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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Growth and Mindfulness

In May, I bought a raised bed garden kit for my backyard. I've grown herbs for three years (dill, basil, and chives) alongside my house in the garden. I wanted more space to try vegetables. I researched plants on I drew out a map of where things should go in my garden and then I got planting. I found out that my chives were perennials and transplanted them from alongside the house to my backyard garden. I planted lettuce, Brandywine "Slicing" tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green and yellow beans (bush variety), cucumbers, bunching onions, parsley, and basil. I also got chive, dill, basil, and onion seed packs. Planting this garden is self-care for me. It's one of the things I love to do in order to Sharpen the Saw (Habit 7).

Tuesday I was out cleaning up my garden, removing dead leaves or pruning ones that got yellow/ spotted. I realized that being in my garden allowed me to be mindful. Many people refer to me as conscientious. With my conscientiousness and attention to detail comes, anxiety. I always worry I'll forget to do something. My list of tasks to complete is always playing through my mind throughout my day. Even if I have a schedule or wrote down my to-do list, my tasks never really leave my mind. I'm always thinking about what's next. But as I stood in my backyard gardening, I remained present. I didn't worry about what I had to do when I got in my house. Gardening has definitely been therapeutic for me.

Garden three weeks later. 
Vegetable and herb garden in early June. 

When I cam in from my garden, I realized a theme in my life: I get enjoyment from watching things or people grow. Whether it is the seeds and seedlings in my garden turning in to vegetables and herbs, or my students coming to me in kindergarten so tiny and leaving fifth grade, sometimes taller than me. I have been so excited each day to go out to my garden and see it a little bigger than it was the day before. My cherry tomato plant is almost taller than me. I have 7 cucumbers and 5 vines growing. We've had fresh beans once per week for the last three weeks.

I feel the same way about my students. I read my undergrad internship papers Tuesday. The students I had in kindergarten just finished fifth grade this year. They will go on to four different middle schools. I reflected on how much students grew from the time I met them until now and the obstacles they had to overcome to get where they are now. One student I had in elementary school didn't let many people in, but he let me in. He finished eighth grade this year and I wonder how he's doing and what he's up to.

Watching students grow is one of the things I love about being a school counselor. It's why I get up and do what I do every day. Maybe I still needed to witness growth over the summer while I'm away from students. I guess a garden, and a healthy dose of mindfulness each day is just what I needed.

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