The garden of life
Dedicated to the young.
I felt the need to translate this tale I created some years
ago. I hope the sense of it does not get lost by a nonprofessional
translation. But I know, things I do with my
heart reach those open to ideas.
Translation inspired by Carla and Sofia. Thank you for sharing
your thoughts, giving me an insight to young people in the UK,
I´ve learned a lot!
This is the metaphor behind the idea making me create „Der-
We are in change. Every single day. Unfortunately we do not
always realise it, and even worse, we often do not always want
the change. We are reacting to our environment. And before we
realise what is going on, we are a product of the wishes and
needs of other people. And all we may have left, is the
question: “How did I get here?”
It would be better to ask ourselves: „What can I do to get
away from here?“, because that should point us towards our
dilemma we face:
“What do I want?“
I would like to share this little metaphor, which may trigger
your imagination a bit. I call it:
The Garden (of life)
When we are born, we are innocent, we are even-handed. We are
curious and we are looking for company. This is the beginning
of our life. In this metaphor, this is when we buy an empty
plot of land amongst others. It has loads of rough edges and
that means it adjoins many other plots. Some of the
surrounding plots have been sold ages ago and are overgrown,
others are still as empty as ours. Some of them remain empty
for quite a while.
We realise that some of the plots are surrounded by walls, or
maybe even thorn hedges, but for the moment, we don´t care. We
keep focused on creating and building our garden. First thing
is to create a lawn to have a basis for our comfort. It´s not
meager anymore. As time goes on, we are creating areas for
cuddling with our siblings and parents, which we surround with
low hedges. This makes the areas more special. Our Garden is
open to everyone.
Bit by bit friends come into our garden, like playfellows from
the kindergarden or neighbour´s children. Not all of them
share the same area in the garden. We plant trees to climb,
build shacks to play in and to share secrets with our best
As time goes on, things keep changing. We go to school, we
grow up. And since we are busy, we may unlearn how to take
care of the garden. Because it feels the world belongs to us,
everything seems to be so big. We want to see the other
gardens and learn what other people do. Our garden feels so
small. But it still changes. Mother nature makes the grass,
the hedges, the bushes, grow. The hedges and the trees have so
many leafs, one can´t see through them anymore. The shacks
become overgrown and finally collapse. But instead of cleaning
up our own garden, we are only interested in other people´s
garden. The gardens of our colleagues, friends, neighbours and
so on. We enjoy the gardens of others. Yes, we do have our
own, but as usual, the grass is always greener on the other
Without realising we got to the point where we feel
disappointment. We have grown older. The plants in our garden
have grown. Yes, we sometimes mowed the lawn, cut hedges,
sometimes we even managed to plant fresh flowers. Everything
is in good shape, isn´t it??
But soon we get the feeling that we just compose ourselves, we
made us think, everything is OK. (Hopefully) our garden is not
chaos, but everything looks more beautiful in the other
We want to change it from now on. Unfortunately we are
occupied and have very little time only. So we engage a
gardener. We tell him to fix everything, repair the pathes,
cut the hedges and bushes, plant new trees and flowers and
keep everything in good shape. Well done!
We are not really convinced. Why does the gardener do
everything differently? He explains, as a professional he knows
exactly what and how everything needs to be done. We feel
better now and relax. It´s only the jealous neighbours with
their useless hints, that things are not good enough. The path
too wide, the hedge still too high, the trees too large, the
gate too blue, the…. “Oh come on, don´t you see a professional
is taking care of this?”
This is where we get to a crossroad. Those, who weren´t used
to be responsible for their life from the early days and find
their own way now find themselves in the Nirvana of their
garden. Some may give way to the pushing of the neighbours
like parents, friends, siblings and others. They are lost,
because if they do not react responsibly for their own life,
they will remain in the dilemma. Maybe they feel comfortable
in their Garden-Nirvana and make themselves at home. A high
thorn hedge may protect them. Unless someone with an antithorn
plating comes around, they may end their life in that
area of their garden. Everybody is doing whatever he wants to
in that garden, plants new trees or hedges or whatever.
Everybody contributes, but the owner. And he may be very happy
right now, as he can remain in his corner and he does not need
to take any responsibility.
Others may wake up, because they have friends pointing out how
important it is to be responsible for oneself. Sometime these
friends have just to tip the owners, sometimes they may have
to shout. In many cases a quarrel with good friends is needed
to wake up.*
Some others simply reflect their situation and manage to get
their rack together. They start to create the garden they
want. They have a vision, a GOAL! They know they have to sort
and prepare everything before they start. They know they can´t
do everything in one go, as the garden is in bad shape, chaos
is too big to fix it immediately. And they know Rome wasn´t
build in one day, they know sometimes you have to revisit your
plan and adapt it. Not everything is a success from day one.
But the successful small steps keep them motivated.
So, they feed the dry bush with fresh soil and water, it will
be cut so it can cast out. The shacks are rotten and need
dumping. Because they remind us of nice and happy-go-lucky
days, they will always have a place in our heart. Maybe we
keep a picture of them in our house. The same applies to
everything that gave us joy and peace, made us learn and grow.
We may remember it in love, it will stay in our heart forever.
The hedges are cut down to a good height. We look over it and
ask ourselves: “Is it still the same neighbour, the one I
haven´t spoken to, since…? We repair the fence, especially the
gates, so we have access to the neighbour´s plots and
everybody can come and visit us. We burn the bridges to the
plots surrounded by thorns, because we don´t want to get hurt
anymore. The more we do, the more we detect how good this
feels. We establish more and more, and suddenly people come
into our garden. Just like we have been in other people´s
garden for so long.
We have learned to listen and to pay attention. Above all we
listen to a special voice, the voice of our heart. We now know
what we want, instead of knowing what we do not want. As long
as we do not want a certain thing, everything else is an
option. For example, we don´t want roses in our garden, since
we don´t like thorns. Friendly neighbour comes along, planting
a clematis in our garden. “Doesn´t he know how much work they
generate? What an ignorant!” But the neighbour says: „You did
not want roses, a clematis clearly isn´t one. By the way, it
is from argentina, growing 100feet per year and the blossoms
are sooo nice!” Same thing happens, if we do not have an
opinion at all. Everybody kills us with kindness and is
planting flowers and trees in our garden. That´s what it soon
looks like, a catalogue of a DIY-store.
But because we left that unconscious behavior behind, we are
in control. The garden is looking the way WE want it to. And
it feels great! It´s not always easy to rearrange our garden.
We may need a shovel, which we may have. Sometimes we may need
a bulldozer, which we have to borrow. But we do not give up.
There is a new solution to every new challenge we face. Seeds
and herbs will be blown into our garden, we decide if we keep
them or if we remove them. We understood, everything is
unlasting. The luck we experience today may be gone tomorrow.
But because we aim for being happy we keep creating things
that make us happy.
Every single day.
May your garden of life grow and blossom and be a source of
infinite happiness for you!
Just in case you may need some tools for your garden of life,
here is a place where you will find these tools. Feel free to
ask. No return needed.
© Michael Hippe
* (Be thankful, if your friends sometimes are direct and harsh
to you to wake you up. That makes them real friends!)