WHEN LIFE IS A PILE OF…

This is an emoji of… well… a pile of poo. This is insanely popular for some reason. Margie has even received several orders for cupcakes in this design. I am using it for when our life feels just like a pile of poo. Your car breaks down, a relationship ends, you lose your job or even worse, you lose someone you love. Sometimes the poo really adds up in a hurry. At this point, life really starts to stink, both literally and figuratively.

We all have these periods. Even though it may not seem like anybody is having a worse time than we are, there are people out there who have it worse. Certainly not what we want to hear when the poo hits the fan in our life, or even worse, when we feel like the fan. However, a change in perspective can give us pause to think. So, your car broke down? There are people who cannot even afford a car, much less repairs. There are people, lots of them in fact, who have to walk miles every day for clean drinking water. It was Gandhi who said, “I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.” No matter how dire our situation, there is always something to be grateful for. Your relationship ended or someone you loved passed away? Remember they say It is better to have lost in love, than never to have loved at all. There are people who never find that special someone to love. There are people who never have their parents in their lives. Be grateful for every day you experience love. Even if that love changes it does not mean it has to stop. Try finding just one thing to be grateful for. It will lead you to find another and then another.

Even if you are having trouble finding something to be grateful for, you can still use the poo in your life. How on earth do you use poo in life? Here we are obviously speaking in metaphors, but using a literal comparison can help. We are talking about poo situations in our life as we discussed above, but we can use the same logic as we do for the organic matter itself. I do not recall if it was Meijer, Walmart or somewhere completely different, but I found myself strolling through the garden center fantasizing that I had the ability to grow things when what did I see? Poo! bags and bags of the stuff. Ok, here it was called manure and did not have an emoji on it, but the contents was the same.

That is when the light bulb went on. If we literally use poo to grow stuff in our gardens, why do we not use it for growth in our lives as well? Just like our last post when we discussed failure, if we just dwell on the poo in our lives it would be like sitting in that manure. Just try and picture sitting in a pile of manure and complaining how awful it is. If you were to plant a few seeds in that manure instead of just complaining about it what may happen? You would grow new and wonderful things! Things that would smell far better than the poo itself.

What does that all have to do with our lives when they seem…well..in the toilet? Plenty! If a relationship fails, you can use what went wrong to improve your future relationships. If you did something that brought about the end of the relationship, do not do that thing again. Maybe you were just connected to the wrong person. Going forward be aware that you may wish to start a relationship with someone more aligned with your goals and values.

Did you lose your job? Use that to brush up on your interviewing skills. Perhaps you should consider going back to school? Maybe taking that time to finish the book you have always wanted to write? When you start looking for a new job, apply in a field you enjoy and not the one that just pays the most. In that way the loss of a job can serve as the growth of a new and more rewarding career!

Did you lose someone you love? That is always hard and very painful. If you find yourself sad a great deal of the time, remember that is ok. If your heart feels broken, that just meant it has loved. Be grateful for all of the moments you shared with that person. I have an article coming out next month on this very subject. I can tell you one of the best ways to ease burden of loss is to try and replace some of the light that person brought to the world. Did your grandmother always make people feel welcome? Then you should do that. Did your brother have a great sense of humor? Then focus on bringing laughter into the lives of others. Another emotion that comes up when we lose someone we care deeply for, and I speak from experience, is regret. We find ourselves uttering the all too common phrases “I would’ve/I should’ve/I could’ve” Use this to motivate yourself to live in the moment and put all your love and effort into the relationships you have now. That person may be gone, but they can certainly help you make the most of those you love that are still with you.

Use the poo in your life my friends. Just like the manure in the garden center, use the poo situations in your life as fertilizer to grow new and wonderful things. Pain and challenge can be one of the best catalysts for growth.

YOUR MIND…THE GARDEN

image

Yesterday we talked about my recent “dropping the ball”. Today I want to share with you another way of looking at it.  This comes from one of my favorite speakers Les Brown. He compared the mind to the garden. In the garden weeds represent problems. So, in the garden of life we will consider weeds to represent the problems. As we can see above weeds, and problems, do not need any help to grow. They can even grow in the cracks in asphalt. If we left our garden to it’s own devices weeds would surely take over. That may sound crazy to a lot of us. Why, after all, would you go through the problem of setting up a garden, planting a garden and then let nature take it’s course. Oddly enough, that is what most of us do in our lives. We wake up like an accident. No purpose, no focus. Oh sure we plan to go to work, plan to make dinner and a few other things, but those are not part of planting our garden.

