What if I’ve forgotten something really important?
Do you ever get that feeling? A sense that there was something else, something important and it’s just on the edge of the mind, like a marble on a windowsill.
And then comes life, rushing and distracting. The morning leaving the house and rushing back in for the phone, bag,dog leads, poo bags,” are you wearing those shoes? Please put on a jacket.” A dozen other thoughts and the ping of the phone, emails, another course to sign up to an things I should do.
What is really important though? Toothbrushes? Passports? Do you remember plane tickets! Phone chargers, I’m always getting into trouble forgetting mine.
Yes, all those things can be important but that’s not what I’m actually talking about here. There’s something else, more important.
This August my parents were visiting me. My Dad takes his veg growing seriously and I joke that the garden inspector is coming. In truth I love that he comes even though I’m quite confident that my garden fails all of his inspections. All the same I turn off the laptop and go outside to see what can be done before he arrives to rectify the sea of buttercups and other weeds that cover most of my veg beds.
I tie back raspberry canes and start to weed, discovering brussel sprouts in high grasses and even dig some spuds. It’s good to be outside. The inspector, aka Dad, comes and goes with advice to feed the tomatoes and concern over the out of control nasturtiums swapping the aubergines in the poly tunnel. The bees love them.
I am happy in the garden. For me it’s karma yoga, gardening, doing the tasks for their own sake, you weed and a few weeks later you weed again. With Aldi just ten minutes away, I’m fortunately not reliant on my crops. It’s a luxergy to go outside and weed and rediscover things I planted in Spring, my good intentions, still there, growing.
His visit prompts me to get back into it and a few days later I am admiring the beautiful globes of tiny purple white flowers on the elephant garlic when I wonder, when should I harvest this? I discover the answer is now and so I spend a happy afternoon digging the bed. My harvest includes more potatoes, elephant garlic, garlic and the biggest surprise, three giant parsnips that I don’t remember planting. But more than that I feel content, happy.
And what has that to do with santosha (contentment) and forgetting things? I hear you ask.
I was nearly too busy to remember to reap what I’ve sown. Sometimes we are so caught up in moving forward. I was almost too busy to stop and enjoy what I’ve got. In yoga we learn that one of the principles of living well is practicing santosha or contentment. It’s harder than it might seem.
What are the things you have invested in? What are things that you have now, thanks to effort and luck? What about the things that you have prepared but not used, or started doing and then got too busy or just distracted? Or done but don’t feel are perfect enough yet?
I stood in my brother’s similarly overgrown beautiful garden this summer. He stood beside me in a rare moment of calm. He sighed. He has a two year old and a full time job and a similarly high expectation of what he should be achieving in his garden.
“You’re just seeing what has to be done,” I say, looking at his old apple tree sagging with apples and the abundance of green around it, ”but it’s come so far, remember what it looked like when you moved in?”
I invite you to take a moment, maybe close your eyes, think about how far you have come, enjoy the now, see if you can find a little santosha, in who you are now.
If you can’t, that happens. Some people live their whole life like that. Use the tools of yoga, do an asana practice or just some deep breathing, maybe journal about it. Can you give yourself time to do something that you love so you don’t forget to harvest what you sow in this rich experience called life.