For the last 3 years, I have been having a colony garden in Berlin. It is a lovely place, quiet and allowing me to enjoy the summer outside, but as it is a colony garden, it also has a garden. And for a colony garden in Berlin, there are some demands regarding the amount of fruit and vegetable you need to grow in your garden, to keep the right to have the garden. The thing is, I hate gardening, so I did a minimum in the garden, and I was not keeping it up to the requirements there are. And I was aware of that. This resulted in a warning from the board about my garden not meeting the standards and I was required to ensure that it would meet the standards within a certain date.
For a start I got irritated over the board. Why is this so important? Does it really matter that much? Why can’t they be more relaxed? 2 things regarding those thoughts. It does matter and is important – otherwise the whole colony might lose its special status. Secondly, I did know this. I just ignored it in dislike of gardening.
Then I got irritated over the fact that I now needed to invest time and money to get the colony garden in shape. Because that meant that I would need to start doing gardening work. And I also knew that this would not be a single job. To ensure that I would not get a warning in the future, I would need to keep the garden in shape. Forever.
I could of course have chosen to get rid of the colony garden and thereby not having to spend time and money doing the gardening. But I do like spending the time outside relaxing, reading a book or having friends over for a dinner outside. And I did not want to give that up.
But the thought of spending time on doing gardening just kept pushing my mood down. So, a mindset change was needed.
I started with a list of the things the garden was giving me, that I liked – being outside, the quiet space in the city, the cat loving being there etc. Then I investigated what gardening itself could give me of positive things – I found exercise, connection with nature, learning about plants etc.
And I made a choice of focusing on these things instead of me not liking garden work. It is easy? No, because my dislike of gardening has been rooted in me over time, and it is hard to change. I need to constantly remind myself about these good things, but I believe that by doing so, both the work itself and the benefits of having the garden, will in the long run slowly change my mind.
And sometimes working on yourself is a long run and that is okay.