Thinning the Garden of Your Life
My least favorite task in gardening is thinning out the little baby seedlings as they rise from the soil. It always pains me a little to pinch out those tiny kales or beets or carrots. This year I even thinned out some sorghum wheat sprouts which surprised me with their veracity of growth.
I garden with two of my neighbors, who bought the sorghum seeds at our local co-op, and I thought pessimistically “no way will those grow,” but nature is resilient and amazing and will always find a way when left to her own devices without too much interference on our end.
Though thinning can seem wasteful or cruel, without the thinning, everything actually stalls. The lettuce can only get so high or spread so far. The full potential of the plant is stunted and stuck. Without the thinning, life is inhibited.
Though my life might look busy from the outside, with my four interconnected but technically separate jobs, I also leave vast moments of space in my life as well. Lots of my Friday clients ask me about my weekend plans and they are almost always boringly the same: farmer’s market, yoga, long walks, and attend to, and enjoy, whatever else arises.
I recently thinned out my yoga teaching schedule as well. I gave up my Friday morning zoom class for Studio 34. My regular students who sustained me during that pandemic by showing up week after week and practicing with me on Fridays returned to in-person yoga. I ended up with a very sparse and inconsistent class. The commitment was starting to wane on both ends and so I let the class go and have been enjoying more gradually-unfolding Friday mornings for several weeks.
It took me about a month or two of reflection before I uprooted that class and let it go. The thing about thinning is that you can keep coming back to it and gradually let go. Even in my outdoor garden, I tend to thin over the course of days and days and days. I don’t love ripping everything out all at once, but I find that I can tolerate working with a little patch of earth each day.
So to can you begin to thin out (if you need more space) a little corner of your life. Spring is the time of unfettered growth. Spring can be wild with new beginnings. But also those beginnings will correspond to the space you have allotted in your life.
May you harness all your potential for maintaining your life’s garden and beginning whatever you want to begin.