One of my favourite flowers is the Forget-me-not. A woman I worked with many years ago gave me a packet of Forget-me-not seeds, when we stopped working together, so that I will always remember her. The first spring those sweet little blue flowers popped up, I smiled and thought of the kind-hearted person who gifted them to me.
The following season, there were more and over the years, in some areas of our garden, there’s a pretty blue carpet that reminds me of friendship and kindness. I love how nature has so much to teach us.
Here’s something important we can learn from nature: everything we plant in our mind with our thoughts will produce some kind of result, just as it would if you planted a seed in the ground.
The question is what’s growing in your garden? Do you want flowers or weeds?
I love the question because it guides us to consider what we really want. I like to think of myself as a farmer, planting seeds and nurturing them, so that I can benefit down the road. If we want to feel good in life, it’s up to us to invest in the crops that will produce that result. I like to grow healthy crops with my thoughts and I like to weed out things like chronic complaining and gossip because neither one is going to help with what I want to grow and harvest.
As humans, we’re wired to feel safe, so challenging our thoughts seems unnatural; we have to work at this stuff. Brain science tells us that we have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts rolling through our minds every day and most of them are negative. If I asked you to pay attention to the thoughts that pop up, say for one day, I think you’d notice what I’m talking about.
We have deeply ingrained habits that at one time in our evolution served to help us survive. Take judgement for example: we love to categorize and compare, don’t we? It makes us feel powerful but judgement and separation, taken to an extreme have caused so many problems in our families and our communities. I think the most damaging thoughts we have are focused on judgement of ourselves and separation from others. Listen to how you talk to yourself with your inside voice. Left unmanaged, the random thoughts in your mind can take you down some scary rabbit holes. So, it’s key to catch ourselves when judgement pops up and reset to compassion and empathy for ourselves first and then for everyone else.
Another habit is holding on to bitterness, anger and resentment because it makes us feel powerful where we might otherwise feel powerless. Buddha said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
We can’t control life’s events and we can’t control other people. The only things we have control over are the thoughts we choose. Keep in mind that nobody has it all together, we are all beautiful works in progress and having a focus on empathy, compassion and kindness means that we will harvest tons of good will and enjoy more connected relationships with our families, friends and our communities. Plant love, reap joy and live well.
Currently a Wellings Ambassador and Living Well Advisor, Kathie was Canada’s
broadcasting sweetheart for almost three decades as well as co-host of the beloved television show Regional Contact. Kathie is a gifted storyteller who shone a light on characters and creative types tucked into small towns. Her love of connecting people, caring and sharing is inspiring. Kathie has authored two books with a third on the way; she continues to build on her annual event “Refresh Your Passion” and other workshops. Kathie’s priorities are to love what she does and live well.