Imagining your life

April 14th, 2015
Front yard March and April

What a difference a month makes! This top photo of our front yard was taken March 15, and the bottom photo was taken today, less than four weeks later. We’ve moved from dormancy to visible growth almost overnight.

At our Art of Transitioning workshop last Saturday, we talked about the way our inner gardens mirror this process of change, and the power of imagination to create the growth we desire.

If you want to move from March to April in your own life, here’s one of the activities from the workshop that you can do on your own to prompt a shift:

Think of a change in your life that you’re pondering, but which doesn’t seem fully formed yet. It might be a move, a career change, an opportunity to spend more time with family or some other step in your life that isn’t yet completely clear.

Now imagine that change as though it has already happened, and write the story of it in your journal. Write about it as though it is already completed–as though April has arrived. How does it feel? How is your life better for having made the change?

This can help you move from dormancy to growth, creating a clear intention of the direction you want to go.

Affirmation: Today I imagine my life as I wish it to be, creating the changes that will nourish my heart and soul.

“What am I here for?

December 20th, 2014

Life has a way of giving us answers to that question. But over time, the answers may change and disappear. You may think you’re here to have children and raise a family. Or to have a successful career. Or to take care of someone who needs your help.

But children grow up. Careers shift and end. Loved ones pass or no longer need our care.

And then the question arises again: What am I here for?

To get to the deeper answer, it helps to look inside rather than to the outside world.

What if we’re here to experience soul growth every day, no matter what’s going on in the world around us? What if we’re here to know ourselves better, becoming more in tune with the seeds of creativity and passion in our inner gardens?

What if the answer to “What am I here for?” comes from…

• opening up to spiritual growth and learning.

• finding new ways to ground yourself while letting energy flow through you.

• expressing yourself as a creative being.

• bringing love into the world daily.

• measuring your purpose not by how much money you make or what your children do, but rather by whether you’re willing to keep digging deeper into your inner garden.

Take a few minutes today to sit down and journal. Make yourself a cup of tea, find 10 or 15 minutes of quiet time, and ask your inner self the question, “What am I here for?” Listen deeply and, if you’re willing, please let us know what you learn.

If you’re interested in spiritual growth within a community of other women, check out our 2015 workshops, all designed to help you find peace and purpose in the coming year.

Women, we need your input: What matters most to you?

October 1st, 2014
  • How can I experience more creative energy in my life?
  • What supports or limits my growth or potential?
  • How does gratitude bring me greater inner peace?
  • Am I more committed to looking better on the outside or feeling better inside?

In 2015, we’ll offer four workshops, each themed to the most common questions on women’s minds. Each one-day gathering will provide a safe, comfortable space for you to talk with others who share your interests—and explore your own thoughts and dreams.

So here’s what we want to know:What questions are on your mind? The ones above are samples, but we want to hear what you’re thinking about these days. What are your concerns? What do you need help with? If these workshops were designed specifically for you, what would your questions be?

Tell us your top four. Nothing is off limits.

We want to get to the root of what matters most to you, so please comment here or contact us with your input. After hearing from you, we’ll choose the four topics for the workshops and announce the themes for each of these 2015 dates:

  • January 24
  • April 11
  • July 18
  • October 17

Thank you for giving us your input by November 30. We’ll keep you posted about the results!




Independence Day

July 3rd, 2014

We hold these truths to be self-evident…

  • Women often try so hard to please others they forget to take care of themselves.
  • Your joy is in you, not outside of you.
  • The universe is working for your good, even though it may not seem like it some days.
  • It’s okay to say no.
  • Peace comes not from trying to control your world, but by seeing the gifts in it.

We’ve all heard these truths and others, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded. Especially on a day like Independence Day, when we celebrate freedom. This is a perfect time to spend a few moments with your journal and ask yourself: What truths are self-evident for me?

