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Gardening, Blooming where you’re Planted, & getting Unstuck

Vibrant Pink Geranium & the words "How to Cultivate an Enchanted Life."

Recently, I’ve been busy digging out the overgrown parts of my garden. The parts I haven’t been paying much attention to for the last few years. Mucking about in the mud and mice and who-knows-what around the pond while I try to restore order and equilibrium to places filled with what looks like little more than weeds, leaves, and rot.

And, while I’m proud of the progress I’ve made in the past few weeks, the experience hasn’t exactly been my idea of a good time. Sweating through sunscreen as I chop down “volunteer” holly trees, wading into the sludgy green depths of the neglected pond, not to mention, involuntarily surprise screaming at a snake undulating it’s way off into the underbrush.

No, this is most assuredly not my idea of me living my bravest, brightest, and most feminine self. In fact, there has been many a point in the middle of the madness when everything has looked worse than when I started and I’ve wondered, just what the hell I’ve gotten myself into? Gardening isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s down and dirty work.

In the midst of all this, I’ve been thinking a lot about a mentor of mine who’s favorite line has to be, “Bloom where you’re planted.” As a gardener, you’d think I’d love the little idiom, but you’d be wrong. I confess, I have always hated it. As hard as I’ve tried to embrace it, I have never liked the implication that we don’t have a choice over where we stay or where we go.

Are we the gardeners of our lives or are we just the products of life? Do we get to have a say in where we’re planted? Because, as a gardener, I happen to know that flowers tend to bloom or die based on their environments, not their will power. Give a flower the wrong conditions, poor soil for its needs, or too little sun and the poor thing won’t survive, let alone flower. But under the right conditions? It will bloom it’s little heart out.

I don’t know about you, but I can relate. When I’ve felt most stuck in my life, whether it was a place, a mood, or in a pattern of behavior, the very idea of trying to bloom where I’ve been panted has seemed a depressing anathema to what I’m really craving: forward motion. Some things just don’t nourish us, and we should be honest enough to admit it. Sending deep roots into soil that can’t support you is only going to exhaust you in the longterm.

I will say this though, being the gardener of your life is hard work. It means knowing, not just what you want, but what you’ve got going under your own two feet. And how you can make the two meet. You can’t just pine for the garden you want in the future, you have to deal with garden you’ve got right now. And if you’ve been stuck for awhile, if you’ve been numbed out, or inattentive? That often means you’ve got a mess to clean up. Kind of like my garden.

And like my garden, what has been neglected, can be restored. We can all learn to make the garden we’re already in a place that nourishes us more and more over time. Not because we’re stuck there, but because gardens, dreams, and the lives we live, all tend to expand as our skill level and knowledge does, until, as one of my favorite blogger writes, we can “one day live in the garden of our own enchanted and resonant cultivation.”

You just need to know where to start. I suggest you start the way you would with any physical space that’s become a real mess. Take a look around and ask yourself what doesn’t belong there. What isn’t nourishing you? What’s pulling on your energy, keeping you stuck? The simply act of clearing out space, pulling out the weeds, whether it’s the literal clutter, or the metaphorical one, like old thoughts, bad habits, or even negative relationships past their prime, can make you feel more free in very little time.

And once you feel more free, you can take the time you need to decide what does belong there. What beautiful things can you plant that will nourish you, and give your the momentum you need to move forward?

Maybe you’ve always wanted to take cooking class, or you realize you need fresh flowers in your home to make you feel good, or more organization in the laundry room to feel calm. Maybe you’re ready to have a baby. Or start a career. Or retire. Start with the small things, they will lead to even bigger things. And again, take your time.

Clearing out the stuff that doesn’t feed your soul will slowly start to give you the room you need to pursue those goals and dreams. Better yet, when you get good at tending your garden, at clearing out the weeds, and nurturing the things you do want, there is a very good chance you’ll be rewarded with a bigger, better garden over time. And that, my friends, is the very essence of both forward movement, and how to live an enchanted life.



Sep 28, 2021

great read and so appropriate for me at this time. I feel like a groundhog coming up to see if safe to go explore.


Jun 29, 2021

Oh, I just loved this article


Jun 15, 2021

I just love this blog and these posts. Thank you.


Jun 15, 2021

Nice work

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