I started this blog after recognizing a need for a creative writing outlet, and true to my Type-A self, immediately began turning it into more deadlines and to-dos. Talk about stress that wasn't needed! I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much I was fretting over something that seemed so exciting at the outset.
This blog was supposed to be invigorating. When I sat down and thought about it, this blog was already reflecting my stress in the form of a reactive state of mind. In a few short weeks, I was already publishing for the sake of publishing something new and the content was lacking clear direction. Of course I want to be loyal to my readers by routinely providing something new to read but already this blog was not serving what I intended. As a result, I found myself here:
I'm not publishing.
I have multiple drafts of posts that I'm not excited enough about to finish.
I'm avoiding even thinking about the blog because it's one more thing I'm not getting done.
Neither myself or this blog were in a good place.
Reminding myself what mindfulness means
Honestly, I stopped to look up the for-real meaning. I could have started with "what mindfulness means to me" but I needed to take a step back even further and ask, "Is mindful really what I'm trying to be?" It's the About sentence on the Home of this site but I'd gotten myself enough off track with stress and deadlines that those words - Mindful gardening in Zone 7 - felt so distant that I didn't know what I meant anymore.
The dictionary defined it as - a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Okay, I guess. But I thought there was more to it than that? I dug through varied search results and decided that a Psychology Today magazine article ought to provide some meaningful insight. As I red the article, I focused on the word acceptance. That's what I meant when I started all this!
We all as gardeners face varied challenges but to me, my situation feels unique. I surely can't be alone in this vast world but I've found few of my challenges represented in the blogosphere. That's why I started all this... I was going to accept and embrace my challenges, share them with the world and in doing so, find the people who could relate. I hoped that my transparency would encourage others to try their hand at turning the soil, starting a seed, pulling a weed. I find gardening rewarding and challenging and peaceful and exciting all at the same time and hate to think others are waiting on the sidelines because they don't see someone overcoming challenges similar to theirs. I have to start with acceptance of my own gardening challenges if there will be something for others to relate to!
How I'll be mindful
Now that I've wrapped my head back around what I meant when I said "Mindful gardening in Zone 7," here's my commitment to myself and my readers.
I'll be honest about the challenges. This means I'll have to finally reveal my hot mess of a backyard and gardens. Oh, boy! There's a reason most of my photos on Instagram are close-ups and macros. Behind those shots I can hide the enormous mess of a variety of unfinished projects and the chaos created by cramming organic farming practices onto a suburban lot.
I'll be me. I'm a senior-level, salaried professional by day working somewhere between 50-60 hours a week depending on my current projects. I'm also a parent, a spouse and living smack in the "sandwich" - the period when you're taking care of kids and parents. Translation: I'm super busy, often frazzled, and my garden is where I center myself. I won't always hide behind the pretty flowers, ripening fruit or my gardening knowledge to pretend like this gardening thing ain't no thang.
A sub-bullet of I'll be me - I'll use my voice. I was first published professionally in (gasp) the late-90s! For my sake, please don't count how many years that is. Let's just accept that it was longer ago than it should be!!! Every publication, even when it's a brochure published for a company, has a voice or tone. One of the biggest struggles I've had with this blog is finding my voice. I've written for others for SO. FREAKING. LONG. that I can write a lot of different ways, finding one that felt like what I thought mindful should be was a struggle. I'm high energy, scattered and sassy and while that might not conform to perceptions of mindfulness, I've also never been a conformist. I'll embrace all my energies and write what I'm feeling.
I'll respect my and my family's privacy. I live in a suburban community of 90,000+ people that is part of a metropolitan area of 1.4 million. That's a lot of potential threats to myself and my family as well as the chance of innocent Looky Lous who could frighten us and my neighbors even if they meant no harm. I won't let being more honest with my readers mean that I have to reveal everything. I may or may not ever show my face on this blog or social media. I haven't decided. I'm very active on social media on a personal level which means it wouldn't be difficult to connect me with me and that would quickly erode my privacy.
I won't turn this into work. Maybe that should be number one? If I can't do this without enjoying it, I need to walk away. I love writing so don't panic, I don't foresee me walking away but I need to state that to myself so I don't lose sight of what's important. What's important is enjoying this blog and gardening while giving my readers and followers something to enjoy themselves.