Cultivating our inner garden

'Your life is a garden: water it with positive intent, weed it of any negativity and let the sunshine of loving thoughts shine down upon it. Then watch it grow!' That was one of the messages I wrote on Twitter last week. It caused quite a stir, well relatively speaking, of course - a number of new people linked to my Facebook page, signed up to the little white feather newsletter - and I had a flurry of new followers.I've been 'nudged' inside quite a lot recently about the importance of learning to nurture our own 'inner garden' (at least this is what personal heroine of mine St Teresa of Avila sometimes called it). And yes, before you say it, I can see how one could take this term the wrong way - but what I'm talking about here is taking time to be loving to our inner self and giving it what it needs to thrive.Some of us have a tendency to over-give - especially the nurses, carers, therapists among us! It can be a kind of compulsion. It can make us feel good. But there's often an imbalance here and the key is in the compulsion. We're ready to give tirelessly to others, but there can be resistance to giving to ourselves in the same way. And it's often the carers among us, those that really need to keep their inner batteries charged, that run this pattern the most. And more often than not, an inner resentment develops when we realise that others do not give to us in the same way.When we really start to nurture ourselves and our own lives, give them what they need to flourish and grow, we start to respect and love the being that we are at our core, and our internal chemistry changes. This in turn creates health in our minds and in our bodies.And once we've learnt to tend and cultivate our own inner garden like this, we'll start to radiate health and wellbeing and, you've guessed it, it just so happens that everyone else will want to give us loving attention too - we'll get well-wishers ringing to do a bit of hoeing at weekends, willing to put in their time and energy on a voluntary basis, and we'll have self-proclaimed gardening experts offering their time for free (metaphorically speaking, of course). But, guess what, we'll feel so whole, so complete, that we won't have such a need for them to tend our garden any more, because we'll be doing it ourselves.So learn to nurture the oasis inside. Tend it with loving thoughts, let the sun and rain nourish and restore it - and give thanks for your beautiful garden, one that you can enjoy for the rest of your life.