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The Mind Like a Garden

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“The seeds that are watered frequently are those that will grow strong.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Now more than ever, we need to take care of our mind.  Just like we use exercise and good nutrition to take care of our body and we take our cars to the mechanics for regular maintenance, our mind needs regular care.  Much like you can take precautions and change lifestyle habits to improve your physical health and to avoid any serious illness or injury, you can also take many precautions and develop practices to take good care of your mind.

[Be sure to read to the end for the bonus tips!]

The Care of a Garden

Here in Maryland, we have had a hot and sunny summer with the occasional big rainstorm.  The plants are full and lush and there are beautiful colors everywhere you look in nature.  Personally, I have been spending a lot of time out in my gardens.  It has been an extremely rewarding and satisfying new hobby.  I would even call it a mindfulness practice for me.

I say this is new because, in the past, I had no real interest in gardening.  In fact, when it came to our gardens, I would typically go for the lowest maintenance options so I would not even have to think about their care.  I loved having fresh vegetables from the garden that Les tended to yet, I never made the time to participate in its upkeep.  I did not notice the weeds popping up in the decorative gardens surrounding our house. I did not understand the draw to be in the garden.

Over the last few years, my new hobby began by collecting and enjoying houseplants.  I love learning about their needs, caring for them, and watching them grow.  It is a running joke in my house that I often ask, “have you see the new leaf!?”

This year has had some challenges for sure, yet the sun is shining, the plants continue to grow, and life goes on.  As I mentioned, this summer I have spent more time in the gardens than ever before.  Recently, as I am pulling weeds or trimming trees or bushes to help them grow well with the other plants in the garden, I have been contemplating how the mind is like a garden, considering how I can use these ideas as part of my mindfulness practice.  I often find that I learn from and am inspired by nature.  This specific thought cycle continues to come up so much as I work in the garden, that I decided I needed to write this article and guided visualization about it.

Imagine Your Mind Like a Garden

Even if you are not into gardening or have no experience with this task, you will be able to see the connection.  Let me paint a picture for you. I am approaching my house on my way home from my morning walk.  To my right, I see in my decorative garden, lining the driveway, various flowers, bushes, trees, and lots of weeds growing. I decide this is the space I will clean up and work on today.  I look to my left and see another similar garden in the middle of my front lawn.  I begin to get anxious about all of the work to be done as my mind moves from the gardening task to my work to-do list, and all of the things for our house and family.

It is not difficult for me to slip into a state of overwhelm when it comes to responsibilities.  I remind myself of the task I plan to start with and that I can only do one thing at a time and this helps calm the anxiety.  Gathering my tools and gloves, I make my way over to the garden, ready to get started.

The garden appears cluttered upon first glance and it is difficult to see clearly what needs to be done.  I begin to clear out some of the weeds, then step back to see from a distance what is there.  The next task of shaping and cutting back the bushes becomes more obvious to me once the weeds are gone.  Again, I step back and look at the garden.  Each time more is cleared out, the next step appears.  More weeds pulled, more cutting back of overgrown plants and a tree that was previously hidden appears from behind the growth.

Stepping back once more, I can see the beauty of each individual plant and the entirety of the garden.  Additionally, I see there is space to put in some other plants I desire in my garden.  Next, these plants need fertilization, water, and clean air to be healthy.  This cycle continues all summer:  clearing the weeds, cutting back overgrowth, planting new, feeding the plants, and gratitude for the beauty and hard work to cultivate the garden of my desire.  I know if I go too long without taking care of my garden in this way, plants will die, the undesirable plants will take over and the plants I do want will be overshadowed.  This is the process that will repeat itself every year.  If the steps are taken out of order or some not completed at all, the garden may become overgrown, cluttered, or plants will die out.

Taking good care of your mind is much like taking care of a garden. Here are the steps to take care of your mind as you would take care of your garden:

  • Clear the weeds and cut back overgrowth: Examples of weeds of the mind
    • Qualities you don’t want (anger, guilt, shame, etc.)
    • Behaviors you would like to let go of
    • Negative thoughts
    • Minimizing your accomplishments
    • Comparing yourself to others
    • Negative labels
  • Plant new seeds: Examples of positive seeds of the mind
    • Qualities you do want to live by
    • Behaviors you would like to develop
    • Positive thoughts
    • Celebrating your accomplishment
    • Gratitude for your good qualities
    • Your values
    • Dreams for your future
    • Things you are grateful for
  • Take care of the soil—fertilization, water, and air
    • Positive mindset practices
    • Regular meditation
    • Connection with yourself
    • Clearing the clutter of your mind
  • Repeat this process often

Know that “weeds of the mind” are unavoidable and happen to everyone. You can pull out the weeds while they are small and manageable and make room for the flowers you do want.  Mindfulness practices, meditation, and hypnotherapy are all great ways to deal with these weeds.  You can learn to calmly observe what is happening in the present moment and to recognize the difference between a weed and a flower of the mind.   Positive affirmations are also a great way to grow the seeds you do want.

Above are all parts of the process of taking care of the garden of your mind.  The more you take care of the garden of your mind, the more you can experience gratitude for its beauty and for your hard work.  You are well on your way to cultivate the garden and the life of your desire.

Start with this guided visualization/hypnosis practice to take care of the garden of your mind.

