I picture my mind like an abundantly colorful garden. The most powerful seeds are those planted with pure intentions. Love. Kindness. Compassion. Excitement ! Positivity. Faith. Confidence. Joy. Those are the types of flowers I choose to grow. Gratitude grows all the good in life. I’m grateful for the bees who pollinate with their unconditional love. I’m grateful for the sunshine whose light is abundant. And I’m grateful to know that I’m not the garden because I’m not my thoughts. I’m the gardener observing my thoughts float by like the clouds in the sky. I tend the garden of my mind through prayer and meditation which help me keep it free of weeds. Prayer is when I talk to God. Meditation is when I listen. When I listen, I’m able to get to the root of what I’m actually feeling. It helps me feel so grounded in myself through spirituality so that anyone’s presence or absence cannot disturb my inner peace. This is obviously much easier said than done, so it’s something I am always watering myself with through journaling and positive affirmations.
I’ve felt what the racing thoughts and high winds of anxiety feel like. I’ve also experienced what the low feelings and fogs of depression feel like too. I saw a quote: “H.O.P.E: Hold On Pain Ends.” Sometimes when I’ve been in the eye of the hurricane, it feels like it’s always going to be that way, but no storm lasts forever. When bolts of pain strike, I’ve learned it’s better to allow it instead of trying to outrun it because I’m not the One in control. Once the pain has taught me the lesson, it leaves me with the gifts of resilience, growth, and new light since lightning illuminates. My joy, cheerfulness, and enthusiasm rise just like the sun does after the downpour. And, sometimes, I feel happy and sad in the same moment and have learned that’s okay too. When the sun is out and it’s raining, that’s when we see rainbows!
Holding on is important, and I also feel healing comes from letting go. Letting go of what sometimes is so deeply rooted in us we forget how to. We can when we tune in and access our knowing which stems from our intuition. If we listen, it will gift us serenity which tells us when to hold on and when to let go. Letting go and surrendering isn’t giving up. It’s quite the opposite. It’s giving over to a power much greater than you or I who sees and knows all. Whose plan is of the highest good for all. Allow the seasons to change instead of gripping onto the past or feeling anxious about the future. When we’re present, enjoying the here and now is when we blossom. But nothing in nature blooms all year, so be patient and kind to yourself.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that planting trees under whose shade I do not plan to sit is true service. We’re all on this journey together. I love how in his book, Jay Shetty explains that part of the journey is inward to know God through meditation and prayer. There is also a parallel journey. A journey outward. We live in community to grow in sensitivity to the needs of others. If a friend is going through a storm, don’t be a broadcaster. Instead lend them your umbrella and share what you built your shelter from. The key is to always nurture both journeys–inward and outward because the highest purpose is to live in service.
It’s so important to me to shed light on my experiences with my mental health because the more we share, the more we cultivate an environment for authenticity and realness. Sharing connects our paths and gardens. Worrying if our gardens are perfect isn’t a credential to helping others. I’ve heard the expression: fake it til you make it. I like the one that says faith it til you make it, and I also like to say: when you truly believe, you’ll bloom. Fake flowers might look perfect on the outside, but true beauty comes from within. And real flowers have the sweetest fragrances which attract who we’re meant to help and who is meant to help us as well. We’re perfectly beautiful on the inside and out. Sometimes we just forget that when we’re our real selves, we’re perfect. You are already perfect just as you are and will blossom when you accept that.
We all have mental health, so it shouldn’t be anything we’re ashamed of or feel we need to keep fenced in and hide. I can’t control the weather, but I can enjoy the journey by accepting the changes and growth that each season brings. I ask myself: How can I water myself with love and kindness to grow so that I can then take my watering can that’s overflowing to help another person grow and shine light in their days too?