What Are Your Priorities? Assembling a Life Garden

It is time for me to start thinking about the new school year. I am back to work full time next week and then the kids come back mid August. It has been a great summer. My trip to Greece, mountain hikes, a few bike rides, opportunities to play my flute, and spending extra time with family and friends.

You can feel the subtle change in the air. The nights are just a tad bit cooler and the sun is setting earlier, the buzz of the cicadas fill the air, and even though we are a long way from wearing sweaters and drinking Pumpkin Spice lattes, there is an inner knowledge as we plan our August adventures that summer is now waning.

As I get ready to add a full time career back into my schedule, I am reminded that no matter what certain 1970’s TV commercials said, I can not do it all.  I have to make choices to ensure that both my professional life and my personal life thrive.

One of the books that I picked up for summer reading is called The Art of Stopping Time by Pedram Shojai. The book is composed of  100 short daily practices to become more mindful. Day one is : Assembling a Life Garden. The idea is that if we picture our life as beautiful garden that we need to cultivate with limited space and water, it begins to help us discern what we will plant, what areas we will water and fertilize, and what weeds we will need to get rid of in order for our priority plants to thrive. Pedran suggests that 10 plants is the very most any garden should have at any given time.

When I began to come up with my Garden with the new school year in mind, some interesting thing came to light. First, I realized I have to be balanced and at peace with myself before I can tend to any other part of the garden. I have to put my mental/ spiritual self first. Second, that my career is my means of affecting the world as well as my income by which everything else is made possible. Therefore, even if I would rather be hiking or traveling, I can not neglect my career. It makes everything else possible Yep, I knew this already but seeing on paper made a difference in laying out my priorities.

This is how I organized my garden. A few notes to understand my thinking: Grace Ann, my cat, falls under family. ( Any doubt?) Career includes both the aspects of organizing my work day and my personal finances which are dependent upon my career and flow down to nourish the other areas of my garden. Home includes upkeep, cleaning, and decor; making sure my home is a sanctuary to enjoy. Activities like hiking, biking etc. fall  in both health and exploring.  Two for one, yay!  🙂


1.spiritual/ inner life/ mental health

2. family and close friends

3. career/personal finances

4. health and fitness/workouts

5.  exploring/travel/education

6. home

7.  Hobbies: flute/blogging etc.

8. Organizations to which I belong

Some areas of my garden need to be tended to daily. Others can be attended to once a week or once a month.  I am fortunate that some things I can focus on during the summer, leaving more time to focus on my career during the school year. On my next blog post I will talk a little bit more about how I am going to go about organizing my days and weeks this coming school year. As a starting point it is great to see where my energy is going to go and in what order.

As always, I would love to hear from you! Do you have any thoughts on Life Garden? What would you choose to cultivate?

Thanks for stopping by the blog. 🙂

Until next time,



    • Yes, and those are the hardest weeds to deal with. Often others have affected me in a negative way before I have even realized what is going on. For me it is an everyday practice to not let others affect me with toxic emotions.

      Liked by 1 person

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