Thought Gardens – Part 2

You have to be careful though of what’s blown into a thought garden on the wind, of what gets tramped in on muddy shoes and what’s likely to be wilfully thrown over a fence or carelessly dumped by some vandal. We can never thought-dump in another persons yard, or let them just dump in ours, no matter how good it feels to leave it and just walk off, no matter how much we might believe we’re helping others by allowing it. No, no, no. That’s what composting is for.

Sort the good stuff from the bad, and get help with that if you need it. Make a pile. Gather it up, and take it out through the gate to the place you chose beforehand for just this purpose. A little away from where you need to do your most present and attentive thought sorting. Carefully and lovingly upend whatever it is you’ve been carrying your stuff in, shake it to make sure it’s all out, good and proper. Then wave your hand over the pile and say firmly but tenderly, thank you, old opinions and judgements, things I once believed, ideas I had that didn’t work out, risks I took that failed, painful thoughts and memories, but you’re no longer needed. Time for you to go now. Time for you to turn to dirt and be outside my thought garden, even if just for now. Maybe I’ll be back for you, when you’ve become something healthy, healed and whole, ready for me to plant things in again. Thank you old thoughts, you stay here now, I love you, goodbye.

Yes, it’s exactly like a little burial rite. Good mind-compost making is a ritual, and it will help you to make it so.

Get out there every now and then, and check, because you never take want to take old, half-dead thoughts back into working garden with you. Not until they’re done cooking themselves up into something useful. Take your spade and gently turn them over occasionally, make sure they’re mixed in well and covered – not to hide them, just to keep them warm while they cure up into good dirt. It’s okay, I know it feels like a part of you is lost when you let old thoughts go, but just know they’re still there. You know where they are. You can see them if you need to make sure. But don’t bring them back in your garden too soon, not until they’ve lost all their venom, not until they’ve healed completely.

You’ll know when the compost is done. One day you’ll go out there, and the wind will have blown leaves all around the place and gathered up in the corners, and you’ll realise it’s been a while, longer than you thought. And you’ll bend down, and feel a kind of longing to reach in and take a handful, which is better than how you felt before when you came out here; angry, like kicking at it, holding your nose because it made your nostrils sting and water come from your eyes. Now, it will smell sweet, and like something things might grow in. You’ll smile at the loveliness, the goodness of it. That’s when you’ll know your mind dirt is all healed up again.

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