Monday, July 28, 2014

Life Lessons From The Garden: Smoothing Out The Rough Spots

I love to watch landscape architects make creative use of stones and rocks to add depth and character to a garden. For centuries the Japanese have been using stones in Zen gardens to symbolize streams and rivers while over in the English countryside cottage gardens and fields are still surrounded by stone walls that have been standing for hundreds of  years.

An interesting thing about using stones and rocks in the garden is what happens to them over time. It may not be apparent to the casual observer but to the experienced eye of a gardener the appearance of the stones eventually changes. After so many seasons of wind, rain and snow, the rough edges of the stones and rocks begin to round out, the surfaces become smooth and some even take on new color and patina.

As humans we are all exposed to the storms in our lives on a pretty regular basis. In the beginning the storms may leave us with the sharp edges of resentment, disappointment and feeling out of control, and our spirits may become grey and disillusioned, but over time we learn to pick our battles and just flow with the rest of it. Eventually our sharp edges can become soft and our spirits reflect all the colors of hope and promise in a rainbow.

The late psychiatrist and author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross once said that if there were no storms, we would never see the etchings on the mountains. The storms of our lives create our character and waters our spirit. They shape our future. It isn't always easy to let some things roll off of us without putting up a fight, but in the end our lives are so much smoother and more beautiful without all those sharp edges poking out.

What can you do today to soften some of your sharp edges?

And so it is.