05 July 2012

Weeding My Thoughts

Welcome to the July Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindfulness and Nature

This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have shared their experiences of mindfulness and the natural world. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

Sometimes, I have a hard time controlling my thoughts.

This has been happening to me more often as of late and I knew I needed some sort of outlet, a distraction that would help me regain control. I've always believed in the power of good, old fashioned manual labor to help anyone work through her problems and I can't think of a better place to labor than in nature.

I find that one of the best ways to silence my thoughts is to get in the dirt, literally. I had an opportunity to go to my mother's house recently and I was able to help her a lot with her very large yard. I shoveled and transported dirt, mowed the lawn on her tractor and did a decent amount of weeding, in addition to planting a few new plants.

As I gripped the overgrown grass with one hand, gathered it in a clump and sheered it at its base, I found I suddenly had no room to think of anything else. I became focused on the moment at hand, the weeds immediately before my eyes left naked after I removed their cover. I couldn't stop until I had made the whole area even. My mind was deep in this task, the same as it was listening to the sound of the shovel hitting the dirt or the feeling of the newly grounded plant placed gently into a hole. I knew I needed nature to help my mind and it came through, as it always does.

At the end of the day, I was tired. The kind of tired when your whole body has been working all day long and couldn't possibly do anything else. Each day I was there, doing this work, that is how I felt. And I loved it.

Being mindful of my thoughts enough to stop them from spiraling out of control is not always easy. However, nature has a way about her that always brings me back, back to a state of mental control where I can watch my thoughts without being consumed by them. Thank you, weeds, for being both a source of endless frustration and endless awareness.

***

Mindful Mama Carnival -- Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!

On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy #MindMaCar hashtag. You can also subscribe to the Mindful Mama Twitter List and Mindful Mama Participant Feed.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has found a connection to nature in her very own backyard, thanks to her chickens.
  • Healing Gemstones and Crystals for Children Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses which genstones and crystals are best used by children to support physical, emotional, and/or spiritual healing.
  • A Gardener’s Meditation Andrea at Tales of Goodness shares how she finds peace and renewal through gardening.
  • Weeding My Thoughts Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro discusses how nature keeps her in the moment and stops her endless stream of thoughts.
  • Grounded in Nature Rani at OmSheSaid shares her walk in nature, and through expressive words, shares this journey to coming home.
  • Embracing the Magic of Moonlit Nights Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares ways to embrace the magic of moonlit nights with your children and as a woman.
  • Meditation for a Mindful Mama Alinka at Baby Web guides you through her research on the science of meditation, its numerous benefits, and presents to you a life changing meditation exercise.
  • The Wild Within Naturemummy at Motherhood: My Latest Adventure reflects on the soothing qualities of wild places.
  • Nature’s Lessons in Mindfulness Tat at Mum in Search wants to bring the same mindfulness that comes so easily in nature to her relationships.
  • On Manicured Nature: We Roam in Small Spaces Featherstory at The Aniweda Dream shares her gratitude for her limited natural settings and her plans to expand her children's experience with the natural world.
  • Garden (Time Out) Meditation Do you ever need a time out for yourself? Amy at Anktangle finds that during a difficult parenting moment, taking pause to spend a few minutes outside is just the thing she needs to be able to experience renewed patience, focus, and energy.
  • Nature Makes Me a Better Mother Terri at Child of the Nature Isle could not imagine parenting without Mother Nature.
  • Natural Renewal Karen at Playful Planet shares her experiences of reneweal in the natural world.
  • Natural History Kenna at A Million Tiny Things gets out into nature, 200 years ago, and isn't sure she likes it there.
  • Nurtured by Nature Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares with us how being in nature helps her feel centered and connected.
  • Mindfulness and Nature Zoie at TouchstoneZ explores the connection between mindfulness and the natural world.
  • A Sense of Awe and Wonder Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the feeling she never fails to get from the natural world and how it guides her to the mindfulness she craves.

18 comments:

  1. As much as I am not looking forward to moving, I AM looking forward to the opportunity to create a new sacred space in my yard. Gardening, planting, weeding, cultivating, and tending to the needs of all plant life is so restorative. There really is nothing better than getting your hands dirty in nature! Loved this!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is so awesome Amanda - you are so right on! I can FEEL exactly what you are speaking here. It's actually something I've been thinking about quite a bit lately...because in my ways I'm so lazy! I love the idea of this and have experienced its truth and yet that getting motivated to just start the work is so hard sometimes. I really need this reminder of how totally worth it it all is...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard to get motivated when your motivation is consumed by other people, small people :).

      Delete
  3. I couldn't agree more. There is just something about repetitive tasks and simultaneously connecting to the Earth that sets my heart singing. Thanks for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! Mindfulness at its best :)

      Delete
  4. this is precisely the feeling that kept me working in horticulture for years. Being in the moment, feeling the seasons, not denying rain...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I live it how you thank the weeds :) I find that appreciation, right next to meditation is a wonderful way to center yourself and truly feel the joy of life!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely. I feel gratitude is so important for EVERYTHING, even the "weeds." :)

      Delete
  6. We have become such a cerebral culture, for good and bad. You're so right that getting back to manual work outside is good for us in so many levels - it gets us out of our head and into our bodies, into our physical power, and immersed in nature.

    I hate self help books that tell you to "control" your thoughts - it's something I tried to do for years without success. I like the metaphor of "weeding" thoughts. I came up with a metaphor about thoughts as birds which has really worked for me
    http://www.dreamingaloud.net/2011/10/thought-birds.html

    ReplyDelete
  7. I find still meditation very difficult. It's much easier for me to find peace in movement and I'm glad that you found your meditation, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I struggle with meditation almost daily! My mind races so much I feel its impossible to quiet sometimes, but working with my hands usually takes that craziness away. :)

      Delete
  8. You said it so well -- I find myself completing living in the present moment when I start an outdoor task -- especially when there is an area where I can get it all done in one session - I love the gratification of finishing a project.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel the same! My garden is currently half mulched and it's just annoying me non-stop!

      Delete
  9. I totally get how manual labor makes you feel! It's exhilarating to be so tired and satisfied after some serious work outside!!! While reading you post I was reminded how great it feels to haul and stack wood...not only am I out in nature, but doing something that will help our family!

    ReplyDelete