It’s August and time for a new habit. I have been changing one habit at a time by focusing on it for one month before moving on to another. I gave my August habit a lot of thought. My other habits have been small steps and I have been very successful at making permanent changes. I feel great about the way this is going so far. I don’t want to fail at this point, but I also want to pick something that will be a stretch for me. I’m already exercising more and eating better, so I wanted to choose a habit that would benefit my spirit.
I finally decided that I would add ten minutes of gardening meditation every day. On days when the weather doesn’t cooperate, I’ll meditate indoors. I thought of gardening meditation for a few reasons. First, I am reading Walden and I fell in love with Thoreau’s description of hoeing his beans. It seemed like a perfect way to meditate. Also, I have a little Zen garden at work and I like to use it to meditate. Our gardens are in pretty bad shape this year, because we have been very busy. Spending ten minutes each day gardening definitely would be a big plus for them. I was afraid that this might be the habit that I would not be able to add, but August 1 came and I could not think of anything I would rather try.
After two days, I already believe that I made a good decision. While pulling weeds and cutting off spent flowers and cleaning up leaves, I focus on the word “peace.” I breathe slowly, work carefully, and concentrate on peace. Peace to the garden, peace to the ground, peace to my family, peace to our house, peace to the world. While I work, I can feel peace flowing out of me and into everything around me. I have not gotten far in two days, but the part of the garden I have done looks good.
When I was little, I hated weeding. We had a big vegetable garden and the weeding seemed like an infinite task. As an adult, I have always loved gardening…not so much weeding, but planting and tending to flowers has given me a lot of pleasure. This gardening meditation gives me a totally new attitude toward weeding. Weeding is a pleasure. Taking the weeds out and making room for my plants is a joyful experience for the first time in my life. Today, when I was meditating, I felt connected to the earth in a profound way.
August is off to a great start. I am continuing all of my previous habits: taking the bus to work, switching from coffee to tea, taking a healthy lunch to work, going for a walk at lunchtime, and now doing gardening meditation. I can honestly say that I enjoy each of these habits. They have each turned into a little ritual for me and these habits have enhanced my life more than I can say. I am changing my life for the better – one habit at a time, one month at a time.