Children’s books often perfectly capture the human experience. In the Frog and Toad story The Garden, Toad admires Frog’s garden and then plants some seeds of his own. Toad waters the garden and then begins to obsess about when the seeds will come up. He paces, worries, sings, and shouts at the seeds, which makes him feel like he’s doing something, but of course these things have no effect on the seeds. Sound familiar?
This is one of my favorite Frog and Toad stories because it involves a garden. But also because it highlights the uncertainty we all deal with in a very playful way.
Toad lacks patience, but it’s more than that. He is hoping he’ll have a beautiful garden like Frog’s, but not entirely believing it can happen. He’s at that existential place of seeing what in front of his eyes, hoping for something better, but not knowing if it will happen. What is in front of his eyes is just soil. The garden might not materialize.
We live in an uncertain world. And whether we are focusing on our personal lives (being healthier, more focused, more mindful) or the bigger community (becoming kinder, more respectful, more peaceful) we can’t be certain of the outcome.
We can however, optimize our outcomes by planting good seeds in good soil and tending them. (I’ve always wished Toad would have put down mulch which actually would have conserved moisture and helped his seeds grow!) But pacing, worrying, and obsessing don’t really help any of our seeds grow and also adds to our stress and the stress on the planet.
If you are not familiar with the Frog and Toad books, this is Toad’s personality. He tends to worry, see the negative side of things, and can quickly spiral into defeatist thinking. Frog tends to be more optimistic and hopeful about outcomes. He accepts uncertainty as just a part of the world. So the mindfulness focus this week is to be Frog and not Toad. Accept uncertainty. Plant our seeds. Tend our seeds. Hope and trust that good things can happen.
For more information on mindfulness focus words, click here.
If you’ve never read the Frog and Toad books, please do! Check out the links below.
The Garden is in the book Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel