Putting the Garden to Bed

by Liz on December 13, 2010

Quiet Garden

Quiet Garden

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
A time to sow, a time to uproot;
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build;
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance;
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them;
A time to embrace and a time to refrain;
A time to search and a time to give up;
A time to keep and a time to throw away;
A time to tear and a time to mend;
A time to be silent and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace;

— Ecclesiastes

Or if you prefer the musical version:  To Everything (turn, turn, turn)…

Now that I’ve got that 60s groove in your head…

This is your official notice that I’m putting DreamGarden to bed for a few weeks.

I’m giving myself permission to not write blog posts.  Not write newsletters, not see clients, hold teleclasses or create new products until sometime after the new year.  Probably not until after school is back in session and I’ve recovered from all the holiday induced insanity!

Partly, this is in self-defense!  Like most moms, I’ve got a long list of things to do to get ready for the holidays (not to mention my son’s birthday immediately following Christmas!) and not much time left to do them.  Unlike many previous years, however, I’ve decided that this year I’d actually like to enjoy the preparations as much as possible!  And trying to keep up with my regular irregular schedule along with all the other stuff would only make me crazy.

But there’s a deeper reason that I’ve come to see/feel in the last couple of weeks for stepping back for a few weeks.

Once upon a time, as evidenced by the verse above, we were deeply in tune with the rhythm of the seasons.  And since my husband has turned our backyard into a (real) garden, I get to participate in the natural cycles more than I did as a kid growing up.

Looking at these empty boxes now, it’s hard to imagine that just a few months ago they were spilling over with more tomatoes than we could possibly eat.  Peas and beans took turns climbing the netting and covering the fence in green leaves so thick it was like a treasure hunt to find the long slender pods that are blanched and waiting in the freezer.  (Note to self… how about some green beans with dinner tonight!)

And the squash… oh Lordy, the squash!  Let’s just say that we only found a couple of ‘forgotten’ zucchini that could have been used as canoes…  The pumpkin patch yielded beautiful pumpkins this year.  Due only to neglect, one of them was spared from becoming a Jack-o-lantern at Halloween and instead became part of what will probably go down in our family as “The best pumpkin pie ever” at Thanksgiving.  There’s still some of that pumpkin puree in the freezer, so it’s possible we may be able to re-live that wonderful experience at Christmas.

But now the garden is quiet.

Early in November, my husband pulled up all the remaining stalks and stems.  Rolled up the irrigation hoses and tossed a layer of leaf mulch on the beds to nourish the soil through the winter.  Even the ‘garden art’ came down.  The ceramic birdbath is dry and empty so it won’t freeze and crack.  The bright orange sun that hangs on the fence is wrapped up along with the bobbing metal and glass bumblebees.  It really looks pretty bleak out there now!

Gardeners call this ‘putting the garden to bed.’

It seems to me like this is an important ritual because it acknowledges the fundamental cycles of nature- and in our modern day lives, we’re really not very accustomed to acknowledging, much less honoring these cycles.

So in this time of transition from one year to the next, I’m feeling myself called to be quiet.  To tidy up the garden of my business both literally and metaphorically.

These last couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling a pull to go through the piles that have been accumulating around my desk (and around my house!) and tidy up loose ends.  Complete things.  File the papers and notes from my last projects.  Catch up on a few months worth of administrative paperworky things.  Sew the button that just fell off my coat, and while I’m at it, tackle that pile of things I’ve been saying for months “One of these days I’ll get to that…”

Taking a breath between what was and what will be.

I’m making this declaration publically, because although I don’t post as regularly as I’d like, I’m always thinking that I should be posting.  And this guilt hangs over everything.

And there are lot’s more shoulds where that one came from!  I should be finding new ways to reach moms who could use a hand.  I should be finding more ways to be of service.  I should be creating new classes.  I should be finding more clients.  I should be upgrading my website.  I should be growing my newsletter list.  I should be increasing my blog traffic.  I should be working on my brand (whatever the hell that means!)…  The list is long and that’s just for the one segment of my life!

So for now, for the next few weeks, I’m officially giving myself a rest from these shoulds.

In putting DreamGarden to bed for the year, I’ll be taking a look at what I did, who I connected with and how I served my clients and the world.  In clearing up the piles around my desk, I’ll be taking notes on what worked, what didn’t and what I might try next time.  I’ll probably do a bunch of mindmapping, daydreaming and if I really get crazy some actual planning and mapmaking for the next year.  But only if I feel like it.  Because (right at this moment) I’m feeling the urge for reflection and completion, not creation.

Of course ‘quiet’ is only relative…. And  in this space between the years I’ll still be plenty busy.

I’ll be baking up a storm.  We’re having tons of fun making cookies and I’ve got a batch of sourdough starter going, so maybe eventually I’ll bake some bread.  I’ll be finishing up my Christmas shopping/wrapping/mailing.  I’ll be finally getting my cards in the mail!  I’ll be hanging out with my son, not feeling guilty for not working.  And I’m assuming that somewhere in the not-doing, I’ll be generating new ideas and new possibilities.

So… while there’s always a chance I’ll get inspired and just ‘have’ to write something before the year is through, I’ m considering this my last official post of 2010 and will leave you with a couple of questions:

  • Is there anything that you can ‘put to bed’ even for a little while?
  • What, in your life, is calling for completion?
  • Where do you breathe (or not!) between what was and what will be?
  • How do you honor the transitions between seasons/years/etc?

I’m wishing you all the loveliest of holidays with all the peace, love and joy that they can bring!

Until 2011, Peace out!

(I know I’m entirely too old and un-hip to use that phrase, but I just couldn’t resist!)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon December 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm


What a perfect time to reconnect with yourself. Read you next year 🙂

Patty K December 13, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I love this post. Your list of shoulds = my list of shoulds. I hadn’t realized exactly how much pressure I was putting on myself until I read this. Thank you so much.

I, too, am feeling a strong urge for completion and analysis and planning/thinking about next year, rather than keeping on doing what I’ve been doing. Why shouldn’t we have seasons?

I hope you have an awesome, enjoyable and restful holiday with your family. We’ll be here when you get back.

Sue T December 13, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Many good wishes for putting the mulch over the “should” list.
See you next year!

P.S. How was the fundraiser?

Jessilicious December 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

Hi Liz!

Your URL grabbed my attention from your email and I just had to pop over and see what you’re all about. 😉 And I love it! 😀

Your post here got me thinking about what I’m going to be doing during this holiday season. I had planned to work right through it…. but am now realizing I do need to plan some downtime for myself, as well. And I love the idea of finishing up those loose ends, de-cluttering and tidying up to get ready to dive into the new year. So I think I shall spend some time doing those types of things, just puttering around making my office beautiful and clearing the mind clutter of tasks that I know I *should* be working on…. 😉

See you in the new year!

rebecca @ altared spaces January 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Quiet. Rest. Yes.

Wonderful metaphor. Taking cues from the seasons and how things are growing… or resting… sounds like advise from the sages. All Sages.

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