Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Other Lesson I Learned From Chef Ramsey

Chef Ramsey is probably not all that inspiring (sorry, Chef).  I was probably just in a philosophical mood the day I watched him.  I realized that passion was important in anything attempted.  But I also realized something else.

I don't know if it's just me, but I have always been a bit bothered by playing around in my garden.  As if that's just not good enough.  I should be doing something worthwhile.  Something to change lives.  Something for someone else.  Not just pulling weeds.

Don't get me wrong.  I have volunteered my time and talents.  I have donated monies.  I have tried to make this world a better place, and the people in it a little better off.  But still, I've always felt a little guilty spending so much of my time on a personal pursuit.  A personal pursuit that would mean nothing after I was gone from this earth.  The saying is "As the gardener goes, so goes the garden."  Or something like that.

But you know I mean.  The garden can not live without the maintenance and attention of the gardener.  Weeds will take over, plants will die, chaos will reign.

Why would I spend so much time and effort - my passion - on something that will not live on?

Then I watched Chef Ramsey.  And I got it.  Passion is for all people, and for all things.  It's o.k. to have a passion to make the best sandwich.  To put your love into making the dressing taste incredible with selected spices.  To have the bread hand made with love and experience.  To determine exactly which meats will give it that certain taste.  To add the right amount and type of vegetables.  To make a masterpiece of taste in an item so common as a sandwich.  And a sandwich only lasts 30 minutes - or less!

That's when it hit me.

It's o.k. to have a passion for gardening.  To spend time - even a lifetime - attending to a garden.  Planting just the right plants.  Designing a pleasing yet functional space.  To watch each bloom, each butterfly, each bee in their own life's pursuit.

I know gardeners that have looked back and thought "With all the time and effort I put into my garden, I could have changed the world."  And all they felt was guilt.  Remorse.  Emptyness.

But the other lesson I learned from Chef Ramsey was:  it's o.k. to have a passion and pursuit for something dear to only you.  Even if that something may not last forever.  Just like it's o.k. to pursue the perfect sandwich, it's o.k. to be a passionate gardener.

Have you ever felt guilty for spending so much time and effort on your garden?

OK, I'll get off Chef Ramsey now.  That's probably all I learned in those 30 minutes anyway!

(And in case you're wondering, the photos are not of my garden.  They were taken at the Botanic Gardens in Albuquerque.) 


  1. These are some very lovely shots! The last one looks like an alien to me. I like that!

    I guess what Chef Ramsey taught is Self Acceptance or loving oneself. We must love ourselves before loving others. We must carry out our own passion before encouraging others to carry out theirs.

    Having said the above, I do feel guilty if I spend to much time on my passion. Balance is still important.

  2. Lovely photos! Guilt does have a way of wrecking our days, if we let it. Sometimes it is false guilt, there is a difference.

    Gardening is good exercise, it is great for body, mind and soul. We learn about life in our gardens, we learn thankfulness, we share our joy with others and they do the same.

    My garden is not a perfect garden and I work in it when I can. Earlier this morning I was out front doing some much needed trimming when I looked up and saw a beautiful swallowtail butterfly flitting about the orange trumpet blooms of the crossvine. It brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart.

    Have a guilt free day in your gardens,


  3. My professional job has a lot to do with giving to people, so I need my garden to recharge myself to not burn out. Still I also have questioned at times if it is really worth it spending so much time in the garden, because of the fleeting nature of it. I had to leave a garden behind in which I worked like crazy (each and every weekend) after four years because my husband and I unexpectedly had to move. Now I try to work only as much in the garden as I like to and not overdoing things, just being content with the progress that I can make in the time that I comfortable can spend out there.
    Thanks for telling me the names of the roses in your last post!

  4. Beautiful photos to go with a nice reflective post. :)

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. (Oops, let's try this again)

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post. I've considered this topic as well, but I think I came to a similar conclusion as Christina did. Though the time I spend in the garden sometimes feels like selfish, self-centered time, I usually find that it is still a better use of my time than many of the other things I could be doing. Gardening is good for my soul and it is self-centering time - not just self-centered time. By filling up my emotional, psychological, or spiritual tank in the garden I am better prepared to give of myself at other times and in other ways. Besides, who is to say that someone doesn't see our passion for gardening and find that inspiring in some way that will enrich their own life?

