What gardening can teach us about our bodies…

During the warmer months here in New England, a lot of us tend to enjoy getting our hands dirty in the garden… and with that at times comes aches and pains from all the prolonged awkwardness that gardening seems to ask for.

After all, it is not like it is very realistic to expect anyone to be able to take on “good body mechanics” when the priority is to not crush the plants they are both pruning and weeding around. A little bit of agriculturally inclined acrobatics mixed in with backyard “weight lugging” of odd sorts tends to be necessary at times…

Just like shoveling tends to be litmus test of our general fitness during the colder months, gardening and all it can entail serves as the same.

With that… just like the very reasonable demands of shoveling, the demands of gardening should really not bother any of us all to much. After all, if we have a good relationship with our body then we will know what the pace and manner in which we can take on just about anything that is as intentional and planned out as gardening is.

That said, this idea of a good relationship with our body is arguably a foreign one for many of us.

And yet, it is exactly that which gardens, and the act of gardening can teach us.

How so?

Well if you are going to have a garden, you need to both understand and care for it.

Depending on what you have in the garden you will quite likely need to water it… as often and as much as it needs to be. And, when it comes to watering more is not better…there is absolutely a “just right”.

You will also need to weed it.

After all, there are plenty of other plants that will just take off quite easily and voraciously when given the slightest chance, but they are not necessarily the plants you are looking to cultivate. If you do not remove them, they will your garden of the water and nutrients in the soil, and the plants you are intending to grow will not be able to flourish.

And then there the whole questions of whether the plants you are gardening are set up to thrive in the place and setting they are at. A plant may need to be transplanted, or other plants surrounding them transplanted in order for it to thrive. With that, some plants may need to be trimmed and pruned so that it can grow to its healthiest size and shape.

So what does this have to you body and having a good relationship to it?

Well for one, just like that garden, in order for you to have a good relationship with your body you have both understand and care for it. That means you have to love it, and you have to want the best for it. In order to do that you must be curious about it, and actively listen to what it may be communicating to you and requesting of you…and you must learn to give it what it both wants and needs for it to thrive.

Just like that garden, if you want it to thrive you must accept what is right in front of you exactly as it is…and be willing to work with it. Demanding your body to “get with the program” is just as futile as expecting the tomatoes to do the same… and no it does not matter the great tomato season you may have had a two or twenty years back.

And just like those weeds in the garden, the requests your body makes may not be very convenient…and it may seem like there are a lot. However, unless you deal with the weeds they tend to just grow bigger and spawn offspring. So, best to stay ahead of the game..

The same goes for watering; every plants needs a lot of it when first placed in the ground, and some plants need quite a bit of it for the whole season. But if your priority is to allow the plants to thrive, then there is no question as to what needs to be done. You have its best interests at heart after all…

Lastly… just like a garden, as long as you are alive your body will never stop growing, adapting and changing. So no, it does not matter if you weeded, watered and pruned at some point in the past…what matters is are you weeding, watering and pruning it enough for it be its best right now.

No more, and no less.

That said, it is truly rarely ever to late to start…just like a garden it is amazing what is able to flourish when given a proper chance to.

So this is a bit of what I mean when I say that gardens, and the very literal act of gardening has a lot to teach us about both our own garden that we ourselves are… as well as how to perhaps tend to it.

If you have any questions about the above, please do not hesitate to reach out. And if you want some raspberry bushes, just let me know… I seem to have an ever growing field in our back yard that I have to aggressively prune back each year.

Regardless, I hope you find the above helpful, and I hope you are comfortable, able and well.