This afternoon I came home and saw the first cheerful bloom of our mini-sunflower patch. Nearly six feet tall, it looked me right in the eye. This seemed like nothing short of a miracle to me--not only because I planted it from seed, and it somehow turned sun and water into a gigantic flower perched on a human-sized stalk, but also because I planted these seeds weeks past the universally accepted "seed planting" date with no more green thumb strategy than my fingers crossed. But there it was--against all odds! My miracle sunflower! Staring me in the face.
Even though I wasn't sure my flowers would grow or even bloom, I kept watering and weeding. All summer. Even though my funky little flower bed looked a little pathetic and sparse, I kept at it. Some part of me had faith and hope. And then one day, they all started blooming like fireworks. One after the other--first my cosmos, then my zinnias, both also planted from seed.
Which got me thinking: Gardening is a powerful metaphor for healing the body.
Every time you think a thought, you plant a seed. When you focus on that thought--whether it is positive or negative--you are watering the seed. The more this thought is nurtured, the more it will grow, eventually into physical manifestation--whether positive or negative. Against all odds.
As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I see many patients who are affecting their own health by the way they are tending to their "inner garden." Interestingly, the body and its state of health is likened to the garden in Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine.
"Both the garden and the human body are microcosms of nature. The processes, cycles, and condition that exist in a garden can also be observed in the life of a human being."My advice as a novice gardener, as an acupuncturist, is to pay attention to the thoughts you are planting. Are they improving your health or diminishing it? Are you watering flowers or weeds?
-Harriet Beinfield, L.Ac. and Efrem Korngold, L.Ac., O.M.D
Between Heaven and Earth