For many years now I have found myself entering into a peaceful zone when I garden and work outside in the yard. When I was single I spent many hours in my yards and I filled them with flowers and colorful garden art. My yards in the past were small to modest in size, yet I still managed to spend hours and hours wiling away the time and enjoying digging in the dirt. When my husband and I bought our first home together we were fortunate to find an older home, built in the 50’s, in a neighborhood where most homes have very generous yards and with existing trees and plants. Our back yard, sometimes referred to as the Fairchild Park by some family and friends, is home to a majestic oak, a giant redwood, a cherry tree, a plum tree, a pear tree and a pomegranate tree. We have also added a dogwood, a miniature Japanese maple, a red bud and other various plants and a stone patio.
This past week our neck of the woods saw rainy day after rainy day. I don’t normally complain about the weather and I usually appreciate each season for its own unique beauty and the gifts it brings with it for our natural world. However I was beginning to long for some sunshine. Saturday morning arrived sunny and gorgeous after a long rain all night. My morning began with taking care of some overdue chores like cleaning bathrooms, cleaning a cat box, getting some laundry going and cleaning the kitchen. After several hours of chores I began to feel grumpy and irritable and I looking longingly out the window. When I finally headed to our backyard to do some yard work there were still vestiges of the doldrums hanging on. As I began to plant some new flowers I’d been given for my recent birthday, and as our whole family worked together to finish clearing up some downed limbs into the green waste can or our wood pile, all the gray feelings dissipated and my disposition grew as sunny as the day.
After hours of hard work I grabbed a refreshing beverage, a magazine to peruse and I went and lounged on a patio chair. Ahhh, “Now this is the life!” I thought to myself. I also ticked off in my head the many of the ways I am so incredibly blessed in this life.
Now before life in the Fairchild household begins to sound unbelievably idyllic and peaceful I feel it only fair to share that there are times when I am in the “zone” of gardening and my twin daughters will scream, cry or begin to fight over some game they are playing. Shrieking children do not really fit into my peaceful garden world and this can be a struggle for me. Whining and shrieking children have the same affect on me inside the house too. In my perfect world I would be grooving to good tunes, painting, writing, gardening, dancing, swimming (let’s ignore the fact we don’t have a pool) and enjoying a peaceful environment. We can’t always have that perfect peaceful world, especially when we share our space with significant others, children and pets.
When I really begin to struggle with a chaotic (and messy) living space that sets my nerves on edge I try to take deep breaths, remind myself of what is really important, remind myself that this particularly annoying situation won’t last forever and if all else fails I can choose to do one of several things. 1) Engage the children in laughter, dance or some such fun to change the energy and mind set in the room. 2) Go outside to soak in the natural world or at the very least look outside. 3) Take a brief time out in my bedroom or my art room. 4) Retreat to the bathroom and hide for 5 minutes. 5) Grab a book, run a hot bubble bath and have quiet time reading for an hour.
I have also contemplated for many years the following quote: “peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
When I consider this quote I know that I have a ways to go in being able to remain in the peaceful mind set no matter what is thrown at me.
Do you have a peaceful place?
Is it a place that you can count on to help you relax and/or feel rejuvenated?
If you are feeling anxious, stressed or unsettled are there things you do that help you to relax, unwind, or feel better?
What if you are in a funk or feeling grumpy? Are there things that lift your spirit and help to center you again?