Cultivate Your Own Garden

Mow, plant, and prune peacefully away, and avoid by all means living in the opinions of others, and the chaos of our hyper-connected world.
Piero Fornasetti Porcelain Plate modified
August 1, 2023

Voltaire boldly advises “Il faut cultiver notre jardin” in his tale of Candide. The take-away is basically his deep and practical rule “to cultivate our own garden” as a way of keeping a healthy distance between ourselves and the eternal chaos of the outside world. Why? Because taking too close an interest in politics, society and public opinion too habitually is a sure and fast route to internal frustration, aggravation, disappointment and unhappiness. And, it distances you from your own beautiful microcosm.

Society can breed trouble, and the fairness, goodness and kindness we so deeply long for as individuals can sometimes be hard to achieve so long as we evolve within the global political, social and economic troubles of society. If we hope to nurture a certain level of internal peace and joie de vivre, it is best to try not to allow our personal moods to get entangled.

Mow, plant, and prune peacefully away, and avoid by all means living in the plight of humanity, along with the opinions of others. To avoid falling prey to imposed anxiety and despair, we best keep ourselves busy and absorbed in what most excites us. Like raising a child, starting a blog (😜), or tending to one’s quaint backyard lemon orchard.

So many times I witness people losing an entire experience because they are too caught up in capturing a perfect image on their phone which serves only to show (or perhaps more accurately PROVE) something to others. I’ve witnessed it (too) many times, and it breaks my heart to see a young couple eating at a table “face to face,” only it is anything but face to face. They are consumed by their phones and not even the food excites them🤦‍♀️! God knows what could be more fulfilling than connecting with another, unless you are sharing what consumes your attention with them. Everyone has heard TED talks or read books about striving to be present, but no knowledge is useful unless actually applied.

To best tend to our orchard, we can remember that what counts more than anything is first and foremost our relationship with ourselves. If we need to prove anything, it really ought to be only to ourselves. True it is that through our interactions with others we learn more about ourselves—grow, thrive, and live happier lives. But what good are our interactions if we are too preoccupied with our surroundings and social media pressures?

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