During these times of social distancing, I’ve definitely had my share of bad days. Trust me, us practitioners are not given passes on this emotional rollercoaster. Bad days come and go, but…today was a good day.
In part this could be due to my change in perception around the idea of ‘stewardship’ in my life. By definition a steward is described as, “A person who keeps order, manages or looks after, or supervises a thing, place or being.” Now the thing is, we are all stewards. Stewards of the Earth first and foremost, but also stewards of our own life.
I personally like to imagine a steward as a gardener doing what he loves most – tending a garden full of his favourite plants, flowers, fruit and vegetables. A garden is dependent on a variety of conditions in order to truly flourish – the right amount of light, water, and nutrients in a specific type of soil. However even when a garden is provided with all these basic necessities, if it is not looked after with love and care it will not thrive or prosper in the same way as a garden that is.
Now, this idea of ‘tending the garden’ can be used as an analogy in many places in our lives. I feel that so many people (myself included) focus on what they want but don’t yet have. Not only that, it’s also natural for us to get stuck inside our heads with worry, regret and obsessive thoughts. In this fast paced society, with all these distractions going on in our heads, it is so easy to forget to take the time to appreciate and take care of what we have now. These worries and obsessive thoughts are exactly where we can start to look a little more closely.
If these thoughts are stuck inside our heads, that obviously means they are important to us. The questions I’ve been asking myself that has brought about such a transformative perception shift is, “If this is important to me…why wouldn’t I give it the utmost care and attention? How can I show myself kindness and nurture this like a garden?”
I encourage you to take a moment to journal and write down 3 aspects in your life that you care about. Perhaps, it’s an overarching principle in your life that tends to crowd your thoughts. Maybe it’s something you want to improve or make a change in. It could be anything.
Happiness and enjoyment. Your children.
Beauty and youth.
A material object like your car. Your pet.
Next, I want you to make a list of 5-10 things that you can do to ‘tend this garden’ with love and kindness.
Let’s discuss a few simple, common examples.
Finances are an essential part of society. Most of us are working to grow our finances in one way or another, as it gives us the freedom to live our lives a certain way. However, many people tend to avoid looking at their finances as it is a place of discomfort. But if this is important to you, then isn’t it time to start acting as a steward of your finances?
Look at your bank regularly.
Stop ignoring what is coming in and out of your bank.
Find a good budgeting app.
Pay your bills on time.
Get your taxes done.
Assign a job to every dollar.
Be grateful every single time you spend a dollar. You are lucky to have the money to spend when you need something!
What about beauty and youth? If this is something truly important to you then it’s time to start treating your body like a garden, both inside and out.
Eat lots of healthy oils and fats to nourish the skin (avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, grass fed butter and ghee are my favourites).
Avoid greasy foods, processed foods, sugars and fast foods.
Try to spend more time sober – it’s not just cigarettes that affects the quality of our skin. When applying masks, serums or moisturizer on your face, take the time to give your face a massage.
Try one of those jade roller or gua sha tools.
Spend quality time loving yourself for who you are.
You could choose to be a steward of anything in your life. Maybe it means being the best wife, mother or cat-mom you can be. Or maybe your focus is a material object
like a car or home? Remember that just because you don’t have that new car or house, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love and take care of the one you already have.
By focusing on future wants we often end up dissatisfied with what we currently have; we forget to enjoy or take care of our lives today. However, by changing our relationship to what is most important to us, our perception will change and we can watch the world around us flourish. This is a simple tool that can be used to let go of obsessive thoughts, to put one in the present moment and to truly enjoy the abundance existing today.
Honestly? This might seem like common sense to some people. But sometimes all it takes is a simple shift in perception to truly transforms how we live and enjoy our lives. Personally it feels great to get out of my head and take action. It allows me to care for and be present for what I have in this moment, empowering me to truly revel in the nectar of life.
Christine Woodlock, R.Ac DTCM