Tending to the garden of my mind


If you’re anything like me, your mind often feels full. Full of emotions both good and bad, full of thoughts that are run of the mill and exciting.

  • There’s the mundane aspects of life: the bills to pay, meals to cook, children to wrangle, appointment to keep track of, the never ending washing pile, (and the list goes on)
  • There’s the engaged, sometimes annoyed, irritated aspects of life – the problems of the world, the prejudices of others, the things that niggle us … (or maybe that’s just me?)
  • And then there’s also the joyful, exciting world that can fill our heads. The fun stuff. The things we want to think about, and talk about, and make happen – if only we had the time.


I know my mind is full with things I love:

  • clever ideas I’ve heard or read – that I want to retain;
  • hilarious experiences I want to share (for instance, you should have seen my kids dance tonight – we were in hysterics);
  • the opportunities that, if I could flesh them out a bit more, I might pursue;
  • the creative ways others have expressed themselves which I’d love to savour;
  • the places to see and do and experience.


I feel like I’ve been exposed to more of that than usual, thanks to recent talks I’ve been at, the multitude of things I’ve read, and some recent experiences I’ve been part of. But I’ve been frustrated, because I’ve wanted to move quickly to bed these thoughts down – to untangle them, and to DO SOMETHING with them. And I haven’t been able to – yet.

Initially I thought I should cut back. Maybe too much was going on (and yes, there has been a little of that). But that’s not really the issue. It’s been the way I’ve thought about it.

I’ve been thinking of experiences and thoughts as things to be pinned down, to be catalogued, to be stored carefully so I could reach for them at a moment’s notice. I am filled often with new ideas which I want to put into action. I don’t want to lose them or feel anything is  wasted.

So I feel the need to commit to doing things with my experiences. Making changes, writing up notes (or blog posts) – sometimes just to myself, sometimes to others for accountability. And then I get annoyed with myself because I don’t always follow through. Because I feel disorganised, and muddled, and think I need to do MORE to get on top of this. But I’m starting to realise that I’ve been thinking about this in the wrong way.

I’m coming to realise that main purpose of experiences is not necessarily to DO something as a result. Maybe it’s just to enjoy them. Maybe it’s to broaden my thinking. In some cases, I will reflect on them, and remember. Some I will build on. Some I will forget – for a time, and then they might pop back into my mind. And some will just wither away.


And that’s what made me think of how similar this approach to managing our ideas – if I put it into place – could be to the way we manage our garden.

We’ve had ideas – some of which we’ve acted on, some that we’ve let lie for a while, and some we’ve abandoned. We’ve kept key structural elements – some of the larger trees, for instance, or the bluestone low retaining walls my husband concreted into place – and tinkered with the position and range of smaller plants. In some cases, when we’ve found ourselves with cuttings or presents of plants that we don’t know what to do with, we’ve stuck them in one spot for a while, kept an eye on them (feeding and watering as appropriate) until we’ve worked out what to do with them. And some plants just haven’t suited our garden, due to climate or soil, or size, or simply because they don’t work with everything else. In those cases we’ve either given them away or they’ve just died. As plants can do.

Over time, we’ve changed, and refined, and modified our garden. We’ve played with it. Because – really – there is no RIGHT garden.  Yes, we’ve found some things take better (due to soil types, or shelter, or sunlight), or look better, or meet our needs better. Based on our judgments at the time. Which change – and then we change the garden, maybe through small pottering, or maybe more substantially. But we do it because it’s getting closer to what we like, and it’s fun to experiment.
Thinking about this. I realised that, rather than trying to sort out my mind like a filing cabinet (or a spreadsheet – or an app, if I knew a good one to use), thinking of my mind as a garden might be a better analogy. And, to be honest, it was also to do with the fact that I read a post titled ‘You can grow ideas in the Garden of Your Mind‘.

Oh, how I love this idea! I’m so pleased to have stumbled on this post!

