Take a moment to settle into your seat. Close your eyes and imagine a beautiful clearing – Your skin embracing the warm sunshine, a subtle breeze touching and flowing past your arms, and lush greenery appearing before your eyes. Notice the gentle scent of flowers, soil, and wood enter and fill your lungs. Let them pass as you exhale.
Take a moment to appreciate this experience. In between your mind sharing its impressions, judgements, likes and dislikes, this is a place of quietness where you can be still. A deeper sense of you listens and watches this happen. You’re moving with powerful presence towards heart-centered listening.
Your Garden of Peace becomes available to you when you intentionally choose to settle inside, notice the mind’s chatter, and refocus on the stillness. Your peaceful garden is your place to practice your art and be open to the unfolding of your life journey, an essential part of reconnecting to heart-centred writing and living.
Preparing your space for your Garden of Peace rests in focusing on creating the right conditions; more specifically, on focusing on the essential elements that can ensure a rich yield and a stronghold against potentially menacing inner and environmental conditions.
Clear your space from debris, broken branches, and weeds – Try to detach from the clutter and noise in your life; keep what will serve the cultivation of your peaceful garden.
Your soil is the foundation for what lies within. Spread your soil in your open space, balance it evenly, and examine it to see what needs your attention.
To get a quality yield, we must continuously examine our soil, till it, and give it plenty of time to rest and to be still. As you set up your space, take a few moments to settle within yourself as you experienced above. Remain curious, and just notice whatever shows up. As you pay close attention to the sensation of stillness, be with it, and hold yourself from trying to do anything.
In the days ahead, Mother Nature will try to derail your calm, testing your resilience and willpower. How will you weather the rains, fires, floods, and storms that threaten your peaceful garden over the seasons? Preparing your field now – by continuously clearing your mind, minimizing negative chatter, and de-cluttering – will go a long way to creating the space and time for you to tune into your heart. For many, the heart has learned to speak softly, and through minimizing the chatter and intentionally giving our attention to our heart, we deeply listen to its calling. The more we show it that we are available, open, and willing to hear its call, the more it will start to speak clearly and directly to us.
When examining your soil, be mindful of its appearance, moistness, song, and scent. Each sense gives you direct access to your inner experience in the moment, and supports your shift towards heart-centered living. The purpose here is to be aware of the state of your foundation, so you know exactly what you want to improve to reap a good harvest.
To jumpstart your growing project and enrich your soil, add nutrients and fertilizer. Choose the right mix for the crop you plan on cultivating. For the Lifewriter, this could translate into giving yourself space right when you wake up to write, choosing to incorporate inspiring music, quotes, and affirmations in your life, and showing gratitude each step of the way. Try practicing The Morning Pages each morning: 20 minutes of non-stop, focused free-writing – on your feelings, thoughts, concerns, worries, and joy – to release and express the contents of your mind. In doing so, you will give yourself space to bring in more of what you love and cherish. This is your personal journal that does not need to be shared with anyone.
Remember: gardening is a long-term process, patience is needed to absorb the good and bad days along your journey. You will experience learning, setbacks, and growth at various points in your Lifewriting (growing) season. Be kind to yourself, fall for imperfection, and have faith that the foundation you are building for your reconnection to heart-centred writing and living will unfold in a meaningful direction.
By taking this important first step, preparing your field, you are well on your way to creating your peaceful garden, a place where the seeds you sow will bear plentiful fruit.
Next step – Planning the harvest.