Looking out of my window today, the sun is shining and the air is still. You wouldn't think it was January in England; but it is. I can hear birds singing and can see my neighbour out in her garden pulling up weeds and trimming branches. She's clearing away the old to make way for the new; getting rid of the dead to make space for new life to come through. Those of you with gardens will recognise the pattern of the annual cycle; the patterns of season following season, of garden chore following chore. But we don't need a garden to see that life keeps coming, that plants keep growing. It is the nature of life to keep going. And so it is with us. Our lives carry on from one day to the next, season to season, year to year. We don't need to tend the garden of our life for it to keep growing; it will just keep on. A garden left unattended will not fail, it will grow, each plant striving for more light, more space, and the vigorous plants will win, to take pride of place, basking in the sun.
So it is with our lives. If we leave them unattended we run the risk of them just happening, of allowing deep rooted patterns of thought and behaviour free reign to have their way.
It isn't this way with my neighbour though, and any of those who garden. They know that life will keep coming, that plants will keep growing and, if left unattended, will have their own way. They tend their garden to make it be how they'd like it to be. They step in to help the plants achieve their potential, they change the pattern of the garden's tendency to freely grow and make changes to enable certain plants to reach up from the soil and bloom.
I invite you to become a gardener of your mind, to create a vision of how you'd like your life to be and make it happen that way. But, as with the gardener, it's isn't just a case of having a plan, you have to be willing to get out there, no matter what the weather, and do what it takes for your life to be how you'd like it.
If thoughts grow in your mind garden that don't match the vision you have, don't let them get too big, don't let them take over, as weeds will. Be the person who tends their garden; be willing to take action to ensure you get what you want. Noticing weeds is one thing, stopping to stoop down and pull them up and get your hands dirty is another.
I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that your garden doesn't have to be trim and orderly; it can be anything you want it to be. It is, after all, your garden. But whichever you choose, be like the gardener who steps in to decide what they want in their garden, plan how you want it to be, know what you want from it and even how to benefit from it.
The good news is that, just like a garden, once you've planned it and made it be how you want, your life doesn't have to stay the way it is. You can change it any time you like, if you want it to be different, if you have different needs or just fancy a change. But you still need to get out there, to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Be like the gardener, be more hands on with your life and see what you can create