On small habits
This week flew by, and so did the weekend. Small flowers still come up and announce the spring, and I cannot get enough of them. I spent this week planning 2023 in our garden and on the allotment plot, possibly inspired by last weekend’s Bristol Seed Swap. I arrived at the event with a bag full of allotment seeds to share with other Bristolians. I listened to a talk about biopiracy (I had no idea!…) and came away with a renewed sense of Nature activism, as well as pockets full of free seeds.
It was so nice to go back to the allotment after a winter of studies and rest – we are in the fourth year of allotment gardening, so our plot is finally shaping up. This was the first winter during which we were able to simply tidy everything up and let the soil rest.
Until now, of course. I am tidying up the remaining dried leaves and planting spring bulbs (I somehow prefer to do it in spring, although many people in the UK pop them in the ground in autumn). All my tulip and narcissus bulbs are now in, while snowdrops and crocuses are already out and blooming. Rose bushes slowly, carefully open their fresh green leaves, while rosemary in the allotment is already in bloom. So much is happening already.
But I still think of the idea of a simple seed. I was fortunate enough to win a few packs of heritage seeds in an Instagram giveaway organised by our fruit and veg supplier, Riverford Kitchen. I love the company and their stand on social justice and the health of the communities. And so, I now feel a part of their work to share heritage seeds across the country and cultivate all those beautiful plants. And when the time comes, in autumn, collect their seeds and share them even further.
A simple seed takes its time – it slowly opens up in the right conditions, peaks out of the grounds and grows into a new giant – to feed us or, like our lush camellia tree, to spoil us with beautiful blooms (I spotted the first one, yay!).
I am not good with growing our own vegetables from seeds, so this spring, I am challenging myself to learn it. I purchased new seed trays and appropriate compost today, and I will be using free pockets of time this week to plant the first tomatoes and chillis. It’s so exciting to think about the summer harvest hidden in those tiny little seed pockets.
I feel I ramble a bit today. That’s because I am so excited, and so much is going on. All of it is healing, nurturing, and soothing but also quite radical. We grow our own plants, our food and our flowers. Independent from major corporations but in close collaboration with local communities. That’s because our collective wellbeing matters as much as our individual health.
This week I invite you to think about your small daily digital habits: picking up your smartphone, opening your email inbox or playing another online game. If you find yourself doing it too often, too compulsively, for unhealthy escapism or simply too much on autopilot, what may help is to think about small changes. Each of those will be your personal metaphorical seed, which in a few weeks or months may just grow into a fully grown plant and offer you some fruit – a nurturing, healthy new digital wellbeing habit. Here is what can get you started:
Q: What are your current small unhealthy digital habits? What would you like to change?
Q: What is the trigger of each habit? What are the conditions?
Q: How can you overwrite that trigger with a different behaviour? That will be your seed.
Q: How can you pay a little bit more attention to this new behaviour replacing the old one? This will be the watering and feeding of your seed.
Q: How can you watch this new habit grow into a new one?
Q: Can you plan a celebration (a harvest feast) for the time when this newly formed habit develops into an automatic, healthier behaviour?
(I may use my remaining evening time to plan what chillies and tomatoes I may grow this year. Have a light evening and a soft week ahead!)
This post was originally posted on Substack in our Syl’s Liberation Psychologies Newsletter.