Gardening for 'A Types'
I love gardening. I love everything about it; being outdoors, getting my hands dirty, seeing plants grow and flourish, removing those that don't and finding a better place for them, weeding through the spring and summer, raking the leaves that gather over autumn and winter, sweeping the path outside my front door and placing pots in the best position for sun or shade. I do all this not for show, praise or achievement, but for the simple pleasure that it brings. I have found I am in a different state when gardening, a flow, a zone, where time passes and before I know it a few hours have past and I only intended to deadhead a few flowers!
Last year I hit upon a lightbulb moment - a life changing lightbulb moment - where I was working through my values and where I find my worth. It dawned on me that most of my life has been about achievement, being seen to be valued and in working as hard as possible to feel I have worth. Whilst you may think this is a sad discovery, in fact it was completely freeing, and made me realise why I had put so much store in performing, perfecting and doing 'the right thing' most of my life. The acknowledgement of this part of myself allowed me to make peace with it, and stop the constant striving, control and competition.
According to verywellmind.coma Type A personality is defined as a person who may show the following traits -"operating at a more urgent pace, demonstrating higher levels of impatience, having a more competitive nature, getting upset easily, and associating self-worth with achievement." Whilst a Type B personality, in contrast, is the opposite - easy-going, relaxed, highly flexible and carefree. Understandably, A Types are more prone to stress, overwhelm and burn out and the associated health problems that come with this way of being.
Gardening for me, is the antidote to my default Type A traits. Like I say, it is not for show, competition or recognition, and the best thing - there is no list of achievements to be ticked off. The wonderful thing about my garden, or any garden, is that nothing is finished, perfect or complete. Nature is in a constant state of change and movement. My plants flower, fade and need to be cut back - sometimes within hours; the lawn is mown and looks wonderful for a few days, then it morphs back into its organic state, weeds and all. It rains (in Wales a lot!) and things become sodden and grey, then the skies brighten and for a few glorious days everything is lush and alive again.
There is something about nature, the great outdoors and gardening that transports me back to a child-like state of play, where there is no other purpose than pure joy and pleasure in the moment. As a child I collected snails in tubs and fed them grass, wandered through overgrown lanes and fields, built dens and walked rivers, all in a state of play, flow and being in the moment - until it was time to go home for tea! As an adult, I can reconnect with that part of myself through gardening and being in nature. We grow up, but we do not forget those things that are a part of our true selves - we just need to look, sometimes search, under layers of doing and learned behaviour to find these treasures and bring them into the light once again.
What are the activities that bring you into a state of flow or play, where you lose track of time? Do they link back to something you did as a child? I would love to know - add your thoughts to the comments below. I am not able to reply to you directly, but I will comment on what you have written, so be sure to come back and read the comments section. Also, let's spread the word about our community here - subscribe, tell friends and family and share my site and Instagram @iamsarahalexcarter.