I’ve always had a tendency to want to fill things in. Like my garden, for instance.
When I began my quest to create a calm and inviting outdoor space I planted way too much. Within two years the grasses and lavenders and perennials were tussling for space. Reluctantly, I dug up more than a few and sent them to the compost bin.
I know. This is a common novice-gardener experience. But wait — there’s more.
Each year, as fall pruning commenced and winter approached, I’d feel a creeping sense of discomfort.
The garden seemed constricted. Naked. Shivering in the cold.
So I’d thumb through garden catalogues to find winter annuals to fill in the empty spaces and the empty containers.
Oh yes, the empty containers. God forbid they should spend the winter without their annual fix of pansies, stock, calendula, snapdragons and violas.
Simply put, I could not abide an empty pot.
And the trees. Oh, the trees. I went into a little bit of mourning as leaves shriveled and dropped, leaving behind sad, bare branches.
But things have been changing in me during the past few years. And this year, more than ever, I feel the transformation anchored deep inside.
Today, as I wander through this cold, dark winter garden, this garden of less, it’s like I’ve got on a new pair of glasses.
Maybe for the first time I’m taking delight in the lingering trumpet vine branches, bright orange blossoms long gone, forlorn seed pods waving in the wind.
I’m loving the once mad-blooming salvia stopped in their tracks by the freezing temperatures.
I also kind of like the look of the bell-less coral bells, made holey by the feasting snails.
And the trees. Oh, the trees. No longer do I mourn those lost leaves. Now I’m captivated by the view: up, out, through.
I’ve even done a 180 on the empty containers. Not only can I thoroughly abide them but I’m appreciating their shape and form like crazy.
So. The urge to fill in (in the garden and life) has waned.
I like the empty space, the less-ness of it all. It’s here for now and I don’t need to do anything about it. I trust that it will fill in when its ready.
And here’s the weird thing: apparently there’s some research to back me up on this.
A few weeks ago I stumbled across an article that suggested that instead of making resolutions and setting goals in the New Year, we might be better off embracing a philosophy of less. I can’t exactly remember why, though; something about decreasing stress and increasing awareness of the big picture of life.
Kind of flies in the face of conventional wisdom, right? Of course, I know lots of people say they don’t make resolutions, but I haven’t run into anyone who’s decided to choose less.
But you know, I don’t really need the research or the experiences of others to convince me of the wisdom of less.
All I have to do is look out my window or take a walk in my winter garden.
Now it’s your turn: Where is the wisdom of less showing up in your life?
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