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Replenishing the Body: Rachel’s Story


Rachel held up the warm, plump, deepening red globe. Gently she disengaged the fruit from its stem and set it down in her basket next to the squash, beans, and lettuce she’d already harvested. Even her tomatoes were doing well this year! It was a bigger garden than she’d ever attempted, but her labor was certainly bearing fruit.

The next-door neighbor chided her in a good-natured way about puttering around so much, but Rachel didn’t let it bother her. Taking care of her garden was like taking care of herself. She’d put off doing both for far too long.

Frankly, she’d let her garden and her life get choked out by too many weeds.

Little by little over the years, Rachel had traded in the important for the urgent. As her career as a nurse gained steam, it began to roll over the other activities of her life. After all, her work was important, and Rachel was very good at it. The better she got, the more pressure she took on. The more pressure she took on, the less she began to enjoy life. In a life-giving profession, she had less and less to give.

After years of providing help, one day Rachel decided it was time to ask for some. It wasn’t selfish; it was necessary.

The idea to replant her neglected garden came while she was talking with her counselor, who asked a question about what she enjoyed doing. It took her a moment to answer because, in her current life, she had trouble thinking of anything. She spent time in certain activities, even important ones, but they were not necessarily things she enjoyed. That’s when she spoke of the gardens she’d helped with as she was growing up.

“What was it about gardening you liked so much?”

“Caring for something,”Rachel had finally answered. “Watching over it and taking care of it. Knowing I could help something to grow. I hadn’t really thought of it before, but that’s the same reason I went into nursing.”

“Have you ever thought of yourself that way?” her counselor asked. “As someone to be cared for? What are you doing to help yourself grow?”

From the seed planted that day, Rachel set out to care for her garden and herself. Whatever place you’re at in your life, I encourage you to do the same. Whether it’s gardening, running, reading or just sitting in meditative silence, make the time to replenish yourself each day.

SOURCE: Chapter 8, “Replenishing the Body,” in Moving Beyond Depression by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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