The Garden Of Life

By Teo Spengler | November 23, 2021
Image by Julia_Kuleshova
by Teo Spengler
November 23, 2021

Feeling gratitude has never been easier for me than it is today, since I am happily resettled in my home in the French mountains and filled with joy and inspiration. Today, life reveals its secrets, a momentary glimpse only, but a penetrating one.

Today I see clearly that, despite losses and defeats, my life is like my garden, and it is up to me to design it. Whatever I plant will have its impact. I am deeply thankful for the hope that thought provides.

Seeking Gratitude 

They say that gratitude is good for the soul as well as the body, and I do believe this. The feeling of being grateful is healing, cleansing, wiping away the petty resentments of the moment, diminishing the sorrows and magnifying the joys.

But the act of seeking gratitude does not ensure that it will be found. Some days, it’s hard to dig deep enough to find more than a few crumbs. Other days, gratitude falls in great drops around me, saturating all it touches like a heavy rain in autumn. Today is one of those days.

The Garden of Life

This morning I sit outdoors beneath a China-blue sky in the Basque Country, the long journey from San Francisco behind me. The tops of my trees dance in the fall breeze. The leaves are just starting to turn yellow, and a few flowers are still blooming, a few roses, the hydrangea bushes, the geranium. I feel happy to have planted them.

It suddenly occurs to me that my life is like a garden. I sit with this thought as I watch the rock lizards do their pushups on the stone wall. As a gardener and garden writer, I have always been aware that a garden always reflects the work of the gardener; it is the result of the choices the gardener made, and the effort invested. It occurs to me now that life is the same. This is not the first time I have had this realization, but, as always, it fills me with gratitude.

Designing Our Lives

Maybe others have the capacity to hold onto their inspiring thoughts. Although I am a writer and record the concepts that feel important to me every morning when I wake, this doesn’t mean that I hold onto them. I see clearly one minute, and the fog covers the ground the next. That’s why I keep learning the same things over and over, grateful always when they revisit my heart.

Today, this morning, I see clearly how we are forever designing out lives by the choices we make. Just like how I decided to plant acorns 20 years ago that have grown into tall oaks, the seeds of friendship I planted in yesteryear create the landscape of my life today. 

Whatever I have cared about remains a fixture in the garden of my life, whether or not it brought me the ends I had sought when I invested the time and energy. The adventures I’ve had, the people I’ve known, the books I’ve written and the books that I’ve read have all left their marks on my life today. That means that the actions I take today will be what defines my life in the years to come. This renewed realization fills me with joy, gratitude and inspiration and I am ready to put my energy into today and leave regrets and losses behind me. 

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