    I think this is why so many people pursue becoming master gardeners. That is one way to pursue your passion and do something for the greater good at the same time.

  7. I agree with all the ladies above. I have wondered especially over the past month and do about every year at this time and wonder why do I still put out flowers and spend so much money on my yard and gardens. But I do it because it is meaningful to me to know that I helped those beautiful blooms along and they cause me to smile. Keep gardening because it makes you feel good.

  8. One - I agree. Acceptance is important. I think I worry about what others may think.

    FlowerLady - I think as we mature (not necessarily age), we become more aware of the little things in life that can give us such joy. It's nice to be able to experience these things without feeling guilty.

    Christina - Gardens are certainly fleeting. And how sad it must have been to move away from your last garden. I hope you enjoy every second in your garden.

    Bumble Lush - Maybe I'm the only one that feels guilty not saving humanity! (As If I could, anyway!)

    Chad B - I like how you worded that - self-centering time. Good thought.

    Becca - I suppose there would be less joy and less blooms in the world if no one took the "time to smell the roses". Perhaps in some way we are helping the bugs of the world!

  9. I have never felt guilty for spending too much time in the garden. In fact, it's just the opposite -- I feel guilty for not spending enough time. The older I get, the more time I want to spend tending the garden. In a crazy world such as ours, it is one place where I find peace and comfort. By the way, loved the photos. A wonderful way to illustrate your passion.

  10. I have never had to face this dilemma because I use my garden to educate my customers about proper care of the earth. However, I doubt I would feel guilty anyway--balance in all things. It was the passion that attracted me to Walter in my recent post and I mentioned you in a comment.

  11. nittygrittydirtman - Gardens are wonderful places for peace and comfort. Maybe I'm the only one that feels I should be out doing something for humanity!

    carolyn - Now you have my curiosity peaked. I read your post about Walter, but now I'll have to go back and read your comments.

  12. I totally agree with the others. And you can share your garden with other people and welcome them--which is a part of saving the world. I try to find a balance between the well-tended parts of the garden and the part that we leave to nature. That helps me to balance the guilt with the enjoyment. Breathe in the blessings all around you. Enjoy!

  13. Gardening for me is such a nurturing activity that I don't feel guilty for the time I spend there. I think of the garden as a place that nurtures both the body and spirit. And I try to take care of my little part of the earth by giving back to it. So Holley, you are doing something for humanity when you are working in your garden!

  14. I think you give yourself little credit. I believe you helped out a few of Mother Nature's creatures find a place through the Texas year. You may have inspired a passerby that was too timid to tell you of their appreciation. Someone somewhere will carry on something from your garden, even if it is only a bird with a little seed.

  15. PlantPostings - I am amazed that I am obviously the only one that feels guilty spending so much time in the garden! I will try to breathe in the blessings - wonderful way to put it.

    dorothy - I suppose I need to look more for the good it's doing, not only for me, but for the small part of earth I do garden.

    Kelli - That is an artichoke flowering. Amazing and beautiful, isn't it?

    Tufa Girl - Kind words - and they struck home. Yes, Texas critters needed a break this year, and perhaps my garden was a little paradise for them. I love what you said about the bird with a seed, and my garden carrying on somewhere I may not see.

  16. I've never felt guilty about the wonderful, therapeutic, self-serving indulgence of gardening. Does that mean I have no soul? If so, well, I can live with that as long as I can garden.

  17. StoBlogger - Obviously I'm the only one that feels a bit guilty, so that makes me feel silly that I ever did! I will not feel guilty any longer!

  18. I used to but not anymore. Creating beauty and wildlife habitat is a good thing.

    I think one of the guilt-inspiring things about gardening is that it's usually a solitary activity, but blogging has created a world-wide gardening club where we can all share each other's gardens and experiences.

  19. sweetbay - Thanks for chiming in. You are right, creating beauty and making a habitat for wildlife is definitely a very good thing! I will remember that when those feelings start to creep up.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...