Additionally, to really get to the root of the weeds and begin planting your beautiful flowers, schedule a hypnotherapy session with me.  Here is more information about the method I practice called Rapid Transformational Therapy.

Bonus mind care tips:

  • Watch out for the weeds other people throw into your garden and any other negative influences.
  • Eat a healthy, nourishing diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Minimize/reduce stress.

Additional Resources:

If you are looking to dive into the world of meditation in 2020, a great starting point is our 4-Day Meditation Journey. This free program is a great resource for beginners and those looking to step back into the practice of meditation.

The Mindful Movement’s 5-week online course, Living Fulfilled is another great opportunity.  During the course, you will explore how to find your purpose, love yourself, and connect with your authentic self.

Additionally, here are a few other practices you might like to clear the clutter of the mind:




Ultimately, Les and I at the Mindful Movement really want to offer resources and support possible to help you.  Let us know how we can help.  Please feel to leave a comment with any other suggestions, comments, or questions for the community!

With love and gratitude,

Sara and Les

The Mindful Movement

About the author, Sara

Sara is the founder of The Mindful Movement and the owner of Coreworks Fitness, a Pilates and Yoga studio in MD. Sara is also a Pilates and CoreAligh Master instructor with Balanced Body.

Sara is passionate about helping others grow and live mindful, fulfilled lives. She helps others move better, feel better, live with a deep awareness, gratitude and their whole heart. She strives to inspire others to live authentically and passionately in love and abundance.

11 Comments

  1. Denise on 08/19/2020 at 3:42 PM

    Dear Sara and Les,
    I would like to thank you both from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful meditations.
    You are both truly inspirational and we are incredibly grateful to have found you.
    I have been spreading the words from what I have learned from you and hope that you flourish in all that you do.
    Yours gratefully 🙏
    Denise and Gareth
    East coast Norfolk UK
    Denisechilds@outlook.com

  2. Bob on 08/19/2020 at 4:01 PM

    Hi, I really love this analogy and enjoy the podcasts and meditations that you both publish. I feel that My weeds are there hiding as seeds and need a way to remove them as they do grow quickly. I look forward to listening to the garden visualization after I get off work! Thank you for sending the email to me Today when I really needed it!!

  3. Julie on 08/20/2020 at 1:55 AM

    Hi Sarah you have become a very important piece in my life. I meditate daily with you. The garden is my safe place. I have neglected it so much over the past years and now thanks to covid we are in lockdown. My job has gone and the stress has been left behind. I have learnt to live with gratitude which keeps me focused. My garden is again part of my life. Still very overwhelmed by what I have to achieve . I am loving this connection you have made as well . Kindest wishes Julie

  4. Kathryn Jones on 08/20/2020 at 6:01 AM

    Hi Sarah, I can connect with Julie above, I listen to you every day. I have never done meditation before and I know I am benifitting. I adore the garden of your mind and have started my 21 days. I have a major pressure point coming up in the middle of my 21 days and I know I can succeed with a stronger and more positive mind. I have drawn the garden of my mind on paper and I would love to build this garden over time actually in my garden. Thank you so much, Kathy

  5. Rosetti on 08/21/2020 at 1:07 PM

    Hi Sara and Les
    Words don’t seem adequate to express my gratitude for the tremendously positive effect you have brought into my life these last few months. I feel so grateful to have found your website.
    Love from Ireland

  6. Rosemary on 08/21/2020 at 1:09 PM

    Hi Sara and Les
    Words don’t seem adequate to express my gratitude for the tremendously positive effect you have brought into my life these last few months. I feel so grateful to have found your website.
    Love from Ireland

  7. Elizabeth del rio on 08/23/2020 at 11:48 AM

    I hace meditaré with different Couch es but i Jerónima comino to you Sara, your VoiceOver si soothinh and celar and beautiful, thanks, thanks,. But i live in panama in central América and i dont hace a credit card that si international so i take pnly the free lesiona (sorry too for my english). You tel are beautiful people, the light in me honores the light in you🙏🙏🙏

  8. Sandra Liggett on 08/24/2020 at 11:45 AM

    I too have turned to gardening restoring beds that had been damaged by animals, neglect and harsh weather. My husband and I sit each morning on a bench I repainted with our gathered dogs and gaze into our growing flowers proud of our work and delighting in our restored space. This meditation. Draws on that deepening experience. I am particularly grateful for the imagery about weeding! Thank you.

  9. Danny on 08/24/2020 at 4:41 PM

    I love this it makes So much sense.. thinking about it this way.. 🙏🙏🙏
    May all your flowers Bloom in to the Garden of your dreams..

  10. Tim on 09/11/2020 at 8:47 PM

    Much gratitude from the bottom of my heart 🕉💫🙏

  11. Susan Harrison on 09/13/2020 at 9:05 AM

    Hi Sara
    I can only reiterate the comments left by everyone so far. Over recent months The Mindful Movement has provided me with great support. The Garden of The Mind is an excellent analogy which I can relate to. It’s a lovely sunny Sunday here and so I am off into the garden!
    With thanks and gratitude.

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Sara and Les Raymond founded The Mindful Movement in August of 2016. They are passionate about helping others grow and live mindful, fulfilled lives. They have both experienced profound growth and fulfillment in living a mindful lifestyle. Together they help others live a more mindful life, deepening their awareness and sense of gratitude. They strive to inspire others to live authentically with love and abundance.

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