out plants that no longer fit or ones we have grown tired of, they can be mulched and become a new source of growth. We can plant new things in the garden, giving them our attention as they take root. We can imagine them growing to full size, and what they will look like then and the place they occupy in the garden.
Some plants need care
For the plants that we are happy with, some care needs to be given so that they survive frosts. We need to fertilise and keep them trimmed. We have ideas about how each of these plants fits into the garden, and we don't want to have certain plants take over, or fail and not contribute to the effect we were hoping for.
You aren't in control
Although we might plan our garden and maintain it, we need to understand that we are not in total control. Weeds spring up and plants may not grow in the way we want them to. Sometimes unwanted plants grow and undermine other plants, escaping their borders and trying to take over. These plants can be ugly and hard to face; for a while it can seem easier to ignore them, rather than do the work necessary to contain them or even train them so that they can be a useful part of the garden.
Change is constant
The garden is in constant flux, and is subject to the seasons with cycles of growth and consolidation and all that entails. Our efforts to plan and control things can only go so far, and we need to live with that.
Like gardens, we can usually get along just fine on our own resources. However, sometimes we need a professional to help work out what to do next and how to do it. In our lives, this is the place that psychotherapists and counsellors can play; helping us get things under control so we can get back to maintaining things ourselves.
I'd be interested in what you thought about this – please let me know in the comments below.
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