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The Garden ExerciseWritten by Kristin

Pretend you are a garden.

If YOU were a garden RIGHT NOW, how would you look?  I'm not asking how you WANT to look, I'm asking you for a reality check, instead. How would you look now, if all of the elements of your current life were represented in this garden?

What do you see?

Are the plants alive or withering away slowly?
Are weeds taking over the garden?
Do you see exotic and vibrant looking flowers?

For a moment, I want you to VISUALIZE. This means closing your eyes and creating an image in your mind. Sort of like watching a movie in your mind..

I want you to take a minute to close your eyes and look at your garden. 

Here is what you will need to do to prepare:

  • Make sure you are in a quiet room. If you are in your office, shut the door and unplug your phone.
  • Plan to take 3 minutes or so for this exercise. Be unwilling to put this off.  Do it now.
  • To quiet your mind and eliminate distractions, while you have your eyes closed, breathe in for a count of 10, hold your breath, and exhale for a count of ten. Do this routine for a minute.
  • Now that your mind is quiet and you are free from distractions, ask yourself this:"If my current life could be a garden, how would the garden look? What clues does this garden have for me?"
  • Now, you are ready to close your eyes and begin.  Take a few minutes for this VISUALIZATION and then come back to the computer to read the rest of this article.

Are you back?

How did your garden look?  Did you get a clear picture?

Now, ask yourself this (using the image of the garden you just created):

  • Was my garden a peaceful place to visit?
  • What was the best part of my garden? Did a particular flower stand out?
  • What part of my life did the MOST beautiful, vibrant plant in my garden represent? (thriving business, for example)
  • Were there dry patches of the garden? Could some of the plants use a dash of Miracle Grow or H2O? What did those areas represent in my life? (bad marriage, financial problems, etc.)
  • How could I make the garden MUCH better? What 3 things need to happen this week to improve my garden? (set up sprinkler system, weed, replant flowers in better locations/near sun etc.)

Does this seem wacky? I created this little game and have tried it out on many clients since I love to hear about their gardens, as a metaphor for their lives. The garden they see always parallels the life they are living. And, it is easier for them to see what their present life needs to thrive by simply looking at the 'signs' from their garden.

For example, one client had marriage problems.  Yet, she could not see it clearly at all. She learned to settle, I suppose. So, in describing her "garden," I noticed she had dry patches of barren, weed infested soil. When I asked her what area of her life this area represented, she quickly said, "My marriage. It has dried out."

"What do you need to do to enliven the dry area of your garden?" I asked her.

She replied with, "I just need to give it some attention. A lot could happen in that patch. First, I need to pull the weeds, though."

"OK, so once you pull the weeds, tell me how you would design this patch of land in your garden? If you wanted to make it MAGNIFICENT, what would you do?" I said, as her coach.

Then, she got excited.  "Oh, well, I'd put a bench there for sitting and talking. I'd plant colorful flowers all around and I'd make it sort of a retreat space in the garden. A place to hang out and be peaceful...to get away from the world."

Can you see what happened here? She just described her ideal marriage a place to hang out and be peaceful - a retreat.

So, she began to revitalize her marriage. And her relationship grew and flourished as a result.

Your life is like a garden. It needs attention, care, light, nourishment, etc. You can transform it quite easily, too. All it takes is some focus and imagination.

Try this garden visual for yourself, if you have not already.

Have fun with it!

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