Day 20: Learning to Nurture and Nourish our Inner Leader
Welcome to Day 20 of 21 Days on the Mountain. I’m in our herb and vegetable garden for our Power of Pause practice today. It’s been eight years in the making, learning not just how to grow vegetables, but also how to nurture the soil and work with the seasons to plant, grow and harvest our crop.
I’m not a patient person, but this project has taught me to cultivate patience just as much as it’s taught me to cultivate fresh food. It’s a slow process that requires concentration and commitment, and my relationship with the earth helps to feed the quality within me that I need to nurture.
Evolving Leadership is about self-mastery and becoming the best version of yourself, which includes cultivating a Balanced Awareness of ourselves, of others, and of the world around us. Like creating a garden, it is a mindfulness practice, a route to inner stillness that helps to balance the thinking, feeling and doing parts of ourselves.
So join me today for our video as we contemplate nature and explore how to discover and cultivate the qualities within ourselves that we need to nurture and grow.
Hello and welcome back to 21 Days On The Mountain, a chance for us to create space and take a breath together for a few minutes. So this is Day 20, I’m sitting on a large rock, part of a wall that we created many years ago. Behind me you might see the corner of our studio, and in front of me here I can see the waterfall that I talked to you about from the Piste des Cascades a few days ago. Behind me is our vegetable garden, what we now call our vegetable garden, which has been several years in the making. It has now six beds, five for vegetables and one for herbs. And I might also say that eight years ago when we started this project in our garden, we knew nothing whatever about growing vegetables.
So one of the first things we observed in looking around us is that no one here at this altitude in the French Alps plants any vegetables before the middle of May. It turns out that this dates back to a custom of over a thousand years where it’s believed that in the three days leading up to about the 15th of May, known as the Ice Saints days, those are the days in which the winter frost can still occur. And actually we’ve found that to be true.
So in those years when we’ve been tempted to plant a little earlier it’s usually been a poor idea. We started digging our vegetable patch yesterday and it’s going to take us a while to dig it all. And what we’ve also learned is that the more time, the more patience, the more focus, the more concentration and the more commitment we can put into working this soil at this stage, the better the vegetables will be. It’s just what we found, it’s the whole process of nurturing the soil, of working the soil if you like beneath what we would normally see, that creates the beauty and the wonderful vegetables and the things that bring us great pride and joy – the result.
But if we don’t take the time to work the soil, to feed it with our own compost actually, that we also feed from our plant waste regularly, every day almost, if we don’t do that then we simply won’t get the same results. So all the work is, if you like, in the unseen, beneath the surface, nurturing the soil that’s going to enable the seeds to become seedlings, the seedlings to form roots, and those so important roots to nourish and nurture the food, the vegetables then emerge. And what I also know about healthy soil is that it has good bacteria, which do actually affect our well-being and our mood.
So it’s a slow process. This is five, six, seven, eight years in the making. And I’m not a patient person, but what I find is that when I do this work, it helps me to generate the quality of patience. There’s something about the earth, in my relationship, our relationship with the earth, that helps to feed that quality within me that I need to nurture. There’s something about the slowness and the process and the work and the concentration and the commitment and all of those things that I said earlier. It’s something about that, that is actually what’s most nourishing. And of course the vegetables are nice too, but I think it’s more about, for me anyway, about the process, about the work, about the relationship and about what we’ve created.
So in our silence today, perhaps we might reflect on that. Even if you don’t have a garden, even if you don’t have any pots on a balcony or somewhere, even if you don’t have any indoor plants, when you next go out, when you next see some earth or some grass or something other than concrete, take a moment just to look at it. Maybe touch it and feel a connection. So let’s reflect on that in our silence today, what for each of us in our individual experience, what this earth means to us, as we cultivate our own garden within us, in our own lives.
Pausing, focusing into this space between our sternum and our navel, and breathing this wonderful air, wherever you are. Into your lungs, into your body, into this space. And giving thanks to this earth on which we live. So silent now for three minutes together in our individual, very personal reflection.
And when you’re ready, on your next breath, gently open your eyes.
So in the last couple of minutes or so it’s just started to rain, which actually feels really welcome and I think the soil, the earth will be very thankful for it. So I wish you a very nourishing day, and perhaps at some point in this day you might choose to touch the earth.
Thank you for joining me, and please join me tomorrow for our last day with this series. Thank you.