Investing Wisely: Mindfulness, Money, and a Porch Garden

A recent porch garden

My little organic porch garden complete with Rosemary, Sweet Basil, Spicy Basil, Lemon Basil, Sage, and Oregano.

There is one thing that I have neglected to do in my life; and that is make financial investments. My money is all in my bank account, and half of it just got spent on a bed.

There are times that this truth makes me worried. But lately, there is something that is becoming abundantly clear.

I have spent the last fifteen or so years investing in my emotional well-being in the event of disaster.

I know, I know. Nothing quite beats a big cushion of cash when the you-know-what hits the fan. Your house gets blown away, you can buy a new one. Your spouse wants a divorce, you can get a fancy lawyer. You get tired of your repetitive job, you take off to a new country for as long as you feel like.  Money can do a lot of things.

But it can’t really save you. Not really.

A mindfulness meditation practice, on the other hand, fills in the eerie and often denied missing space left behind by money. While money is a giant robot tromping through a field of wild flowers, mindfulness meditation can slip behind it and nourish all the broken stems back to health. Where money comes in to throw a big electronic plate in front of the sun for relief, mindfulness practice strolls by and hands you a brand new pair of classy shades. Money wants to pave the world in rubber to protect your feet; mindfulness gives you a new pair of cruelty-free shoes. Mindfulness wins, hands down, because it gives you the power to deal with the things that money tries to shield you from.

I have a porch garden. Bet you thought I’d never get to the point of the picture. My porch garden, as you can see in, is quite small. It consists of a few plants; all of them go good in spaghetti sauce, and each has a wonderful way of growing towards the sun.

This porch garden has led to a lot of thinking on my part lately. You see, it makes me feel happy. When I walk out with my wine bottle full of water, ready to touch the soil and keep it all appropriately wet, I feel like a little off-shoot of mother nature herself. When I untangle the stems and try to figure out how to take what I need from the little guys while helping them to grow better instead of hurting them, I feel like a mad scientist of nature; some kind of fairy-winged Einstein. These things make me good, no matter what type of day I am having.

Maybe it is the fact that I care about these little dudes, and I want the best for them. Caring about any creature is a cool thing to do, but usually the creature bears more resemblance to ourselves. Plants enjoy water and sun, and that’s about as much as they have in common with us. Of course, they are made of cells and love chlorophyll and there are other similarities; but the point is that they are not as similar to us as, let’s say, a dog or a hamster. Those creatures have two eyes, cute little hands, an appetite for cookies, and a nose and other things. The plants are just sitting there, growing, drinking, and sunning themselves happily. Some humans do that; but not the interesting ones.

I have been realizing lately that the things I have invested my time and energy into, such as my Reiki practice, my massage practice, my writing, my mindfulness practice, and my brief little relationship with EFT, all go a long way to helping me when disaster strikes.

Of course, it would be nice to have lots of money to rely on too. But would that really help? At this point, I am not so sure. I am wondering if it would actually just make it easier for me to avoid life itself and seek the next “solution,” the next “thing” that would get me to feel “better” when really, all I need is a whiff of basil.

A lot of recent conversations that I’ve had have revolved around the fact that worry and anxiety are rather useless. If something “bad” happens, you can deal with it in the moment. If I want to worry about my dog, my car, my boss, my friends, my street, etc, then anything can happen and there is no way for me to act appropriately in order to prevent it.

If I trust, however, that I can deal with whatever does happen when it happens, then suddenly I am free to enjoy the moment. Suddenly, I have my power back. For it is impossible to decide to take responsibility for your feelings when you are living in the past or the future, living in worry or anxiety or panic; it is impossible to then make a choice about what to do, how to feel, and how to love. It’s like being trapped in an out-of-whack time machine when all you really want to do is make a cup of tea and watch the sunset on this very evening.

If you are aware that it is the present moment, and you are enjoying it without fear or hesitancy for the future, then you have your power. You can choose what to do, with or without money, because you will still be fine. You will face and deal with whatever things arise because you are there to deal with them. If the stove catches fire, you can deal with it. If your dog freaks out, you can deal with it. If someone close to you is hurt, you can deal with it. It doesn’t make it so that “bad” things don’t happen; because that is not up to you. But it at least lets you only experience them when they are actually happening, rather than when they are not.

It is like uncovering a super power. And all you have to do is invest; not your money, but your time. A few minutes a day of meditation, or of mindfully coalescing with your plants. A little bit of Reiki meditation for those that are trained, or of research into a Reiki class near you if you are not.

We are brought up to see that money can save us, that money can be there when problems arise. But the secret to all of it is that you can be there too; your brain and soul and being can be there to work with what happens in the event without trying to run away with things that money can buy.

Mindfulness meditation is my investment for the future. It is my way of knowing that no matter what, I will be able to be present to the best of my ability, and to work with what is happening with integrity and authenticity.

What type of emotional, financial, or educational investments have you made? Are there other types that I haven’t thought of? How are they working out for you?