Yes, it’s summertime in Florida and “steam-room hot”, yet my garden called to me today to finish some weeding along the road-side edge of my cul-de-sac. It’s been something I’ve struggled with for decades; making my garden more presentable for everyone else (from the road-side, at least). I previously would cut the weeds back in a frustrated fashion and they would keep returning- just like clockwork. I repeatedly stayed busy and felt like I’d accomplished something, only to realize, like Sisyphus, the process never ended. Soon, the glow of success would fade as the neatly edged garden was overrun by invaders once again. Where is the Wisdom in that? So, today I approached it differently influenced in part by my recent graduate studies and fabulous retreat last weekend celebrating Mary Magdalene’s feast day, July 22nd (more on that later, if interested). Suffice it to say that my soul was touched deeply & healed; reminded gently that there are lessons to be learned in ALL experiences (even from being persecuted and mis-represented for eons… graceful wisdom and truth will always triumph in the end).
Defining the "problem"
As we begin, let’s review what we mean by a weed (so that we are discussing the same thing). Directly from the Miriam-Webster dictionary online: “WEED: a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth; especially: one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants.” Ugh- not my favorite definition. It sounds so judgmental & confrontational; something that needs to be removed or fixed, whatever the cost (like the current view of Pain and Disease) . I prefer a paraphrased description I heard years ago that was much more POSITIVE- that a weed is a plant whose purpose has yet to be discovered (just like us all)… little did I know that it was attributed to Emerson.
As you may have guessed, I chose Emerson's more positive perspective and approached my weeds differently, setting an intention of learning from the Weeds and my interaction with them today... what is beckoning to be Discovered?
Wisdom from My Weeds:
I had several choices to consider today- Choices have Consequences... 1) If I pulled the weeds up quickly and without much thought, I easily damaged the other small plants around them- Win/ Lose This happens all the time when tumors are hacked out of our bodies, without much regard for the other tissues/ lymph nodes/ long term effect of their removal. Sure, if it’s cancer, we’d like it removed, but it didn’t happen overnight and if we do NOT address the issues that set the normal cells into “cancer mode”, it will most likely reoccur, and we lose, again. What are we doing to support the rest of the body in the process? 2) If I cut them back JUST at the surface, it was quick and efficient, yet they kept growing back and I never learned their message in the constant battle. Win/ Lose This is how we keep treating PAIN and other SYMPTOMS in our bodies today- we just cut back/ suppress the DISEASE at the surface, only to have it continue to fester beneath the surface and return (Drug addiction- Opioid Crisis)… Great for Pharmaceutical companies, yet not so good for our well-being and quality of life as Human Beings... especially when access to pills is curtailed. 3) If I sprayed them with Round-Up or another fast-acting chemical, the weeds died yet there were side-effects to contend with- perhaps killing or preventing food crops from growing in a healthy way. Win/ Lose Like #2 above, especially when we use CHEMO and RADIATION as the only accepted ways of dealing with cancer (along with surgery). WHY aren’t other COMPLEMENTARY/ INTEGRATIVE therapies encouraged and covered by insurance??? Beyond the Cancer context, we KNOW these chemicals on/in our foods are NOT healthy and are BANNED in most European Countries… why are they still being used in the USA??? 4) Best insight today (Wisdom from my Weeds)- After careful assessment, my process was to Mindfully decide which plants were to remain and which were to be removed for today… then gently remove the invasive plant with the proper tool, actively listening to the messages being received. Win/ Win! When dealing with chronic issues today, consider that our bodies are trying to inform us of an imbalance or "dis-ease". Instead of suppressing the wisdom, lean into the messages- focusing on solving the problems and regaining an Authentic level of Comfort & Quality of Life (using your new tools)...
Shifting to Comfort, Active Listening and Trust in Nature
I’ve tried a variety of other tools before, but the curved weed-removal tool gently gets where it needs to go and is very comforting to the wrist, as well. The proper tool makes all the difference! This is another reason I suggest that our current PAIN/ DISEASE/ FIGHT-IT focus needs to be shifted to a Comfort/ Dis-Ease/ Learn from It perspective. We do this by focusing on what we WANT and by learning from the messages all around us; sensing with our body, mind and spirit. As I was tending my garden, I reflected (through the sweat on my brow) on WHY certain weeds kept popping up in areas that I felt were inappropriate. Was my old perspective accurate (that they were a nuisance) or did they have a purpose? I observed that there were several cute low growing, flowering plants that hugged the sloped edges of my sandy soil without any care on my part. With fresh eyes, it seemed like they might be preventing the soil from being washed away during the rain. Each time I would remove them in the past, I remembered that soil would wash away, and they would return to help once again. Hmmm... they have a hidden purpose- trying to help! I also reassessed some curious plants that I allowed to remain for the last couple of weeks (despite being told that they were “weeds” by neighbors- outer experts). They looked a bit like iris or daylily leaves at first, so I trusted my gut (inner knowing) and let them remain… SO glad that I did, because they are starting to bloom delicate yellow flowers. 😉 Now I need to figure out how I can help them heal their faded leaves...
What a fabulous morning it has been. I listened to the beckoning of nature and after spending this time in my garden, I feel “complete”… My yard looks much more inviting and cared-for, I feel activated, and I continue to be amazed at the Healing Wisdom of Mother Nature. She is here for us all (and has never left us); eager to share her Insights when we are ready to see, hear and feel them...
We are invited to welcome home all parts of ourselves that we have forgotten,
cast aside or repressed, and to do so with Grace and Wisdom... Blessed Be and So it Is!