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Beacon Senior News

6 ways to ground your goals in soil

Jan 06, 2020 03:34PM ● By Paige Slaughter

Our gardens are special places: square feet of possibility, blank canvases, spaces where we can create anything we have the patience for.

New years are like this, too.

Entering into this new decade, we are gardeners in every way. In January, we flip through catalogs of opportunity, dream and select seeds that will become bounties for us to harvest.

To garden is to take an idea in your mind and work alongside Mother Nature to bring that idea to life. To garden is to manifest. We sow seeds, cultivate and harvest. Gardening is a wonderful metaphor for setting goals, tending to what matters and seeing the results of our inputs.

It’s not just metaphorical, though. In gardening, we can embody our intentions and connect our dreams with action.

We can ground our goals in soil.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Here are six that can be supported by your garden.

1) I want to eat healthily.

Let’s start with the obvious, shall we? Growing healthful foods makes eating them much easier! As you flip through seed catalogs this winter, consider choosing more nutrient-rich foods, but only ones you’ll actually want to eat. If kale makes you roll your eyes, don’t grow it! Grow spinach, garlic, swiss chard or green peas instead.

2) I want to give back to my community and help others in need.

Amazing. If generosity is one of your resolutions this year, think of all the ways you might give back through your garden. Grow an extra row of veggies for a local food bank or soup kitchen. Save seeds for a community garden or school garden project. Grow flowers for cutting, and deliver them to a local organization, charity, hospital or senior center throughout the season. Even though we’re not getting our hands dirty this time of year, it’s the perfect time to do some research and reflection and see how we can give back to our local communities.

3) I want to be more eco-friendly.

Growing your own food is a wonderful start! Ready to do even more for our planet? Start composting with a simple pile or composting bin. Use leaves and grass clippings as mulch, and try out new gardening practices that conserve water like using cover crops and being intentional with watering systems. Use natural and organic fertilizers and soil mixes to keep harmful chemicals out of the soil.

4) I want to exercise more.

Moving your body is a lot easier when you’re doing it in a way that feels good. How can you design your garden to encourage feel-good movement in your body? Can you add weaving pathways that invite you to move through your space every day? Would raised beds make you feel more comfortable tending to your garden? When we make it easy to choose the healthier option, we’re more likely to choose it! Rather than coming down on yourself for not exercising enough or forcing yourself to do it, instead set yourself up for success by creating spaces that support your well-being.

5) I want to heal.

Maybe this new year is about reflecting on recent hardships, moving through it, growing and healing. Your garden can support you with this, too. Design your garden with your own healing in mind. Which colors and aromas will help you feel calm or joyful? How can you attract birds, bees and butterflies that you can observe and enjoy? Do you have a quiet, comfortable place to sit in your garden? For many of us, self-care and self-compassion are difficult to prioritize in our lives. But that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve them. Use your garden as your healing space.

6) I want to feel more connected.

In this day and age, connection can be hard to obtain. Luckily, we have our gardens: places in which connection is essential. Without connection, our harmonious garden eco-systems cannot exist. If connection is something you’ve set out to cultivate this year, your garden can help. Of course, the act of gardening itself sparks connection with Nature and with oneself. Gardening brings a natural mindfulness that allows us to feel more grounded and connected on many different levels. We can also connect through our gardens in other ways. Invite neighbors and friends to have lunch, tea or just take a stroll in your garden. Host a dinner or potluck centered around garden bounties. Give fresh produce to others and enjoy sharing your abundance as a way to connect.

Our gardens are living, breathing opportunities. Designing your garden is like designing Utopia itself. With all that power comes a chance to support the things we believe in, to breathe life into our values and let our resolutions take root. Integrate your goals, desires, values and resourcefulness into your planning process as you select soil, seeds and plant starts. With each intentional decision, you may find yourself closer to feeling exactly the way you want to feel and living life the way you want to live it.