How A Garden Shovel Changed My Life

“Change your thinking, change your life”, a yoga teacher once shared with me. This seed that was planted has blossomed into something beautiful in my life.


There is a lot of dirt that seems to collect over time. And my Garden Shovel is a tool that helps me sift through that dirt. More often than not, I discover treasure. The treasure is not gold, but something far more valuable. The truth. My truth.


Although my truth is not always great to look at, I feel great once I see it. In an instant, everything makes sense.


This dirt that my Garden Shovel helps me sift through is fear, attachment, insecurity, judgement. Judgement from others? Maybe. Judgement from myself? Definitely. I am the hardest on myself and I get in my own way more often than not. This can make it difficult to see what is real and what might be possible.


In the opening of Paulo Cohelo’s The Alchemist, he shares four obstacles that can get in the way of realizing our dreams:

  • Doubt: we are told by others that what we want is not possible.

  • Love: we are afraid to abandon those around us to pursue our dreams.

  • Fear: we are afraid to make an effort and possibly fail.

  • Success: we do not feel worthy to achieve our dreams.


I have experienced each of the above in my life and I’m sure will have more opportunities to experience each of them again and again. My Garden Shovel helps me see the obstacle and that clarity is the treasure that I value.


The treasure that my Garden Shovel helps me uncover can also be called wisdom. Wisdom is a bit of knowledge mixed with a lot of experience. Wisdom cannot be gained by reading a book, listening to a podcast, engaging in conversation or from this blog post. It can only be gained through experience.


I gain experience with every day, every step and every breath. This treasure that I describe as my truth is the wisdom that can only be found from within. It may be sitting there but I have to do the work to find it. And that means clearing the dirt, for which I need tools.


My Garden Shovel helps me become aware of decisions that I have already made but am not able to see or ready to act on. Decisions related to my business, including really difficult ones like if I should hire someone or even let someone go. Decisions related to my relationships, like how I may feel or in other cases, may not feel. Decisions related to my lifestyle and priorities, like where I want to invest my time, resources and energy.


I believe that there are processes that are continuously making decisions for me, based on the knowledge, experiences and inputs that are available. Where exactly are these decisions being made? I am not sure. I could call it spirit, energy, god, light, universe. It does not matter what I call it, so for today I will use the term consciousness. To find this treasure I speak of requires that I place my trust and connect with something greater than my body and mind though. And my Garden Shovel is one tool that helps me connect with consciousness to clear the dirt.


On the other hand, there are some tools that invite more dirt. Alcohol, caffeine, sugar, Netflix, Instagram and the like can take me to a place of ignorance, which is why I have chosen to not have any of them in my lifestyle.


To see my truth is the equivalent of sitting in my apartment with the lights on. Every time I use my Garden Shovel, the light turns on and I realize that I had been sitting here in the dark.

I am fortunate to have many sources of inspiration around me. Teachers. Friends. Books. And while I do try to listen to others, seek out new ideas and be open to different perspectives that may help inspire me, what I have found is that the strongest sources of inspiration for me are the treasures that I can discover from within. There is a connection and conviction to these treasures that transcends intellect. There is an indescribable quality to my own truth that makes it the most powerful source of inspiration in my life.


If I was a doctor, I would give prescriptions for Garden Shovels. If you are reading this post, take it as your prescription. Take one dose of your Garden Shovel, 3 times a week, for 4 weeks. And then see for yourself how you feel. If you find it helpful, continue with it, otherwise stop it.


The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Indian text and source of yoga philosophy. One of the verses that continues to guide me reads, “do your duty, but do not concern yourself with the results”. This describes a state of mind. Take action and make an effort, but do not be attached or even interested in the outcome of your actions.


What is my Garden Shovel? I have many, including meditation, yoga and morning pages. These tools have served me well as I continue to put the work in to try to cultivate a beautiful garden, which is my life.


We all need tools to help us build a life filled with beauty, meaning and purpose. Find your own Garden Shovel and give it a try without any expectations of results. And see how your thinking might just begin to change a little bit.

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