If You Want To Heal Anything, You’ll Have To Do This

Today is an exemplary fall day.  The skies are bright blue with a few pale, wispy clouds.  The temperature is a cool and comfortable 65 degrees.  There’s a lazy wind bending trees this way and that.  And the sun is casting long shadows over the pots on the deck filled with the remaining flowers of summer. 

Autumn is a tricky time.  While I love being able to tend to plants in the middle of a cool afternoon, I hate watching the petunias and geraniums fade.  The shock of color from zinnias and marigolds sends me running for my camera, and yet I feel a hollow kind of emptiness, knowing that I’ll need to say goodbye to them soon.  

I always get a little depressed when the flowers start to die back.  They’re like children I’ve nurtured and cared for all summer long and I’m not ready to say goodbye.

This year, with the help of a wonderful woman named Roberta Horsman, I created a healing garden on our back deck.  I filled it with vegetables, flowers, and statuary and it became a magical second home.  The energy and beauty of the plants and statues have inspired creativity.  I’ve loved writing in this special space.  New succulent plants have been a source of surprise and wonder when unexpected flowers suddenly appear.  And it’s been the perfect place to hang with Michael and friends for a dose of peace and serenity while enjoying great conversations.

This afternoon, while deadheading flowers and fertilizing the soil so the last annuals are encouraged to bloom, I thought about how a garden is such a metaphor for life.  We plant our seeds, watch life grow, tend to our needs and the needs of others, and eventually come face-to-face with having to say goodbye. 


I have a hard time finding the good in goodbyes.

I know life requires us to be present to everything – the success and sadness, the peace and pain. Learning to be with all of our feelings is fertilizer for growth and healing.

It’s just not that easy.

So today, as I appreciate this magical world I’ve cared for over the last few months, I do my best to stay with the joy and the sadness.  

It’s a healing garden after all.

And you can’t heal what you don’t feel.

This Week's Video

This is one of my favorite gardening videos ever.  I’ve posted it before but I know some of you may have missed it.  And for those of you who didn’t, it’s great the second time, too!  Check it out here.  


Jacqueline Nicoll 17th September 2014 9:51 am

Thank you for sharing. Late Summer, last year, I was inspired by a message from the elementals about how they view cycles in nature. Here is the link http://jacquelinenicoll.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/equinox-celebration/

John Coombes 17th September 2014 10:08 am

Hi Cheryl

Follow your writing religiously.

Thank you for your wisdom, it really helps.

I use the word 'religiously' because it is relevant to "goodbye" in that this word is short for God Be With You

Nice to be able to pay something in for once ;)

Enjoy your day


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Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the author of The New York Times bestselling books, Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace and her new book The Art of Extreme Self Care. She was the first president of the International Coach Federation and holds one of their first Master Certified Coach credentials.

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