Two of our favorite things we like to cultivate at Hope Grows are the growing of plants and the encouragement and empowerment of caregiver wellness. “Cultivate” is an interesting word if you break apart the use of the word.
For yourself, it is about fostering growth. In working with the earth, it is about preparing the land to raise crops. For some, it is about improving or refining something. In culture, society and the arts, it is about wanting to improve something or encourage change.
The Day-to-Day Grind
At Hope Grows, the amount of satisfaction that occurs by planting, nurturing and harvesting plants and how it sustains our minds and bodies is incredible. Not only does it have a positive effect on our wellbeing, it helps us to cultivate our thinking to a more positive one.
Every breath we take as we move through the tasks and demands of our day, caregiver or not, can put a strain on the beauty of who we are. It can cause us to forget what truly is important in life and at times, the stress of it all can hurt not only ourselves, but the people around us as well.
We get so busy with the day-to-day grind of what needs to happen, that we forget to take a notice of the beauty in people and nature around us.
The Beauty of Nature
There are many quotes and sayings that are constantly telling us to slow down and appreciate what is front of us. One that comes to mind is “stop and smell the roses.” How many of us truly stop and do that as we are hurriedly getting to our next task?
Looking into the beauty of nature and learning to appreciate what we find is one way of cultivating wellness. Louie Schwartzberg, an American director, producer, and cinematographer, is known for capturing breathtaking images that celebrate life. He reveals connections, universal rhythms, patterns and beauty and has been quoted saying that “Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.”
So how does one cultivate appreciation for not only the beauty that nature provides, but the beauty of us and others? I believe it is about cultivating wellness as you would cultivate a garden of growing.
The Cultivation of Wellness
Some of the ways in which we at Hope Grows cultivate wellness is by paying attention to our mindset and any negative thoughts that occur. When we are tired and stressed, we tend to complain and find fault. If we choose to pay mind to when the stress starts to affect our whole being, we can choose to cultivate something different.
At Hope Grows, we believe that we all have a starting point, as in a garden, a here and now point where we bring past and present to everything that we do; this is different for everyone.
We use the cultivating of plants to remind us of the importance of this. In our life, as in the garden, the goal of our journey is to safely and successfully not break down along the way. Our beings are about maintaining a balance with achieving a destination of nirvana, heaven, spiritual enlightenment, paradise, a state of grace. Whatever path one chooses to their destination, the journey should be about bliss and joy. As in a garden, the destination is to fulfill the successful growing cycle of plants, where the plants do not break down and the beauty of it helps us to cultivate appreciation and gratitude.
In the garden, we need to become aware of some conditions and early warning signs of stress. What is the soil like? Are we planting in the proper sunlight? What is the nearby water source? All these conditions, if not detected, can be stressors causing a breakdown in the proper growth of the plant. This is equivalent to recognizing our own personal early warning signs of stress.
Evaluate Outside Factors That Are Harmful
Conditions outside the gardener’s control can cause harm, such as deer rummaging through the garden with the goal to eat the plants, severe rain or drought and the ever-dreaded weeds. It is necessary to pay attention and evaluate those outside factors, so they don’t turn into high-risk situations that can cause further distress and, in some cases, burn out.
Take Time to Assess
If we experience some problems with the growing of the plants, such as invasive bugs, too much moisture in the soil or bad insects, we need to get the condition amended by assessing the situation. Applying this to our journey by cultivating the situations in our life can keep us on top of how to amend the growing of us. Have you ever looked back at your life and wondered how did “something” get this far out of control? Typically, it is from the lack of detecting, evaluating and assessing.
After assessing the growing of the plants, sometimes interventions are necessary. Planning to consult a professional gardener, looking for resources to help, putting up a fence and making sure the soil is the right mix so that heavy rains won’t flood the plants are ways to get the garden back in shape; helpful tools to assist with signs of stress.
All in all, we must be prepared for our journey. Just like a garden, having the right tools in place to amend any situation that the growing season will present to us is necessary to avert a spiral effect of stress that can spin quickly out of control. Change occurs when we begin cultivating something different in our lives. Begin by honoring your path with your destination of choice.