I love the way the author talks about how she’s managed the many business and personal interests she has:

I have a lot of seeds being cultivated at once … In fact, I’m starting to embrace it… 

The thing is, despite being such a varied assortment of flowers, my garden is working together in a good way. It seems to be getting into the rhythm – when one flower is fading out, another one is beginning to bloom. It takes a great amount of care and attention, making sure my garden is healthy. It’s not perfect either. There are some weeds in there, but I’ve found that as long as there aren’t too many, a few can stay it and it won’t do harm. Eventually, I’ll weed them out.

It feels like the journey through my garden of business and life has only just begun. … I’m not sure how it will evolve, but I’m continuing to go into the future with a bundle of curiosity and a pocket full of new seeds.

I’m looking forward to doing similar – to putting some of my ideas down and starting to act on them, tending and maintaining others until I’m ready, and weeding out others. And ‘going into the future with a bundle of curiousity and a pocket full of new seeds‘.


Serendipitously, when looking for an image for this post, I came across this song – Garden in My Mind – which is being released TOMORROW (or today – by the time I post this). Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing? Enjoy!


Image Source:

To listen to Joanna Wallfisch’s title song, The Gardens in my Mind, click here

Read more about:

 ‘Joanna Wallfisch – Gardens of my mind’, here

Ohmyhandmade‘ blog and store, and post: ‘You can grow Ideas in the Garden of Your Mind‘, here


Do you find your mind is full: of potential, of thoughts, of opportunities? 

Do you sometimes find it overwhelming, or do you roll with it?  

I’d love to know – please share!


17 thoughts on “Tending to the garden of my mind

  1. Ah, so many things I can relate to here. My mind is a busy place and whilst I do have to watch myself with being overwhelmed by all the thoughts and ideas, I can also see that they are kind of how I operate. The spontaneity of ideas, the effect of what life deals up on my plans or mood,the things that are left unattended to that can play on my mind. I am a shocking gardener, but I do love this analogy.p.s I’m a huge fan of the Brain Dump, just getting it all out onto a piece of paper feels so good. Great blog post Helen, happy gardening 🙂


    1. Brain dumps are great, aren’t they? I’m practicing a bit more with Mind Mapping again – when it works for me, it’s great!


  2. This is great! I often chastise myself for being too fickle with my hobbies, pursuits and passions but this is a great way to look at it! I just hope I remember to water my garden so the ones I love really flourish.


    1. It is a good analogy, isn’t it – I was so happy to find it (especially as I often forget my garden – or as you can see, leave icecream containers which my dog loves to play with, but are not quite the look I’m aiming for). Gardens are pretty hardy, I think – you’ll come to your hobbies when you are ready, I’m sure 🙂


  3. I love the idea of a garden of thoughts growing and blooming with the seasons. I must admit I always try to file things away in the old mind cabinets but it doesn’t really work. Thanks for sharing this.


    1. It was starting to become unmanageable for me, so I like the ‘fend for yourself’ aspect of the garden idea (and the discoveries too – which I also love with my garden / my ideas that I’d forgotten about). So this helps with one side of life – still to work out a way to manage the everyday or must dos, including work, which are getting on top of me though.


  4. Yep, totally with you. And I constantly feel that my mind (and life) are a collection of missed opportunities simply because I don’t have the time or energy to invest. I keep thinking that once my 3rd bub starts school (in 18 months) I’ll have time to follow through on all this mind chatter, but I wonder if this is just who I am.


    1. Maybe it’s also because there are just so, so many opportunities? I have to keep reminding myself that it is physically impossible to do everything (or even close to many of the things I’d love to do – let alone the things I need to do). Ah well – at least we’re not marked at the end on how many opportunities we took up (I need to keep reminding myself of that too – not in terms of things, but in terms of doing – ‘Life is not a competition. Life is not a competition. Life is … ‘ you get the idea)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My garden is totally over run right now…serial over thinker, here. Like the idea of mind mapping. Great one, Helen.


  6. It’s nice to stop and have a little prune back now and then and just realise how lovely that garden is after all. Thanks Helen!


    1. I know – when you get a chance to actually clear away a bit of the clutter in your mind, and take a good look, it can be actually quite lovely in there 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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