So I had written this article on my music teaching website...then realized I never actually posted this on here while I was working on the Austin Thrive Hive page. So here we go!
For years, I would buy houseplants. I was very good with my budget in all other categories, but when it came to plants, I just kept blowing it. Even when I had over 400 plants and I couldn't take care of them all and I was completely overwhelmed, I would still buy MORE plants. I absolutely love plants, but it became a mixed bag for me: on the one hand, I had so much delight I would get from each flower, each new leaf unfurling. It touched something deep within me. On the other hand, I felt guilt that I couldn't take care of them the way I wanted to, fatigue and overwhelm and guilt that I was spending too much on plants (when I was barely scraping by as it was).
So when an opportunity came by to get a community garden plot, my own guilt and overwhelm made me say "that's the last thing I need!".
I was dead wrong. A couple years (and many guilty plant purchases) later, I finally got a point where I realized that I may never be able to have my own land or yard to grow vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, pond plants (you name-it-I-probably-want-to-grow-it) so I wasn't going to wait anymore and I was going to take the leap, even though in the back of my head I thought it was really going to send me into the deep end of regret.
I was so, so, SO wrong. I will forever be humbled (and over-joyed) that I made what seemed at the time like an impulsive decision.
When I went to my plot for the first time, I felt like a void in my soul had been filled. I felt like I was looking for one place to interact with nature, be in the sunshine and watch things grow my whole life and I finally had a place to do that.
I shrugged off that feeling. I thought "this is totally me just being a ravenous American consumer getting a short thrill with a new toy". Ouch, rough right? Remember I was living with a lot of plant-buying guilt!
Then something started to change. I noticed over the weeks that my anxiety levels started to chill out a little bit. I noticed a few months in, that I couldn't remember the last time I was depressed...I had bouts of depression since I was 18. Then I noticed that outside of the investments for the new garden plot, I hadn't bought any new plants. Then I realized that my deep need for nature, had shown itself through depression and compulsive plant buying. It was only when I satisfied that much deeper need within myself through being outside in the garden, that I discovered that thing that I thought would just be "one more thing on my plate" was EXACTLY the most nutritious thing on my plate that got to the root cause of my depression, was a lot of fun, gave me exercise, gave me vitamin D, helped me spend a more reasonable amount on plants and made me realize that I don't really know very much about what I need.
So the same interest in plants and gardening that created a lot of guilt and stress in my life, became the interest that stopped a shopping addiction and lifted years of depression. It happened because I stumbled on the deeper human need for nature in my soul. Do I forget all about this and sometimes look at the garden as a "chore"? Hell yes! Slowly I'll noticed a feeling of dissatisfaction with life creep in as weeds creep into the untended garden plot. Then I awake from my slumber and get back at it and feel fresh as a datura (datura is a great flower for the Texas heat, definitely better than a daisy...unless you're talking Blackfoot Daisy).