I kind of learned a new word recently. I mean, I have heard it before… to tend… to tend to your garden or something like that. But my good friend Maria Fernanda brought a whole different meaning of the word tend to my attention and I wanted to share how it kind of changed my perspective…This blog kind of literally just came out of my heart just now… I had been thinking of this concept in my head and how I wanted to share it, and here is it is. I really hope you enjoy it.
verb: tend; 3rd person present: tends; past tense: tended; past participle: tended; gerund or present participle: tending
1.care for or look after; give one’s attention to.
Synonyms: look after, take care of, care for, minister to, attend to, see to, wait on; watch over, keep an eye on, mind, protect, watch, guard, supervise; nurse, nurture, cherish
“she tended her garden”
I found it really interesting when I was looking up the definition for this word that it was both hard to find a true definition for it, and that it often simply referred to plants. But I think there is a much deeper meaning to this word… it means to look after, to take care of, to nurture… all of which we can do to both ourselves and each other. So when my friend presented me the idea of this concept, I really started to think about all the aspects of life where this can apply.
I am a firm believer in that the things we do should as often as possible come from a place of love and wanting on our part. If something feels stressful or like more effort than it should… maybe it isn’t want you are meant to be doing in that moment. For example, if you come home from a really stressful day at work and you are really tired and don’t feel like making dinner… maybe listen to that. Have a bowl of oatmeal instead, or have sandwich night, or see if the kids want to help make dinner with you. Find a balance between feeling strained to do something, and doing something from a place of tending. I guarantee that sandwich night, coming from a place of love, will taste much better than an elaborate meal made while stressed out.
This can be applied to other aspects of life too. Recently I signed up for a huge race because I felt like it was my time to go back and do it. I was super motivated to make it happen and then reality kind of kicked in. Training for the race became very stressful for me, I felt like I had to get out there and run and that the amount I was running was just simply not enough. Every time I finished a run, I would look at my watch and think… wow, I really should have ran farther, I should have added more hills, I should have gone faster. I had to stop and think about this. Every run I am beating myself up? I am focusing more on what I could have done instead of what I did do? Something just wasn’t lining up, something just didn’t feel right. Until one yoga class at our Chakra Adventure and Wellness retreats when Maria (our yoga instructor) played a song… Whispers by Ayla Nereo (check it out!)… which talks about this concept of tending. Maria then explained that things we choose to do in life should come from a place of tending… with this idea of taking care, or nurturing ourselves and others. And I thought, I am doing to the complete opposite of tending by training for this race. I am beating myself up, and spiralling into a cycle of negativity around something that I am supposed to love. Literally in that moment right there, I decided this race wasn’t meant to be for me this year…. and as soon as I did, a huge weight was lifted. Right now, I really just want to run because I want to. And if I only go 10k, then awesome! If I run slow and chat with my friends, then great!! Ultimately what matters is that I am happy and enjoying myself.
Another part of life that I apply this notion of tending to is how I take care of myself. I am not very girly. I half the time could care less about how my hair looks, I am 99% of the time in running clothes and I NEVER wear makeup. But I do take the time to nurture myself, to tend to myself. I eat healthy, whole food. I take a multi vitamin everyday. I brush my teeth at least twice a day and floss (most days). I wash my face night every night, use organic products and tone and moisturize. I enjoying taking a little extra time each day to nurture my body and my skin because I believe I deserve the time to be taken care of… and who better to take care of my than myself!
We can also apply this idea of tending to the people in our lives. We should care for, help and attend to our friends and family. If they need some help with something, we should make an effort to be there for them. If they need someone to talk to we should listen attentively without judgement and provide empathy. We should be kind with our word and not say things to them we might regret. If we have a problem with someone, we should be transparent and clear with them and work through the issue with clear, concise communication. I think if we can all apply tending to our everyday lives, we and the people around us will be happier, healthier individuals. And really, nothing is better than love and happiness in life. You can everything you think you need, but you don’t have it all without being happy and feeling love. And love doesn’t have to be for someone else in the sense of a partner… it can be for yourself, for a friend, for a family member. Don’t be afraid to show love, don’t be afraid to tend.