Weeds like life issues, though unwelcome at first, can present unexpected opportunity, possibility and healing perspective
At first glance, weeds in a garden bed are about as welcome as messy little problems in life. They all need tending, yet they also bring opportunity.
Though I am certainly not known for my green thumb, cooking or gardening, I have certainly learned the merits of getting my hands dirty. Each year I plant a few ‘manageable’ flower gardens that require minimal tending so that I can have the best of both worlds: flowers and a life.
And perhaps a surprising little fact about me: one of my favorite things to do is weed.
Weeding gets a bum rap and can actually be incredibly satisfying. As I am more of an instant gratification kind of gal…I like to see the fruits of my labor in real time. So weeding works for me. But beyond the tidying up aesthetic — getting your hands in the dirt helps the noise of the world fade away. Truly.
It’s a go-to for me when I need a ‘time out’ — like those moments when you are about to explode or feel you are banging your head against a wall. That’s when I step out my back porch and get to work. Sometimes I grab gloves, sometimes I just dig in. Sometimes I even stand barefoot in the grass while I do it for extra grounding.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 5 minutes, even more amazing to see how connecting with Mother Nature almost instantly calms the nervous system.
Yes, I find myself breathing, becoming more aware of my present moment and surroundings and have even found myself humming on occasion. Now that’s a big jump from the escalating frustrated mood I started in. It’s an incredible reset.
Weeds also transport and connect me to sentimental memories.
One summer morning after a walk while visiting my parents in my childhood home on Long Island, I recognized there were more weeds than flowers in their garden. I grabbed some gardening gloves from the garage and got to work. A few moments later my father wandered outside the back door to check on me. It was shortly before he passed away (4 years this August). His heart hadn’t been strong enough for him to do much more than grab a chair and sit beside me keeping me company.
Now you might be sitting there thinking…aaaaw, how sweet. And yes, it was. But if you knew my Dad, you’d also know that he was a great supervisor. Just the day before we had purchased some seedlings for his vegetable garden. In some ways it was a moot point because we all knew that he would never have the stamina to tend it moving forward. But in other ways, we wanted to lend a hand in helping him stay connected to the things he loved doing.
As the sun beat down on my sweaty brow, he directed me to “plant this there, tie this up that way, put this next to that.” I laugh, cry and roll my eyes just thinking about that day.
Once again the weeds had given me a gift – time spent with my father. It was the last garden we planted together — and a gift imprinted upon my heart. Sometimes there are more weeds than flowers in life, Best Selfers, but don’t be afraid to get your hands in the Mother Earth when possible. Slow down when you need it. Share love at every chance. Allow yourself to take a breather. And see (and seize) the weeds of opportunity.
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