Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Inner Gardening by Laurie Buchanan

Inner Gardening by Laurie Buchanan

My friend Sandi is a Master Gardener. Not strange then, that last week we were talking about gardening. But not your typical gardening. We were talking about woe-is-me gardening; the type that some people cultivate in their inner landscape that yields a bumper crop of weeds including self-pity, short-sightedness, fear, lack, low self-esteem and complacency.

That same week I shared with Terrill of Creative Potager, a quote by Frank Lloyd Wright, the father of organic architecture. He said,

The reality of a building is the space within. And what you put into that space will affect how you live in it and what you become. Don’t clutter the place with stuff that does not ennoble it.” 

His point is that it’s the details that express the whole. I believe this is equally true of our inner landscape; our inner garden. If we want to live a life that’s positive, uplifting, constructive and healing, it’s here that we need to cultivate a bumper crop of emotions, feelings and values such as peace of mind, compassion, joy, courage, gratitude and humor.


So tell me, how does your garden grow?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               ~ Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All rights reserved 

37 thoughts on “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

  1. Laurie – What a lovely post, and how appropriate that you planted it here just in time for spring! I love the way you gently sowed the seeds of truth into the words you shared. I especially appreciated the reminder that we are ultimately responsible for what emotions we choose to cultivate within our inner emotional landscape.

    Where we place our focus and energy determines what flourishes within our garden. What a nice reminder that it’s time to turn over the soil and make a decision about what it is that we want to plant within our garden today, so that we can tend and nurture it to full bloom.

    Scraggly weeds and thorns, or generous colorful blooms?

    Well, when you put it that way, the choice seems obvious!

    • Nancy – I’m so glad you dropped by this morning. You make an excellent point when you say, “Where we place our focus and energy determines what flourishes within our garden.” Have a flower-filled weekend!

  2. Thank you. Beautiful food for thought. I can say that my garden THRIVES in a warmer climate, sometimes another country. Another thought is about how seemingly challenging (toxic) conditions, such as fire in the forest (stress), downpours during a storm (feeling overwhelmed) and fertilizing with manure (stinky situation) can make us thrive when we are past it. There is always a blessing embedded.

    • Lisa – I know from recent up-close-and-personal experience that your garden indeed thrives in warmer climates. For those of you who don’t know Lisa, she’s the friend whose home we rented March 3-10 when we went to Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. I highly encourage you to take a VIRTUAL TOUR OF HER HOME.

      I, too, have experienced what you shared, “… how seemingly challenging (toxic) conditions, such as fire in the forest (stress), downpours during a storm (feeling overwhelmed) and fertilizing with manure (stinky situation) can make us thrive when we are past it. There is always a blessing embedded.” I am so glad you stopped by and sowed more beautiful flowers — thank you!

  3. Laurie,

    Thank you for this “gardening” tip, it is not that I am not aware of this inner garden in which you and Frank Lloyd Wright speak. It seem my garden has gone wild and uncared for a tad bit too long that is why I had sought your hearts advise to guide me in revitalizing my inner/outer garden…
    In the light of that I am beginning to feed my inner garden with a wealth of awakening knowledge of healthy eating, choosing Whole Foods, getting plenty of fresh air, taking longer fuller breaths, drinking thus far only water with lemon for the past month, keeping the mind clear and fresh with new thoughts, and worthy actions…
    I actually cleaned up my veggie garden last week, to prepare for turning of the soil and new plants…

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Jeff – Some of the most beautiful gardens I’ve seen are wild and unruly — weed free — but glorious in their abandon! [on a side note, that packet goes to the post office today]. Have a colorful weekend!

  4. Being a gardener that typical has weeds in my garden and in my mind – especially when I wake up. THANKS for this post Laurie!!! And wow I really love Terrill’s post about the creation in each day. Awesome. Now off to dance my rose hips off. har har har


    • Beth – Having been in guest in your home many times, I know from personal experience that your garden is beautiful. I’m glad that you made it over to Terrill’s Creative Potager blog. It’s great — so much so that I have a subscription to it. She posts a “Sprout Question” Monday through Friday. And for those of you who don’t know Beth, I recommend that you visit her Celebration Goddess blog and website. When she says she’s off to “dance her rose hips” off, she means it — literally!

  5. My thoughts, like spark, ride on winged surprises,
    carrying a single laughter.
    The tree gazes in love at its own beautiful shadow
    which yet it never can grasp.

  6. I keep coming back here to see how you have set things up so I can get a better idea of how I want things to look on my WordPress blog. Fortunately, I also get some wisdom every time I come! Growing my inner garden is a concept I had not thought about: what do I want to plant? what do I want to grow? how will I feed my “plants”? what will I feed them? I have a dozen questions for you about making things happen on the WordPress site, but am trying to learn by trial and error (a lot of trial – sigh). But this posting reminds me that on my blog I will be reflecting what I have planted in my inner garden, so I am blessed to have found this here today.

    • Barbara – I’m glad you stopped by as well, and left such good questions for the rest of us to ponder! If I’ve got an answer to a WordPress question, I’m happy to share it. The one thing you need to be sure to do is go to the “Widgets” and put in a “Subscription” block. That way, when people sign up, they will receive an automatic notice every time you post. Speaking of which … I hope you’ve subscribed to SPEAKING FROM THE HEART. I post every-other-day; a subscription will save you the effort of having to check manually.

  7. Laurie, this blog is very timely! I looked at a patch in my garden today, overgrown with weeds, and was surprised at the thoughts and emotions that rushed through my mind – the grass has suffered in the unexpected cold of this winter, but the weeds have thrived.
    Perhaps nature is taking over from the cultivation of the human?

    The weeds look beautiful to me; because it is our too-civilized eye that sees them as weeds and not as wild flowers! Ah Sandi, I need a refresher course with you, I think.

