By: Tina Adoniou, Editorial Director
My father was a passionate gardener. Flowers covered our yard, and our family and neighbors were well fed on the mass of vegetables he grew. He would spend hours, sifting through the tangles of vines, getting lost in the ritual of cultivating and working in the soil. It was his meditation, his way to unwind and let go. He was always centered and content after a long day with his plants.
Eight years ago, my dad passed away. It was unexpected; the rug was pulled out from under all of us, especially my mom. She was forced into a new way of living, which included having to figure out how to manage everything my dad had always taken care of.
That first summer after he passed away, my mom had to tackle his immense landscape of gardens. She didn't know much about plants but she just dove in and went at it. Her journey over the previous months had built her confidence in her ability to just figure it out.
As she spent hours in the place where my father was most happy, she realized she was connecting with the cycle of life. Seeing the rebirth of plants that had withered in the winter brought her peace and helped her heal. She felt reconnected with my dad. Seeing this transformation within her inspired me to look more deeply at nature for wisdom in how to live.
Here are a few life lessons Mother Nature taught me:
Self care is essential
The sun sets every day, and with nightfall comes stillness, and a time to rest and regenerate. The earth gets several hours sleep a night so it can start anew the next day. Plants and animals prepare for harsh winters so they can come back to life in the summer. Remember to be ok with taking time for yourself and recharging, so that you can start the tomorrow excited for new adventures.
Everyday is a new beginning
Ever notice how the moon rarely looks the same, day-to-day? Every day is unique and ripe with fresh energy and a new perspective. Approach your days with the excitement and seize the opportunity of a fresh start.
We're built to be resilient
We see it in withering plants that come back to life with a little more water or sun, or maybe even being transplanted to a more nurturing environment. With proper care, we are built to bounce back and thrive.
Have your meltdown
Think of the power of a storm. When Mother Nature builds up enough energy, she brings us all to a halt while she thunders and pours, or blizzards, or hurricanes. There wouldn't be balance without these kinds of releases. There wouldn't be the amazing perspective we get once the storm has passed and the world is calm again. Let go, have your meltdown. Release your energy, and notice how life seems a lot more manageable once it's over.
Follow your gut
Instinct is our own natural born intelligence telling us what to do, it's literally defined as a natural response. Instinct is a feeling, no thinking required. Actually, thought gets in the way and often gets us in trouble. (How many times have you said "I should have trusted my gut!") Pay attention to that feeling, let it lead the way. You'll find you know more than you give yourself credit for.
My dad found joy in the simplest of things because he was so in touch with the world around him. It took time for me to be able to pause and really notice what was going on around me and what lessons I could learn from nature, so I could experience the same joy. I'm still learning that when I need some guidance, the answers aren't far from reach. I just have to keep my eyes and heart open to truly seeing what's around me, and trust that I already have what I need to live a full life.