People have imagined paradise as a garden for millennia. Certainly, images of gardens, with their complex interweaving of wild and tamed, can give us deep soul-nourishment, especially if we take a little time to imagine a garden of our dreams.
If you could use a little spirit-nourishment and inspiration, try these simple steps: you don’t need a trowel or even a packet of seeds, only a few minutes and the willingness to imagine. A ten-minute visit to your Dream Garden can feel better than a week-long vacation! Why wait?
1. Start imagining the basic nature of your dream-garden. Would it be stately or wild and tangled? What grows there? Are there fruit trees as well as flowers? Are there little winding paths or spacious promenades? Secret bowers and nooks to sit in? Large trees to lean against? How does it smell?
2. How do you feel when you go there in your mind? What does your spirit long for that this garden feeds?
3. You may come across pictures that remind you of your spirit-garden. I recently opened a magazine to an article on a beautiful old house and organic garden in Provence that I somehow instantly recognized. “This,” I thought, “is it.” It had soft, high banks of lush herbs, abundant fruit trees, a terrace where friends sat drinking wine in the setting sun surrounded by flowers–it looked like my idea of paradise. What does yours look like? You may want to begin collecting photos from lifestyle and gardening magazines, not so you can deplete yourself and your bank account trying to replicate them, but just for dreaming, for soul-nourishment.
4. Visit your dream-garden often. Learn its paths and byways. You may discover things you didn’t know were there: a secret spring, or a pool tucked away among the plants. Imagine picking a ripe apple from your sprit-tree. Imagine how warm from the sun, how perfect and heavy it lies in your hand. Imagine its sweet scent, the lushness of its flavor. Allow yourself to experience every pleasure you desire.
Adapted from Earth, Water, Fire, and Air, by Cait Johnson (SkyLight Paths, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by Cait Johnson. Reprinted by permission of SkyLight Paths.
Adapted from Earth, Water, Fire, and Air, by Cait Johnson (SkyLight Paths, 2003).