From a walk in the woods to strolling through a garden, gardening helps us flourish from the inside out. Connecting deeper with ourselves and nature, gardening can be a healing and nourishing process. But take a walk through a garden that is showing signs of stress due to poor soil: stunted growth, yellowing leaves, inability to produce, lots of weeds. The garden looks haggard – or exhausted and unwell. Worn out. The same is true when we are stressed without the proper “soul” nourishment. There’s an essential ingredient for both the soil and our souls: compost.
How well are you nourishing yourself lately? Are you depleted and spent with nothing more to give, or are you overflowing with creativity and gratitude? Do you feel well-nourished and well-cared for, or do you feel like you are spending the last of what you have on others without any reserves for yourself? For me, this recipe ebbs and flows. At times I feel like I am living in abundance and filled with gratitude. Then there are times where I’m living stressed and overwhelmed. But the one thing I’ve discovered is what’s good for the garden, is also good for us. There’s an essential garden ingredient that is life-giving and has to be added frequently.
That ingredient is compost. We add compost to gardens to supply crucial nutrients that all plants need, while adding organic matter, loosening the soil, and making the soil easier to handle. When compost is added to a garden, plants will be stronger and able to withstand the stresses of the growing season because soil with added compost has the ability to hold water better for the plants to draw from during dry spells. Compost also improves the structure of the soil while supporting millions of living organisms beneath the ground. I love that compost also helps reduce harmful weeds and pathogens, allowing the garden to thrive, and it offers a buffer to chemical imbalances in the soil, helping the plants flourish.
That’s why I created life’s compost recipe. Use it to enrich your soul.
Life’s Compost Recipe
C―Create an intentional life not constrained by a tightly compacted schedule. Connect to those people who matter to you the most. Ask, “Who do I want to have a relationship with the most?” Be deliberate with your choices and deliberate with your schedule so you can begin to live the life you were meant to live, not the life others want you to live.
O―Observe life to find joy and contentment. Foster an appreciation for everything you have been given. Slow down and savor the moments. Wake up with an attitude of gratitude each day and dread will naturally be minimized. Record your gratefulness daily in some way―in your calendar, in a journal, or on a white board. Gratitude builds patience, joy, and contentment.
M―Make margins to create a buffer and establish white space so you can take time for yourself. If the words in this page were spread all the way to the edge, this would be impossible to read. White space around the words brings things into balance.
Where is the white space in your life? Is it in your morning routine? Is it in the evening when the kids have gone to bed? Or maybe it’s in the bathroom because you can lock the door. If your family schedule keeps you running off the page, so to speak, it will be hard to live with intention. Establishing a buffer will help you create a more nourishing life.
P―Prune and weed your “garden” to allow for new growth in your life. When you prune, it may feel as if you are cutting away something important, yet, the growth becomes more vigorous and the plant is able to sustain itself better and thrive.
Practice saying “no” to the things that really don’t reflect your values or nurture you and your family. It’s okay to pause and respond later if you are not sure. Maybe you need to cut out the things you may have been involved with for too long or trim back your commitments so you can have more time with your family. It might also mean removing the weeds from your life, those things that you know aren’t good for you, but you keep doing anyway. Removing those weeds can restore joy and energy to your life so you can nurture yourself and your family.
O―On purpose living means living your life to match your values. Once you give voice to your values, it is much easier to know which activities fit and which ones are cluttering your personal recipe for a nourishing life. Although it may be hard at times, the rewards are great. When your actions begin to complement your values, your life becomes more balanced, fruitful, and feels peaceful.
S―Surround yourself with “compost people.” Adding compost to the garden enriches what is already in the soil. Adding compost to your life includes paying attention to the people you surround yourself with. Good “compost people” are supportive, they listen, and they are interested in your life. Compost people are enthusiastic and grateful. They are people who aren’t afraid to be who they really are.
T―Take the “Ten Year Soul Test.” While healthy gardens benefit from “soil tests” to assess the health of the earth, you can also do a “soul test,” or assessment, to make sure the right ingredients are in your soul to create the legacy you want to leave. To do this, list what you want for yourself in ten years. Visualize where you want to be, who you want to be with, and what you want your life to look and feel like. Measure your life where you are right now against the ten year visualization you have created. Are you headed where you want to grow? If not, this is your chance to reset the direction of your legacy.
Brand New Book: The Mom’s Guide to a Nourishing Garden
This post is an excerpt from my new book, The Mom’s Guide to a Nourishing Garden. If you would like to learn more about creating nourishing garden and a nourishing life, my book is for purchase on Amazon. I wrote this book especially for the mom who craves simplicity and balance and the new mom who isn’t quite sure of where to start. Let my life experiences and mistakes help you create a more nourishing life. It’s a gardening book, a self-help book, cookbook and inspirational book all wrapped up into one.
Fruit Salsa Recipe
To add to your nourishment, here’s a fruit salsa recipe that’s perfect for a patio gathering or your own soul-nourishing alone time. Spread over pork, chicken and fish, or eat right out of the bowl with some whole grain chips.
- 2 cups diced watermelon
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- 2 peaches, diced
- 2 tablespoons jalapeño pepper, minced
- 2 tablespoons shallots, minced (or red onion)
- Juice of one lime
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- Add all ingredients to a medium size bowl. Stir gently to minimize breakdown of the watermelon. Serve immediately.