Tend to your own garden.

Oh, the experiences of life. We have all had experiences up to this point, some good, some bad, but all worthwhile and bringing us valuable knowledge and lessons. So, why not pass on that knowledge, those lessons, to those that we love and care about? After all, if it worked for us, shouldn’t it work for someone else?

This used to be, and still is although I try to resist, the way that I would interact with those around me; or, as I have come to discover about myself, it was a subtle and not so subtle way to control. Wow, I can’t believe I just said that. But, it is truth. And, the truth hurts sometimes.

I have been a social worker, counselor, therapist for my whole professional career. That is a sum total of 24 years now. In that role, I get paid to help people find out what they need to do differently to change their lives. I get paid, and I enjoy the work, of helping others to solve their problems, brainstorm solutions, give suggestions. Even though it is something that I get paid to do, I enjoy doing it because I enjoy helping others, respecting others in the times when friends are hard to come by. I didn’t feel like a social worker in my personal life, but I was.

My friends are so important to me, my partner is struggling so badly, if I just gave them the answer that worked for me, then they will feel better, be happier, feel more in balance. Right? Wrong, wrong and wrong. What a very hard lesson for me to learn. Because, by my putting upon my loved ones what I thought they should do, I was controlling; I was dictating; I was taking away their freedom to have their own process, to tend to their own garden, so to speak.

Sure, it is okay to want to weed someone else’s plot for them; it is admirable to bring seeds that you have had success with; it is appreciated when you have some extra manure you want to share. Problem is, too much shit is a bad thing. Too much giving of what you think will work the best leaves the other person powerless, helpless, and less confident in their own abilities. And, I have to admit, again, I cannot believe that I am doing so, that it can be great for the ego when something that worked for me, works for someone else. God, I hate admitting that, but it is true.

So, I have made a career now of tending to my own garden, and encouraging those that I know, those that I care about, to do the same. How am I doing this?

Well, I am doing it on the job, by not fixing everyone, but rather, showing them where they can find the tools to fix themselves. I am not their moms- I am a guide, a person just pointing them in the right direction. What a great feeling of satisfaction my clients have when I empower them to do it for themselves; I don’t want them to be thanking me anymore, I want them to be grateful to their own self-will.

With those closest to me, I am biting my tongue (literally, sometimes- that hurts!), I am pausing a lot in conversation, when I would previously have given a laundry list of ideas, and letting the other person finish telling their story, or until they have more than a moment’s breath for them to figure out what comes next. Tend to their own garden. Grow their own beauty. Mind their own patch of earth and sky.

As I write that, it reminds me of another thought. If we all just told each other how to do things, how to make things right, how to be happy and blessed, we would have a monochromatic version of my favorite fleece blanket. It would keep me warm, but it wouldn’t be much to look at. However, if I point people in the right direction, empower them to find their own way, their own answers, their own destiny, and we each take care of our own garden, our own patch of earth, what a beautiful mosaic of quilted beauty that would be. That will be. That should be.

I am learning, forever learning, and forever grateful for the learning………..

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5 thoughts on “Tend to your own garden.

  1. You know my favourite line before I say it but I will “when you have some extra manure you want to share. Problem is, too much shit is a bad thing.” This post is one of your best yet, the analogies you used brilliant! How true, so often we want to help so much that we disempower instead of empower, we do a disservice to those we love and hold dear. Question comes in, where is that boundary, if you see someone you love destroying themselves, do we step in? Guess it all has to be left up to human nature, pointing them in the right direction not showing…

    Fabulous post as always my friend, now going to read it again ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hugs

  2. You prompted me to go back and read again! I hardly ever do that; too self-conscious I guess, but this one was one of my favorites so far, I guess because the analogy so closely fits with what I am experiencing. Somehow, I did know that would be a favorite line of yours; probably even heard you chuckling over it!!!

    When those we love are making destructive choices, which I have been privy to unfortunately; I am continuing to learn to let go in love. Otherwise, it consumes me. I say my peace to them, then let go lovingly, not bitterly. It still falls short for me in my heart, but it is the best I can do for them and for me. Hugs, you. V.

  3. Aye I was giggling I say that often ๐Ÿ˜€

    Was interested to see what you said because in the past I have had to decide what is good and what is bad re when they are destroying themselves. Only recently did I decide to let them rather just carry on their own devices, pointed them in the right direction, now just have to have faith! Again brilliant post ๐Ÿ˜€

    PS Sorry about my speech its gone all loopy, long day I guess ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Many issues in my family, including addiction of various forms, has pushed me to ascribe to this new, healthier way of thinking. Instead of dwelling and obsessing about how they are not caring for themselves, I love them just as they are, trust that they are doing the best that they can in the moment, and be present for every minute that I can; time is too precious and short. It is sad to me at times, but necessary so that I can not feel so powerless. It really is all up to them. I hope that what I say helps. Be kind to yourself tonight…….rest and enjoy. V.

  5. It does, again as I said it is strange that you write this – it is the same friend I spoke about on the other post… ah so we live and learn, the lessons at least are always worthwhile for they make us both stronger and better people.

    Hugs

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