    But as to your question, Laurie, my inner garden is vibrant; and perhaps now the outer garden will seem so too.
    Happy Spring!

    • Meenakshi – On March 10th when we had a short layover at the Miami airport we were astounded at how unseasonably cold it was. I can well imagine you’re grass isn’t doing well — it’s used to warm and toasty weather. I agree with you, we would ALL do well to take a refresher course with Sandi. I’ve been applying the thumb screws as it relates to her starting a WordPress blog so we can enjoy her wit and wisdom on a regular basis!

  8. My inner garden was in hibernation for the morning. Got up then did a few things, then went back to sleep, as if for the long winter. My husband and son are away this morning which made it very quiet and peaceful.
    All your posts are very beautiful and life giving, just like the picture of flowers.
    I thought it interesting in thinking about those weeds. Sometimes they can be such crafty creatures to disguise themselves with the most beautiful flowers, only to be a weed that should be pulled and thrown out to make room for the real thing.


    • Kim – I think that just like “beauty,” sometimes “weeds” are in the eye of the beholder too. For instance, most people think of dandelions as weeds, but at our home we eat dandelion greens on a regular basis. They’re very healthy, and when cooked right, they’re also delicious! The trick is knowing when something is a lion is sheep’s clothing, and when it’s not.

  9. The sun is shining and the sweet smell of floral fragrances fill the space. In the center is a grand Redwood with deep roots and strong branches teaming with life. I am alive.

    Deepest respect,

  10. Laurie, my little garden teaches me a lot about life and art every day. So it is that my physical garden nurtures my spiritual and creative garden. Stephen Gaskin, founder of The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee, said a simple thing in his powerful book “This Season’s People”: Attention is energy.

    So wherever we want energy, we simply need to put our attention there.

    The second thing that nurtures my garden is daily meditation. I so often forget to be in that practice, but when I am, it makes all the difference.

    • Martha – I’m so glad you stopped by. The thoughts you’ve left are positive, uplifing, constructive and healing. Thank you for adding beautiful color to the garden.

  11. Laurie — I get an e-mail every time you post something here on Speaking from the Heart! I have been working diligently and will hopefully have something to share with you and others tomorrow on my WordPress blog.

    • Barbara – The minute your new blog’s out there please point me to it. I’m excited to see what you’ve grown. I’m excited, too, about the offer you’ve received on your condo. Whoohoo!

  12. Laurie: How true it is. You sometimes don’t stop and think about things in that way. You get so caught up in the moment and what’s happening around you that you often forget that we can change things. I appreciate it because with everything I’m going through, I often loose sight of what could be. I have to stop feeling sorry for myself and move on. It’s just very hard sometimes. Thank you for your words of wisom. Marion

    • Kevin – If it’s 9:30pm for me, it’s got to be about 4:30 in the morning for you. I hope your singing gig went well this evening. I look forward to reading about it in your blog.

  13. Dear Laurie,

    Thanks for sharing this! It comes quite natural to me. Right now I seem to be in the process of letting go of a lot of things Especially my old work: I’m leaving university after a total of 12 years studying and working. This week (thursday evening) my colleagues there will say goodbye to me. In the meantime I have only little work on my thesis left (only the summary) and I enjoy my free time. I am busy closing down various different activities. I am starting my new job, something new after a long time and it is like I want to purify everything. Great as well is that I have time again to do my garden. We have on the front of the house a sidewalk in which there are two beautiful hortensias (hydrangeas) and in the back garden three more. I trimmed them last week. And everytime I look on the front or the back of the house they look so fresh with their little green leaves of promise. I feel that cleaning up my garden (i needed to brush up a lot of leaves as well) in a symbolic way also helps cleaning up myself. Your blog therefore really reaches out to me.


    • Kirsten – I’m so glad that you stopped by my garden and left seeds for more beautiful flowes — thank you. Hydrangeas are among my favorite flowers. In the Highlands of Scotland, the individual “clusters” get as big as basketballs! You’re down to the summary – whew! I’m so PROUD of YOU!

  14. Hi beautiful gardener! What a lovely heart-filled post. What IS in our inner gardens today? My inner garden feels like it’s already harvesting lots of brocoli and sweet potatoes and mustard greens. It feels like the seed-planting of oh-so-many years ago is finally producing a bumper crop. Yet it also feels like I need to sit in the sun and let the sun penetrate the leaves for a bit longer. Just a bit. Thank you for this post! (And look at how it inspired so many of us!)

    • Kathy – My friend Nor’easter friend; I’m glad you stopped in. “It feels like the seed-planting of oh-so-many years ago is finally producing a bumper crop.” That’s precisely how I feel. You’ve captured it to a “T.” Today has been a writing day. I’m doing a bit of keynote speaking on the 14th of April and I wanted to get myself situated. With these notes, my props, and outfit planned (business casual), I feel ready. [ask me five minutes beforehand and I’ll tell you I’m gonna throw up] …

  15. That sounds like a wonderful event! Would love to hear you speak about the seven selves… And of course you’ll do beautifully. Because you’ll speak from your heart!

    • Kathy – Len and I are trying to figure out a way to capture it on video and/or sound so that I can put a portion of it (enough to whet people’s appetities) on our website. If we can get it figured out, I’ll send you a link.

  16. I am a Big Fan of Frank Lloyd Wright Laurie! That was an Awesome quote. I am moving home design concepts around in my head, and talking with builders. When I speak of home building I use many of his concepts.

    He got it right. And you certainly did in this entry!

    Hope You Are Shining Bright!

    • Ben – I’m so glad for your visit today. Glad, too, that this post resonated with you. Having lived in this area before (greater Chicagoland), you’re probably well aware that many homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright are in Oak Park and River Forest, Illinois.

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