Mind drama is exhausting. It sucks up our energy, creativity, and joy. It solves no problems and does not serve us well. creates a lot of anxiety, as if we need any more of that in our lives! In many cases, mind drama is embedded in old stories that pester us repeatedly and thrive on reruns…conveniently, when we least expect it…even when gardening…
Every spring, I anticipate planting our pots and window boxes. I love strolling through the nursery to select flowers, the smell, and feel of potting soil, the satisfaction of the watching the flowers grow and flourish through the summer months while providing food for the adorable hummingbirds that visit.
Summers are short in Wisconsin. Therefore, I soak up every minute of it, knowing fall will arrive all too soon. With all my pots and boxes planted, the mindless, joyful ritual of watering becomes part of my daily schedule. However, June was especially wet so I watered less. Yet, I noticed that my flowers weren’t anchoring and taking off they usually do. My mind began to worry. Anxiously, I started ruminating about my flowers. I’d even go out and check on them as if expecting them to give me a sign like, “Hey, we’re doing great! Got some new growth and buds working for ya!” Mind you, these are plants I’m talking about.
Yesterday, as I made my watering rounds, I gasped as one of my box flowers was obviously on its way to flower heaven. It was drooping, the leaves had changed color, and the flowers were closing up. My mind launched into drama, “What did I do wrong?” “What a waste of money!” “I won’t find a replacement!” “Summer’s almost over!” “My boxes won’t look as good as the neighbors!” Total mind drama! My chest tightened, my stomach felt nauseous, and I’m sure I wasn’t breathing. I was in anxiety’s grip! All this because of plants?!
I had to go to the grocery store, which put space between me and the situation. My hands tight on the wheel, I parked and made a bee-line to the garden store next to the grocery store. I was determined to find flowers guaranteed to grow and give me the summer that I desperately wanted…and relieve the anxiety I was experiencing.
As I walked through what was left of the summer annuals, I focused on my breathing, what I was thinking, and how I was feeling: anxious, unworthy, not enough, “I can’t even grow flowers.” With each full, deep breath, I grew curious about the mind drama and the voices creating the drama.
The voices? Money, comparison, and worth. The money voice was scolding me about how much the flowers cost, how much money I had wasted, how much it would cost to replace the flowers.
The comparison voice was yapping about how my flowers weren’t going to look as good as the neighbors’ flowers, that people driving by were going to judge my flowers and think that I was a horrible gardener.
The worth voice was pointing its finger about how I can’t garden, can’t even make a few flowers grow, shouldn’t even try, I’m a failure, I’m unworthy.
The noise inside my head was deafening. I paused, took another deep breath, chuckled out loud, and proceeded to select a few replacement flowers that I was pretty sure would grow fine, combine well with the flowers that were thriving, and wouldn’t break my gardening budget. All that mind drama for $5.00 and the opportunity to plant more flowers!
Once I stopped all the mind drama, my emotions calmed, and my thinking cleared. I began thinking about the experience objectively and from a place of abundance. I love planting flowers every summer! Picking them out, paying for them, and bringing them back to their new home brings me so much joy. I love arranging them, securing them in their new summer locations, and providing them with water and nutrients. It’s gardening! I do my best. I am not in control of the elements, and I am definitely not defined by whether the flowers live or die.
Coincidentally, and you know this. It was never about the flowers. It was totally about the negative, judgmental beliefs that I had about money, comparison, and worth.
Old stories will come and go in our minds. They’re memories of the past that situations and circumstances in our present trigger when we least expect it. This is totally common and very normal. Whereas it’s important to acknowledge the thoughts and feelings that arise when we’re met with disappointment, such as when something or someone we’ve invested in doesn’t quite turn out the way we want, it doesn’t serve us to become consumed in the story, get sucked into mind drama, and spiral into a debilitating state of anxiety.
Once you notice an old story replaying in your mind, give yourself permission to recognize the thoughts and honor the feelings. It’s okay to acknowledge the story and feel the accompanying feelings, but just don’t attach to it. Honor the story and move on to something much more gratifying and joyful, like planting more flowers!