Will you do me a favor and come along with me on a small journey? Can you imagine a world different from your own?
Close your eyes and imagine a beautiful garden. This garden is the inner landscape of ourselves breathed into existence in the external place where we walk about. In other words, we are standing barefoot in the rows and mounds of our lives, just as a farmer would stand on his fertile land. Suddenly our wounds and traumas are rocks in the soil, cracks parched dry, thirsty for soothing rain. The erratic thoughts, the worries that zoom through our minds without warning, are tall weeds, growing stronger and reaching farther across the earth as we feed them with fear. Love and courage bloom as hearty vegetables, offering sustainable nutrients to our lives. Joy and miracles are the roses, honey suckle, and purple iris, painting your garden with beauty. And between the kale plants and the peonies are tiny sprouts: new seeds growing steadily into plants, the signs of wisdom coming into existence.
In this world, the garden does not magically appear without effort. Instead, it needs nourishment, tilling, weeding and work to get it into a state of balance. The psyche (the human soul, mind, or spirit) is the farmer of this lovely, imperfect garden. The psyche needs a handful of different tools to work the soil. Two, in particular, are very powerful at transforming nutrient-depleted dirt into rich loam, that all the veggies and flowers can flourish in. Those tools are depression and anxiety. These emotions serve to mix the soil and draw up nutrients from the depths, so the seeds you plant will grow. Depression and anxiety, though they are often feared at first, are actually the catalysts for transformation and wisdom.
Once you’ve welcomed depression and anxiety into your garden, you need only ask them why they are here, and then let them sift the soil until you hear the answer from deep inside of you; this is how you will know that the nutrients are rising to the surface, readying the soil for the planting of your wisdom seeds.
Wisdom seeds grow into the most beautiful plants you could ever imagine. Wisdom plants are powerfully medicinal and cure even the most painful of heartaches and grievances. Wisdom plants do not die and they do not need to be fed extra nutrients. They can withstand both downpour and drought, existing solely on trust and certainty in their truth. A healthy garden is full of wisdom plants, and that is why anxiety and depression are so important. Without them, we might never know the depths of ourselves or be inspired to change and try new things in life. We might never till the earth of ourselves to discover the nutrients hiding beneath the surface. And most importantly, we might never find fertile soil in which our wisdom plants can grow.
Although it may not be conventional thought, I do believe anxiety and depression are the beginning stages of wisdom; now that you know that, don’t fear them. Let them come and do their work, and ask them what they are here to reveal, or teach you.
Happy wisdom planting, gardeners!