Inner Gardening: Autumn Practice
What Autumn gardening teaches us about how we can attract abundance.
At the fall of the year, my garden is overflowing with crops I planted six months ago in soil I prepared one year ago. I admit that it is a tremendously joyful experience to indulge in the fruits of my labors from the past year. It feels, and tastes, amazing! After all, I worked hard for a long period of time to cultivate a successful harvest. My abundance didn’t just happen, either. I had a vision, then it required preparation, the right accumulation of resources, the correct implementation of labor during the right season, and consistent tending and care.
Every time I step into my garden, to begin my tasks of plant caregiving, I become aware that I am doing more than just manual labor for the benefit of my kitchen table - I’m doing deep internal work as well. Gardening is meditation in action.
In fact, as a gardener, I’ve learned that it is nearly impossible to separate our internal and external landscapes. For example, as I weed my garden beds, I often find myself cross examining my life by mentally asking myself: “What overgrown weeds do I have in my life that are due to be removed?” As a yogi and meditation practitioner (and completely imperfect human) the knowledge of this multifaceted work sits well with me. The meditative work that I do in my garden assists my conscious efforts to become more present.
English poet, Alfred Austin validates:
If there is little separation between our internal and external gardens, then our joys in indulging in our tangibly ripened crops must be echoed in the celebration of our abundance we attain in the intangible aspects of our lives. Additionally, we are already aware that the preparations we make now procure future abundance. This notion only strengthens the correlations we make between gardening and life practices. This notion also inspires the correlation between seasonal gardening practices and seasonal mindfulness practices. For example: what better time of year is there to celebrate our intangible abundance, than the harvest season when tangible abundance surrounds us? What better time of year is there to clear out dead-ends and make space for new life, than the season we clean out our garden beds and prepare them for next years growing season?
I’d like to introduce you to a mindfulness practice that I’ve been doing since I started gardening. I call it the practice of “gardening our internal and external landscapes” or it can also be considered “mindfully living with the seasons”. The practice of living in alignment with the season is a beautiful and cathartic life practice that facilitates mindful living and connecting to the cycles of nature. It allows us to take cues from the natural world to do important introspective work that prompts valuable and enduring personal growth. This practice is not limited to just the autumnal season but is wonderful to implement during each seasonal shift. Although the general idea remains consistent, the details of the practice change according to the different actions each season demands.
As you begin your autumn season, I encourage you to follow this specific set of seasonal practices to see for yourself the benefits you reap from the seasonally-aligned actions you take. Outlined below is a list of fall gardening practices, as well as coordinating mindfulness practices that will ultimately inspire growth in your internal and external landscapes. Know that you don’t need to have a garden, or be a gardener, to practice this exercise. Simply observing the earth, animals, and the natural seasonal shifts, in addition to practicing the mindfulness exercises, will allow you to fully experience the benefits of mindful-seasonal living.
Gardening our Internal and External Landscapes: Autumn Practice
Fall Gardening Tips
1. Harvest remaining herbs, fruits and vegetables to use and store for winter. Give thanks for what you have helped the earth grow!
2. After the Equinox, decrease watering cadence and volume. The plants growing cycle is slowing so they don’t require a lot of water. Allow the natural precipitation to provide enough water.
3. Remove weeds and all dead plant matter. Mow leaves and add dead plant matter to compost pile. Don’t put diseased or pest-ridden plant material in compost. After first frost, remove dead branches from trees and perennials. No pruning - save pruning until late Winter.
4. In late fall, mow lawn to 2 inches, then fertilize. Before ground freezes, add soil amendments and mix in nutrient-rich compost.
5. Plant trees, perennial shrubs, spring bulb flowers, and garlic.
6. Stop trimming and fertilizing plants. Stop all supplemental watering. Allow plants to go dormant over winter.
7. During Winter, plan your garden layout and plants for Spring.
Fall Mindfulness Practices
1. Become aware of your accomplishments and abundance so far this year. Celebrate your successes and your personal value!
2. Begin to decrease external stimulation and fast-paced activities. Begin to replace overly exerting activity with increasingly gentle activity.
3. Take inventory and remove the elements in your life that are negative, stagnant, or that which no longer serves you. Say “No” to bad habits, relationships lacking in reciprocity, negative influences, and toxic and distracting choices. Learn from the negative experiences and allow yourself to let them go.
4. Begin to nourish yourself with healthy foods and gentle exercises. Nourish yourself with positive influences and habits. Ask yourself what you need and then meet your needs.
5. Begin to set intentions and record your goals that you will aim to accomplish during your next season of growth.
6. Commit to a slower pace of life by decreasing commitments that spur overactivity. Allow yourself to rest, nest, and become introspective/less outwardly expressive. Don’t take on new projects; instead, focus on completing current projects.
7. Throughout Winter, check in with yourself on your intentions and recommit to what you truly want and what truly serves you. Continue to gently nurture yourself. Clarify any goal milestones.
Attracting abundance requires much more work than repeating mantras and affirmations, or hoping for growth. It requires significant preparation, laborsome work, consistent check-in’s and nurturing, and perhaps most importantly, becoming aware of the abundance and resources that already surround us. Just like gardening has cycles of work, so too does mindful living. And, just like home grown harvests are the tastiest and most rewarding forms of nourishment, so too are the treasures we reap through our mindful actions.
To aid you in your efforts to mindfully sync with the autumnal season, I have created a workbook full of journal prompts that coincide with the mindfulness practices I’ve listed above. The questions you ask yourself in this process will inspire that deep internal work that will kickstart, or supplement, your connection to nature and a slower, more mindful, way of life. Download my FREE workbook here! If you don’t have access to my Archive, simply subscribe, then you’ll always have access to all the free resources I create!
What is your favorite way to embrace Autumn?