Think of a garden, you have to choose what you want it to grow by planting the right seeds. What ideas or projects have you planted in your own life? Then, in our imaginary garden let us say  we planted roses. To raise a beautiful rose there are certain things you have to do. Water it so often, make sure it receives enough sun. Perhaps add some sort of fertilizer. Life is no different. If you have a great idea or project you have planted you must cultivate the proper environment for that idea to grow.

One more thing we have to do in our garden. Weed. If we just left weeds in our garden alone and worried about taking care of our plants they would eventually crowd out and kill our plants. Same in life. You must deal with your problems, or pull the weeds, before they grow and kill your dreams and ideas. So what we have here is a balance. You must tend to your plants in your garden, or your dreams, ideas and projects in your life. You must also spend time removing the weeds in your garden, or addressing and eliminating the problems in your life.

So take a look at your life. Do you have a garden with nothing planted in it? Do you just wake up and go through the motions letting nature take it’s course? Perhaps you have some dreams and goals you planted years ago and never tended to. Perhaps you were so busy trying to pull the weeds out of the garden of your life you forgot to tend to .and fertilize what you were trying to grow. Life is a balance my friends. Let us all work to have a more beautiful garden in 2016

BALANCED GARDENING

garden picture

This blog is not called “Secret2anamazinggarden” but please allow me to dispense with some gardening advice. First you start with some seeds. Some you may have picked out, some you may have just found in the garage or the basement and thought it may be fun to grow. At least that is how it seems to work in my family. Now you must choose a place for your garden to grow. You pick a fine spot one which has both enough shade and enough sun for a good garden needs the right mix of both. Then you prepare the land for the garden. Clearing away debris, rocks and anything else that may inhibit the plants from growing. Then you plant the seeds, water them and begin the wait for them to grow. You know they will take a few days to a few weeks for the plants to sprout so you do not expect to harvest a crop the next day. Now as the days pass you continue to water and take care of what you have planted to give them the best chance to grow. Soon something starts to grow in your garden. If your luck is anything like mine they are called weeds. Sometimes they even sprout before the things we have planted. So you must work on removing them to allow the plants to grow. The next day you come out and sure enough your plants have started to grow! Unfortunately so have more weeds. You think didn’t I just remove these yesterday? So you water the plants and pull the weeds. Then you notice a small little worm starting to eat the leaves of your plants. Great you got rid of the weeds now you have pests to deal with too? So you take steps to remove the pests, water your plants, maybe even fertilize them a bit and pull the weeds. This whole production goes on for weeks, perhaps even months. After which time you begin to be able to pick some fruits and vegetables. Some plants only give you one harvest, others continue to provide as long as you take care of them.

Ok, so what does all this have to do with living an amazing life? The steps to growing a good garden are fairly easy to understand even though they do take a good amount of time and effort. Honestly so are the steps to growing an amazing life. They are also quite similar. Let’s compare. The seeds are like your skills and talents. Some you are just born with, others you may choose and wish to develop. The spot for your garden is like the life you chose. You need enough sun and shade. Time to shine and time to relax. Even if your plot of ground is not ideal with the right effort you can still grow a very good garden. So you plant your seeds or choose your skills and talents you wish to develop. Now here is where some people get off track. They water them once and expect a crop the next day. Everything in life takes time. Sometimes even longer than it normally should. A plant will take longer to sprout if the weather is cool and there is a lack of sun. So a talent may take longer to develop if some key ingredients are missing. Continue to take care of them both and they will surely grow. Now come the weeds which can be likened to the challenges that arise in our life. Often before our talents had a chance to get started. Now when the first weed pops up do we give up on the garden? I hope not or you will never grow anything. Still if we do not do our best to remove the weed it will continue to grow and take over our garden. The same can be true of our challenges and weaknesses. If we do not strive to improve them eventually they will choke out any chance of a good life for us. So now your plants start to sprout, or in the case of your life you begin to see your talents come to light. If you only focus on removing the weeds or improving your weaknesses and never water your plants or build your strengths they will surely die. This is a curse of even the person with the best intentions on self-improvement. They often see it as just “fixing the problems with themselves” That is only roughly 50% of the plan. You must also grow the good that is in you. Develop it fully so you can bring the most to the world. So we come to the pests. What do they represent in the real world? Well, simply put, pests. They are the negative people who come into our lives and begin to eat our dreams and hold us back from our goals. if we do nothing to eliminate them or at the very least reduce their effect on our lives we will have no garden at all. Now much like a garden more weeds and pests will always come up and at times it might seem frustrating but if we keep watering our plants and pulling the weeds quite often they will provide us with far more fruits than we expected. So work on not only removing the challenges in your life and improving your weaknesses, but growing your talents. Try to at least make that a 50/50 effort, but understand much like in a garden both will continue in order for us to continue you reap our harvest