So I totally just gave away my takeaway with title, but bear with me anyway. I laughed at myself for using a gardening analogy, because even though I love playing in my garden, let's just be honest. I am not very good at it. This year was yet another checkmark on my box of miserable gardening failures. Why didn't I post many pictures of my garden this year? Because it was really pathetic this year, that's why. I have to remind myself of my own advice about being an imperfect gardener.
But you see, that's not really the point. Today's garden post is really about the garden of your soul. I've spent the entire month really taking care of myself, tending my own personal garden, and doing things that bring me joy. I've been doing a lot of art journaling. I've been writing. I've been taking naps. I've been exercising. But as I realized today, it's all fertilizer, and I forgot to water.
One of my most important self-care items is that I take baths. For me a bath is not about getting clean. That's what I use the shower for. For me, when I take a bath, it is all about cleaning my soul and filling my spirit. Now before you think I'm going all deep and spiritual, let me reassure you. I tried to do personal growth and Bible study in the tub. It doesn't work for me. No, for me, the bath is all about taking my mind off of whatever is on my mind, not thinking about anything, and just relaxing. I realized a few weeks ago, during a massage, that I don't always know how to relax, even when that's the task at hand. My therapist kept saying, "relax," and I kept saying, "I am," and then I realized I wasn't. Why? Because I was thinking about it. When I'm in the bath, I bring a book, not something that will make me think, but something that will make me not think of anything beyond the black and white print. I stay in the tub until that book is done. Sometimes, I take a stack of books, and I seriously will not leave the tub until those books are read.
What does this have to do with water and fertilizer? Other than I take a bath in the water, and I usually put Epsom Salts in it (which is a kind of fertilizer, I think- well, at least it helps plants grow).
With all this great fertilizing activity I'm doing to feed my soul, I forgot my water. I haven't taken a bath in at least a month. No gasps of horror, please, I still shower. But for me, that weekly, sometimes nightly, activity is what waters my soul. The fertilizer is great, but without water, my poor little soul has been starving.
I had a weird moment this evening. I was doing all the things I know to do to take care of myself. I even skipped a social event I was really looking forward to because I was having a mini "crap, I've been around too many people lately" attack. I was being really good to myself, and yet I just wanted to cry. I had this horrible feeling in my chest, and I thought, "there is no logical reason why I want to cry." But no matter how hard I tried to feel better, I couldn't. And then I thought, "I just need a bath."
As soon as I lowered my body into the tub, I felt better. I read a long book, and as I contemplated a second book, it hit me. The water is what sustains me. My regular baths are my way of watering my soul, and I haven't done it in a long time. I tried arguing with myself for a while, and then I realized that all the other good things I've been doing, that's the fertilizer. Fertilizer is a good thing, but if your plants aren't getting water, no amount of fertilizer is going to make them grow. They're just going to burn out and die. Which is why I sat here, for no good reason, wanting to cry.
Lesson learned. I'm not going to skip bath time just because I'm doing other good things for myself. I think we all have things in our lives that are our water. Mine just happens to be kind of literal.
Are you feeling unbalanced? In what ways do you need to water your soul?