Three Key Elements To A Fulfilled Life

The Compassionate Gardener, painting of a monk raking a tree stump

Image used with permission from The Compassionate Gardener by Paul Bond Fine Art

Once a week my husband puts on the same song, Claudio Monteverdi’s Zefiro Torna, and plays it through the stereo’s outdoor speakers. This is his announcement to the plants that he is going to make love to the garden. That’s what he calls it. He goes from plant to plant to flower whispering, “you are my favorite… and you are my favorite… and you are also my favorite.” This weekly ritual leaves our backyard blooming with plants growing in love and abundance.

This focused attention embodies three key elements to a full life.

The first is appreciation. Let me pause briefly by sharing that appreciation and gratitude are closely related sisters, but there is a subtle vibrational difference. Gratitude often has a feeling of overcoming some past struggle. As in “I’m grateful, these trees are finally bearing fruit.” Whereas in appreciation there is full acceptance of what is. We are in peace. We overlook any flaws that may be present to our ego’s critical eye and are appreciating things as they are. Appreciation is the recognition and the enjoyment of all that’s going with what we are observing.

We thoroughly love and appreciate our backyard space. We love the green vines that wrap around our house. We love the blooming apple blossoms that burst each spring. We appreciate the juicy oranges and lemons on our full trees. It’s like we live at a resort. We walk around our own back yard and say to each other, “it’s pretty nice here huh?” So nice, that we usually aren’t anxious to go anywhere on vacation because our standards have become so high. The more love and appreciation we bestow upon our sacred garden space, the more it seems to return its favors to us in the form of beauty and abundance.

The second attribute is one of Connection. Being in our sacred backyard space instills a connectedness to our earth mother, or Pachamama, as the indigenous people of the Andes call her. To the Oneness, we feel with all things in creation and the promise and expectancy to something more, something greater. Connection to what is breathing us, this thing we call life. Tapping into and connecting to this ever-present Life Force directly nurtures our Being, fueling us with rejuvenation.

The third attribute is loving nurturing. When we give our heartfelt attention to something, we want to nurture it. Like the lover who captivates our devotion, it becomes our natural desire to give all our time, energy and care to the object of our affection. The result is thriving – both for the lover and beloved.

One of my favorite principals in Spiritual Psychology is that “outer experience is a reflection of inner reality.” I know that our well-tended cared for, and loved back yard is but merely a reflection of the love that we are. It is the outer demonstration of the truth of who we really are inside.

What are you ready to appreciate, connect with and nurture in your life?