No matter where you live or what situations you face, you get to choose freedom in your own mind. It might mean choosing forgiveness so you’re not imprisoned by anger or blame. It could mean choosing to say no so you won’t be constrained by obligations or relationships that don’t serve you. And it could be choosing what’s right for you and speaking up about it, no matter what anyone else expects of you.

On this Independence Day weekend, take some time to explore your own truths. Say no. Ask for help. Look for joy. Take time for yourself. Journal. Walk. Meditate. Remember. Trust your gut.

When the fireworks go off inside, signaling an ah-ha moment or the excitement of what’s to come, you’ll know it’s time to celebrate your own personal Independence Day. Have a freedom-filled Fourth…and Fifth and Sixth, and all the days to come!







Traveling with sore feet: Part II

May 12th, 2014

Diane is blogging from France about the mindfulness of traveling—especially with limited mobility. Here’s her latest post, with tips that apply to everyday life:

Don’t go with the flow. This is a strange thing to say on a cruise, yet to experience fully the pleasures of this trip down the Seine River, I need to resist my natural inclinations to keep going beyond my physical limitations. Here’s what I’ve learned…

Rest when you’re tired. This is the second day we’ve bypassed the opportunity to visit the Musee de l’Orangerie, a gorgeous Monet museum, in favor of lounging around the hotel (yesterday) and the boat (today). I’ve opted for rest.

Focus on what’s directly in front of you rather than what you’re missing. Having decided to skip the museum, I now watch Parisians frolic with their dogs in the park on the other side of the river. Five dogs of varying sizes chase one another back and forth as their owners sit on the ground and watch them play. Do these locals know one another—friends who are out running together—or have they become acquainted by virtue of their pets? Tails wag so exuberantly. Dogs run excitedly after balls. A new dog arrives and tugs at the owner, as if to say, “Oh, please let’s stop and play.”

Don’t worry about what others think. “What did you do today?” other guests on the cruise inevitably ask. “I watched some dogs frolic in a park” feels like an inadequate answer as others recite the list of sites visited and tours taken. Yet at this moment, as I observe people doing ordinary things, an unexpected happiness overtakes me.

Evaluate how you’re doing. Guidebooks list the top ten attractions of Paris, the  “don’t miss” sites. It’s hard to ignore such recommendations, yet my intention, in honoring my physical limitations, has been to set my own pace and focus on a few things.

So now it’s time to do that—minding the mystique of Mona Lisa at the Louvre, whiling away time near the weeping willows of Monet’s garden at Giverny, contemplating the courage of the soldiers who landed at Normandy Beach. Unless, of course, I resist the flow of even my own plans and stay grounded just where I  am.

Traveling with sore feet

May 8th, 2014

Diane is blogging from France about the mindfulness of traveling—especially with limited mobility. Here’s her latest post:

Paris is easy on the soul, not so much on the sole. It offers many allures and diversions, most reachable through long walks and not particularly accessible by public transportation. Get to your destination, and long admission lines await.

Yet in our three days, soul and sole have aligned. Foregoing the two-and-a-half-hour tour of the Notre Dame Cathedral, I chose instead to  meditate in the cavernous, relatively quiet space. Then, discovering a beautiful 13th-century Mary and child, I gazed with wonder at her wise, gentle face and a baby Jesus appearing to be discovering his hands for the first time.

When lines wound around too many curves at the Musee de l’Orangerie, we instead joined thousands of Parisians sunning themselves at a nearby reflecting pool and fountain. As Jeff went off to buy ice cream, I found one chair and began the search for another. An elderly woman carried one over to me.  Was it that apparent my feet hurt?

Parisians have been consistently gracious—running after us to return a dropped tour guide, offering seats on buses and speaking English without hesitation after our awkward attempts at French.

What have I learned so far about traveling through the day with my nerve-impaired feet?

Give your curious mind something to feast on that doesn’t always require moving about.

Indulge your eyes, ears and nose wherever you may be.

Surrender to what is pleasant and easy.

