The world is a messy place, and that fact is made more evident every day. Wars are being fought, people are being persecuted for who they are, violence is rampant, and inequality is growing.
We have to be honest with ourselves- the world isn’t going to get any better any time soon. It might get worse before it gets better, and that’s a hard truth to swallow.
As humans, we have this innate need to fix things. When we see something wrong, we want to right it. This instinct can be very powerful and sometimes even harmful if directed in the wrong direction.
For instance, someone might feel the need to go out and fight in a war because they feel like it will help fix something in the world. But really, does the average person on the street actually have the power to stop what is happening? Probably not.
The truth is that most people are gardeners in a war; they live their everyday lives trying their best to be happy and successful, but there are bigger issues at play that may or may not affect them.
Warriors are strong and courageous
In today’s world, being a warrior can mean being strong and courageous in the face of fear, anxiety, and challenges.
Warriors are people who know they’re capable of more than they think they can do, and who aren’t afraid to push themselves.
They’re people who aren’t afraid of conflict or struggle, and who don’t give up easily. They don’t simply endure hardship—they fight through it!
As we mentioned earlier, the concept of warriors dates back thousands of years. In ancient times, a warrior was simply a person who could fight—it didn’t carry any connotations of courage or strength. For example, in the Iliad (a Greek epic poem about the Trojan War), most of the characters are warriors because they are able to fight. There isn’t much talk about courage or strength in that context.
Gardens need protection
In his book, The Warless World, author John Sommerfield writes about the importance of protection in a world without war.
He says that in a world where nations cannot fight each other, there are other forces that can bring destruction. These include corporations, financial systems, and environmental destruction.
We must protect ourselves and our gardens from these threats, he says. He calls this protection ecologically sound economics, social justice, and environmental sustainability.
Sommerfield also mentions the importance of protecting plants from animals: “Plants need to be protected from browsing animals and weeds need to be kept under control … To prevent the spread of weeds you need to devote time to keeping your garden weed free.”
Take time to protect your plants by keeping rodents and weeds under control. This will help your plants grow healthy and strong.
Gardens need pruning
Gardens need regular maintenance to stay beautiful and thriving. We call this gardening, and it includes things like planting new seeds and plants, watering them, weeding out the bad ones, and pruning the dead or damaged parts.
Just like you have to weed your garden to keep it healthy, you have to remove unneeded parts of your life to create space for what’s important.
In his book The Untethered Soul, mobile yogi and psychologist guides us through a meditation that helps us make the distinction between what is necessary and what is not. He calls this process “pruning the unnecessary.”
He says that in order to be in harmony with yourself and your environment, you have to be willing to acknowledge and accept what is necessary for your well-being. You have to be willing to prune the unnecessary in order to cultivate strength of character.
Learn from the plants in your garden
In the same way that you would learn about a new person you meet, you should also learn about the plants in your garden.
How do they look? How do they grow? What do they need to thrive? These are all important questions to ask.
For example, weeds can spread quickly, so learning how to control them early is important. By learning how they grow and how to manage them, you will save time later when you need to weed them out.
New gardeners often spend a lot of time weeding, which can become tedious. Weeding can also cause loss of soil structure and fertility in the soil due to over-washing or using the wrong tools.
Learning how to weed effectively and knowing when to do it is important for preventing this loss in soil quality.
Stay calm and gentle
Our culture values being strong and assertive, but that can backfire when you’re trying to calm yourself and your relationship.
It’s not about being passive or giving up, it’s about being present in the relationship and recognizing the connection you have.
Being firm and setting boundaries is a part of a healthy relationship, but if you’re already feeling overwhelmed, then it’s best to be gentle with yourself and your partner.
Dr. Vivian Dames says that when women are in violent relationships, they often feel like they have to work hard to maintain a sense of control. That has to come from a place of calm, though — or it can backfire. It’s better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.
Being gentle comes from a place of self-love, which is something that needs to be nurtured in abusive relationships. It’s important to stay connected with yourself and your inner self.
But also be ready to fight back
Hopefully, you will never have to use these skills, but it’s better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.
As a survivor, you need to understand that your trauma is yours and yours alone. You may want support from others, but only you can truly understand what you’re going through.
You decide when you’re ready to confront your trauma, who you’re ready to confront it with, and whether or not you’re ready to leave the garden.
Others may try to convince you that you should leave the garden or try to enter the garden themselves. Be prepared for this and don’t let other people make decisions for you.
Remember: It’s better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.
Don’t worry about things you can’t control
One of the biggest problems people have is worrying about things they can’t control.
Things like what other people say or do, the economy, politics, and everything in between can really get to you if you let them.
But you have to let them; trying to control things that are out of your control is a waste of time and energy. You’ll only get more frustrated.
How do you stop worrying about things that aren’t yours? It starts with a simple question: Who owns this thing I’m worrying about? If the answer is: I do, then why are you wasting your time worrying about it? It’s yours! You can do whatever you want with it.
This is such an important skill that I think every kid should have a garden for at least a semester. You would learn so much about who you are and what matters to you by paying attention to what grows in your garden and how well it does.
Plant roots of optimism
In this age of technology, most of us spend a significant amount of time in front of screens.
They’re televisions, computer and phone screens, tablets, etc. It’s very easy to get caught up in the constant flow of information that streams through these devices.
Many of us also have access to 24-hour news networks, which pump out constant stories about war, disaster relief efforts, crime and other struggles throughout the world.
As human beings, we’re hard-wired to be aware of danger. Constant exposure to these stories can create a sense of fear and insecurity that permeates our daily lives. This kind of negativity is hard to avoid and can take a serious toll on our wellbeing. Optimism becomes harder to nurture when we’re constantly being exposed to negative information.