Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, June 10, 2011

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda...

Gaura lindheimeri

As a therapist I spend a good deal of time helping clients get away from asking "WHY?"

Liatris spicata

Whys are tail chasing exercises.  We get a hold of a why and can't let go.  As soon as you answer one why there are a dozen more.  Whys keep us stuck in the same old ways of doing and thinking.  
Hemerocallis 'July Gold'

Instead, I like them to focus on the what, when, who and how questions. 
It's a similar exercise when gardening. Forget the whys! We know why! Instead of "Why did I plant that plant there?" Which often leads to, "Boy, that was  fill in your favorite  critical inner voice!  Ask yourself some what, who, when and how questions.

  • What is working  in the garden?
  • What's not working?
  • What am I willing to do to make changes?
  • How much money, time and energy do I have for this project?
  • When can I implement these changes?
  • Who am I trying to please?

Hypericum frondosum with a fly
 The point is that whys keep us spinning our wheels and the who/what/where/how questions get us moving.  Try it and  see if you notice any changes?  I am pretty sure your relationship with  your garden will change dramatically. 



 It's a similar issue with  the woulda, coulda, shoulda  thoughts that plague many a gardener!

Sleeping Bee

Let them go! Trust me on this~regrets are a big energy waste.

xxoogail


This post was written by Gail Eichelberger for my blog Clay and Limestone Copyright 2011.This work protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

41 comments:

  1. Brilliant advice! It's too easy to get stuck in the negative rut. I'm going to try to apply your strategy to my garden.

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  2. Hi Gail, long time since I walk your garden and heard your great words... big mistake. It is really a treat to pay Clay and Limestone a visit.

    Hugs Tyra

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  3. Words of wisdom for sure my friend. Gorgeous photos to accompany the advice too!

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  4. So agree, dear Gail. Lovely photos/great advice.

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  5. Awesome post and great advice!

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  6. So true Gail! Thanks for the help in focusing...and the wonderful photos.

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  7. Wonderful words of wisdom. The next time I'm thinking about regrets I'll remember this.

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  8. You are indeed the wisest of women, or men for that matter, dear Gail! No room for whys, they don't matter anyway. Make room for Onward! (My own version of your other questions. HA)
    xxxooo
    Frances

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  9. In other words, enjoy what brought you here.

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  10. Christina Ward BennettJune 10, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Simplys stunning photographs, Gail. And wise words. Much food for thought, as always. xxxtina

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  11. I love everything about today's post. Thank you for the soothing, wise words, good for my garden and my life. The photos are so beautiful.

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  12. Gail, I always go back and read your posts a second time, every time.
    Your posts are like a little refreshing "stop and smell the roses" break in the day.

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  13. Your photos are wonderful -- and the message is perfect.

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  14. What a great reminder Gail - I really needed this just now - thanks :)

    Have a great weekend
    K
    xx

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  15. PS The Gaura lindheimeri is looking rather lovely
    K
    xx

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  16. This advice can be used in so many areas of our lives Gail..Wonderful and timely, for me. Thank you! Photos are outstanding, again.

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  17. Good advice to follow, along with 'To thine ownself be true'.

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  18. Great adivse Gail. Beautiful photos too. I love the way you always find sleeping bees. Have a great weekend.

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  19. Good advice and lovely photos. I've always felt that we learn and keep on going.

    Je ne regrette rien.

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  20. Beautifully written, and those photos are exquisite. No wonder you're a Best Garden Blog from Horticulture magazine.~~Dee

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  21. Oh, I couldn't agree more! Why do I always start fretting about stuff like plants getting to big -- Ooops ;->

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  22. My two most common questions always start with either "where" as in "where is that going to go" and lately "what" as in "what are you going to take out to put that new plant in".

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  23. The garden is at that happiest time of year - when what shall I plant in that gap, is answered by - THAT needs pruning and I'll take cuttings!

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  24. Wonderful advice! You and I think alike. I'm a problem solver by nature/profession and love the fact that gardening isn't static. I'd be bored if it were!! I really love love love the photo of the daylilly and dill. :o)

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  25. Good advice on many levels. I like that. Gorgeous photos!!! Your post reminds me of a saying my brother used to say to me all the time-" Don't should on yourself. "
    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

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  26. Gorgeous pics.
    Good advice. Would be wonderful if we all would follow such good advice. I think a happier place would be for all.

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  27. I don't know Gail. Asking why can get us to thinking about the reasons we do things. If I ask why I did such and such, I can say, because .... and reason it out. I think asking why can help us grow out of our ruts and make changes. Also, I think sometimes regrets are a good thing when we know we need to change something or go to someone and apologize for a wrong done to them--making amends, you know? I think in the right context why can be a very good thing. We just can't get stuck in the whys. Just my two bits. Beautiful photos. That red daylily is to die for.

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  28. Grace, I would love to have a stroll in the garden, a cup a tea and talk life philosophy with you. ...I think we are on the same page, but use some words differently. What you've described is what I hope my clients can reach. But, they are so stuck that whys don't work for them. Every why leads to more whys without any change in their behaviors. For those who are stuck; the who, what, where, when and how questions can help them get the needed insight to get unstuck and move forward. Part of getting unstuck means folks can stop shaming themselves with the shouldas and take action= make amends and move forward. xogail

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  29. Gardens are a lot like life, except you can't shovel prune your relatives. You can change yourself and your garden.

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  30. Brilliant post, Gail! I think you should write a book on the therapist's guide to gardening. Looking forward to seeing you SOON! xxoo

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  31. Great thoughts, Gail. I couldn't agree more. But then again, I agree with Grace, too;-) Kind of the same thing, said in different ways.

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  32. I agree! But I'm wondering now why won't it rain? Why is it so hot? I hope we see some moisture in our future around here - my water bill is going to be much higher than I want to think about!

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  33. Ah, Gail, I need to re-read this post at least once a week! I'm caught too often in the "should-have's" and "ought-to's" and always have been. But I'm taking some lessons from gardening--all that matters there is that it pleases me (wish I could italicize that "me"). I don't want to become self-centered, but I am realizing that you can't please everyone else, so you have to do what feels right for you and let everything else go.

    Your clients are very lucky to have the benefit of your wisdom!

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  34. Beautiful pictures like always, Gail. And besides of the gorgeous pictures you even provided us with a free lesson in philosophy. Excellent Post and well worth to give it a deeper thought.
    Happy Gardening
    Paula Jo

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  35. Gail — this was the message I definitely needed to hear today. Thanks. I am going to print this out for my garden journal so I can keep these questions in the foreground. And great photos as always!

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  36. Hi Gail,
    I'm out of school for the summer, so I can finally stop by and visit some of my favorite garden blogs. I'm always amazed at your clear, crisp photos and wonderful words of encouragement. Congrats on that 2011 Blog Award. You deserve it.

    So, why doesn't it rain in Texas any more? Ooops....I mean, it sure is sunny these days.
    David :-) Tropical Texana

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  37. Wise words Gail! There are no surer ways to get stuck in a rut than to live in the past, in regret, in the woulda, coulda, shouldas, and to obsess over the whys.

    The past is over, and the future is is yet to be. Our power lies in right now. Now is where we can get out of our own way. The present is the place live, to let go of anything that wants to drag us down, wide awake in each moment as it unfolds.

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  38. This is a Very thoughtful post, Gail. True, true. We (I) always need reminders. :-) Beautiful photos, there!!

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  39. "Who am I trying to please?" When I was younger, it wasn't clear - now I know the awful truth - only myself :)

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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