Vacationing doesn’t have to be hard work. Use your common sense, which I neglected to do when walking to the Latin Quarter last night for dinner. As Jeff continues to say, “Now remember, we have to walk back!”

Tomorrow we move to a boat that will take us up the Seine—more opportunities to cultivate soul and care for soles.

Reflecting on Mindfulness at Easter

April 14th, 2014

With Easter coming, we thought it would be the perfect time to talk about mindfulness.
No matter what your spiritual beliefs, this is a season of renewal and reaffirmation, and much of life’s inspiration arrives in the small everyday details that are easy to overlook or undervalue.

We can’t think of a better way to explore mindfulness than through this excerpt from Spring: Women’s Inspiration for the Season of Hope and New Beginnings, one of the seasonal books of women’s essays and poems we published over the past year.

This essay, by Sarah Klaassen, begins with her move from Seattle, Washington, to the Ozarks in Missouri. While her partner began a new and satisfying job, Sarah started to question her own self-worth.

She had left behind a meaningful position as an interim pastor and wasn’t able to find a job in their new community. So she set to work on everyday tasks, questioning who she was and when she would find the work that was hers to do.

Here’s an excerpt from the end of her essay, “For Work That Is Real.” We encourage you to read it and then reflect on its connection to your own life through the questions that follow.

Now spring is upon us here on the edge of the Ozarks, offering with it a few glimpses of bright summer.  

I wake each morning to the sun in our east-facing window and to birds chirping.  

I get up and wash last night’s dishes as I listen to Morning Edition on our small kitchen radio.  

I eat breakfast: one piece of toast from homemade bread I bake each week.  

I sit down with my laptop at the kitchen table.  

As I browse through the classified ads, some days all I hear is the wind running through trees, and underneath the wind, the ticking of the clock on the wall.  

I just started some seeds the other day in the basement, my hands working through wet potting soil, and I began to see in the growing light of the advancing seasons the real work that I’ve done. The apples and walnuts and baking, the sleeping, the waiting, the living.   

It’s not what I’d expected or what I’d hoped in a job or paycheck, but somewhere underneath, life has carried on anyway, all along having been the calling of living and the work that is real.

Questions for reflection:

  • Practice mindfulness by noticing small, life-affirming moments through the day.
  • What is the rhythm of routine tasks and patterns in your life?
  • How does that rhythm represent “the work that is real” in your inner life and relationships?
  • How can noticing and honoring these small moments help renew the light within you?
  • How has life “carried on anyway,” even during times that didn’t meet your expectations? What can you learn about yourself by reflecting on those times?

If you have any “ah-has” you’d like to share, please post them in the Comments section. We’d love to hear from you. Enjoy this time of new beginnings!


Making a vision board

January 31st, 2014

Tending Your Inner Garden is all about paying attention to what your soul needs and what seeds of potential are ready to grow. One of the best ways to access that inner wisdom is to make a vision board, a visual representation of your soul’s greatest desires.

Vision board

This vision board told me I needed more balance and time outdoors. I’m not quite sure about the headless woman in the upper left corner:)

Winter is the ideal time to make a vision board because it’s a natural time of quiet and reflection. Plus, cabin fever may be setting in about now, and a vision board can help you get excited about what’s to come in your life. The other great thing about a vision board is that you don’t have to be an artist: the clippings you find do the work for you.

To start, find a large sheet of paper, a pair of scissors, a glue stick, and a stack of old magazines. You’ll do this in two parts:

First, set a timer for 15 minutes. Start going through the magazines and cut out anything that speaks to you. It could be a word, a phrase, a picture. The important thing is not to think about it. If it speaks to you, cut or tear it out. Keep going until the timer sounds.

Second, set the timer for another 15 minutes, grab your glue stick and start pasting the clippings to the background sheet. Again, don’t stop to analyze or plan. Just plop things down wherever they land. When the timer goes off, you’re done.

