One of the things I’ve most enjoyed this year is the ability to return to my backyard and play in the dirt. We put in a garden tucked up among my perennials and roses and even put in an area for some of the larger things like melons. It’s been fun to go out and water things in the evening, check the growth of things and just feel a moment of pride we did it. It has brought us a family activity that has also put food on our table and brought us together over something other than electronics.
It’s been a few years since I was able to have a garden. Now just to level set our garden is small as I didn’t want to over do it and not be able to take care of it. However, it has been actually fun to have the time to work in the yard and see the fruits of our labor. I realize 2020 has been filled with more bad than good it seems but this small patch of happy has been a great well of fun for us. I cannot even explain how happy it made me to see our son out digging up carrots on his own. Simple, low stress and just feeling like it was the right thing to do in this time.
Isn’t the case with so many things in our life? Finding those simple things that don’t require much if any money and just a little time are some of the more enriching things we will experience. These are the times we cannot recreate and we usually don’t have a camera around to capture them but they happen more than we realize. I admit it breaks my heart at all the times I was too busy not to see these times or didn’t feel like I could stop long enough to enjoy them.
I believe we crave simplicity in our lives. We crave the quiet times and yet when we get them we’re not sure at first how to use them or let them fill us. What I found is it actually took me some time to like having a simpler routine and not feeling like every minute had to be filled with something to do. It was ok and quite comfortable to sit on my porch in my favorite wicker rocker and just look down my street. It felt good to walk around the back yard checking out how much had grown or pulling a couple weeds. Getting to this point though took some time. I felt antsy, anxious and well worried. Yes worried that I was missing out on something and yet as I’ve learned I haven’t missed anything.
Resetting our time to reclaim our lives has been one of the best things to come out of this year for me. It has brought a new level of living naturally that it really been soulful and rejuvenating for me. I don’t feel the need to constantly be doing or worrying. My to-do list contains more things that I want to do and I’m even able to focus on things more rather than multi-tasking. This time has made me appreciate the simple and yet beautiful times I already had in my life and make the most of those instead of overwhelming my senses with so many I couldn’t experience any of them.
We live in a world where we are inundated with things, activities, noise and more constantly. It makes us uncomfortable when things get quiet. We don’t know our own mind’s voice and are not sure what we should be doing. Yet when we allow ourselves the opportunity to relax in that moment amazingly we feel better than we have in years. We revisit things we once loved doing but at some point never had time to do anymore. We feel the messages from our body and heart and can actually take care of those needs. There is time for it now and we want to do those things that make us feel good.
In years past I would start out the year with the idea of growing a few veggies like tomatoes. Those little plants would start doing well and then I’d be off on work travel or other activities that would come up inevitably. Despite their best efforts to keep things watered while I was gone, my son and husband would forget and I’d come home to wilted or struggling plants. After a while it didn’t feel rewarding to keep trying because I didn’t have the time to do it right. I couldn’t enjoy it and wasn’t home long enough to care for it. I was sad about that but thought I was off doing things that would give me that time later. Now I realize I had that backwards.
Even though 2020 has been a stressful year with lots of confusing events I still am realizing it has been one of the best years. It has been the year that has afforded us the opportunity to reclaim our lives and time. For me that has been a fresh way to explore living more naturally with what really feeds my soul. That’s a whole new level of living that I knew was there but its when you experience it you know the difference in how it is done best. It isn’t about just craving simplicity but actually enjoying it, creating it, protecting it and nurturing it. It is making time our own and enjoying the simple things that are and have always been right there in front of us.
Like all I do in exploring what it means to live more naturally, I have used this opportunity to look at what works best for me. I am still working full time and while the travel has been minimal this year the obligations still occur that demand my time. Balancing that with the isolating experience of social distancing I have used as a way to get deeper with nature, even if it is only in my own backyard. Digging in the dirt, using organic material, watching plants grow, protecting them with natural products has all been part of this journey. I’m realizing I can carry outside the same products I use inside to support my family naturally. In many ways it is a practice of using nature with nature to make the experience enjoyable and promote the results I am seeking through the plants I’m growing to my own physical and mental well-being.
The time at the end of my work day used to be a period of time I felt tired, stressed and worn out. Now I look forward to that window of time because it means I can go outside, walk in the grass and touch nature. It feels good to inside and out to my very being. It is relaxing and refreshing. Now that the seasons are changing I am wanting this experience even more so I can see nature’s daily changes into Fall. While I love summer it seems peaceful, welcoming and comforting to see these changes where once they would make me sorry to see summer gone.
Reclaiming our time is not always easy but it is a process that leaves us feeling complete in ways nothing else can. Using the opportunities that arise for us, even when at first they don’t seem ideal can lead to these enriching experiences of simplicity that are most rewarding. The simple moments of walking in the backyard, looking at the landscape, feeling the sun set and being able to release stress in a grateful smile is what I believe is possible when we reclaim our time in living more naturally.
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