Attitude: How does your garden grow?

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary”


Mary, Mary, quite contrary

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockleshells

And pretty maids all in a row.

I was reading something the other day about gardening and there were subtle references to weeding the negative things in life and planting the seeds of positive things. Suddenly I started thinking, “How does your garden grow?” in reference to a blog post I was formulating. While thinking of an outline for the post, the lyrics to this old Mother Goose poem stuck in my head. As I sat with the words of the song or lets call it a poem, I started to wonder if the poem was about attitude. I did some researching and found some theories on the meaning of the poem, none of which said the poem was about attitude. There are some religious theories and some theories on Mary Queen of Scots, but nothing about attitude.

I think its meaning is something similar to the phrase, “you catch more bees with honey than shit” meaning if you are trying to catch some bees (someone’s attention or someone’s favor) you need honey (positivity) not shit (negativity).

Similarly, Apparently Mary is contrary. I don’t know who Mary is but is being contrary. Contrary to what?

contrary means opposite in nature, direction, or meaning. An alternative meaning is perversely inclined to disagree or to do the opposite of what is expected or desired.  So, using either meaning, Mary is being perversely inclined to disagree or do the opposite of what is expected or desired. What is the opposite? The opposite is likely somewhere in the poem, yes, it is silver bells and cockle shells, in my interpretation, this means the positive, the good, the right thing. I am not exactly sure about the reference to pretty maids all in a row, perhaps that refers to politely serving others (pretty maids) or perhaps it refers to a pretty maiden or pretty girl is not contrary. Perhaps all in a row is about order, as in structure? I am not sure about the last part, but I do think ole Mother Goose in her nursery rhyme was trying to tell us to be nice to each other, to choose the positive, to serve. I could be wrong, but I love to find hidden meanings in things like this.  I wonder what other lessons we can learn from mother goose.

What grows in your garden? Is it beautiful and peace and love and heaven on earth or is it contrary? Do you feed your garden with negative thoughts based on attachment, like envy, greed, hatred, anger or do you water it with love, patience, tenderness, do you fertilize it with compost? What is your compost made of? What thoughts are you recycling? Are they healthy, positive, righteous thoughts or are they negative, infected, dirty thoughts. Does your creative water flow freely or do you starve your garden with ignorance and negativity? Do you keep your thoughts in the dark? Or do you educate yourself, expanding your mind and your creativity? Do you practice mindfulness and pull out the negative weeds? Do you tend to it, remove the garbage other people have tried to put there? Do you treat it with care or do you ignore it, allowing it to wither and die? Perhaps your garden is Eden, lush and abundant with positive thoughts. Perhaps contrary?

How does your garden grow?