Now step back and look at what you’ve created. What themes emerge? For instance, do you see a lot of images or words pertaining to money, health, relationships or nature? Is your vision board bright and colorful, or are the colors more subdued? Did you fill up every available space on the background paper, or is there space between the clippings? The answers to all these questions can help you decipher the messages your vision board has for you.

  • Here are some suggestions for making the experience even more powerful:
  • Get together with a friend or family member and make your vision boards together. When you’re done, you may see themes in one another’s vision boards that you would have overlooked in your own.
  • Journal about your vision board. Choose some items that stand out to you and ask yourself what they mean in your life right now.
  • Put your vision board where you can see it daily. Many Inner Gardeners have hung theirs on their refrigerator or bathroom mirror, or carried them in a journal or calendar.
  • Put the date on your vision board. Then do a new one annually at about the same time of year. Over time, you’ll see trends in the direction your life is going. For instance, one Inner Gardener was surprised to find that her vision board had a lot to do with relationships. Within a year, she’d met her future husband and was planning to get married. Another is making a change in her career direction, and her vision board is helping guide her to pursuits like yoga and writing, mapping out the direction she wants to go.

We’d love to hear how your vision board turns out. Leave comments here or contact us and we’ll post your photo on our Facebook page.

Give the gift of women’s voices

October 31st, 2013
TYIG Four covers-page-001_opt(1)

Save 25% for the Holidays!
Order all four books for just $49.95!


Readers of the Tending Your Inner Garden seasonal books love what they are discovering. The voices of women from across the country and globe speak of the joys and sorrows of everyday life, as well as those pivotal moments when life surprises us and prompts us to rethink our values and priorities.

  • Winter captures the tender moments of loved ones now gone and glory in the beauty of bare trees against painted skies and invites you into the comfort of quiet and reflection.
  • Spring honors the rejuvenating energy of this beloved season and encourages you to discover and savor your own new beginnings.
  • Summer reminds you that the beauty of life at its peak and the hindrance of storms are all part of the extremes of this season.
  • Fall invites you to sit back, reflect, celebrate and surrender as you recall the lessons and memories of the year that has passed, integrating them into the soil of your life.

Now, enjoy the entire set of four books for just $49.95…a savings of 25%! Click here to order.






Newest anthology features intimate stories, women’s wisdom

September 21st, 2013

We’re delighted to introduce the fourth and final anthology in our series of four seasonal books, all made possible thanks to the submissions of essays and poems from women around the country and from other parts of the world.  The writing is grippingly honest. Women invite us into the deepest parts of their lives with stories that are sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes amusing, always enlightening.

A western woman living in Saudia Arabia tells why she wears the Arab abaya. A writer from Florida relates her humorous attempt to be grateful in the midst of changing a flat tire without the benefit of her dead cell phone in Alligator Alley.
A Des Moines woman shares the story of her sister’s decision to take her own life. Another tells us how she started noticing the beauty of snow-capped mountains in the Himalayas only when she decided to let go of her goal of reaching 20,000 feet.
With the publication of this fourth book, Tending Your Inner Garden has created a You Tube channel for in-person readings by women featured in the book. Check out Tending Your Inner Garden Women’s Writings.
This is a book to keep by your bedside or your favorite chair–and to pick up and savor whenever you experience the harvests and celebrations of fall in your life. Women who read the Winter, Spring and Summer books tell us that they connected so strongly to the writers because their voices are universal and their messages are timeless and grippingly honest. You’ll find that same quality in Fall, filled with lyrical writing, gentle humor and great wisdom.
Read reviews from other women writers:
“A meaningful journey of what it means to be a woman
in search of her essential self.

A marvelous read and important contribution.”

–Linda Carroll, therapist and author of
Her Mother’s Daughter, Remember Who You Are and
Love Cycles: From Merging to Wholehearted Loving

“The array of writers within these pages–where they’re from and the perspectives they gift to readers–adds depth to the most beautiful season.
This must be read outside on crisp, sunlit, solitary afternoons.”
–Mary Kay Shanley, author of
She Taught Me to Eat Artichokes  
and The Memory Box