lessons learned: pullin’ weeds

I am always amazed how words work their way into my life at just the right time.  I stumbled upon this one by chance and thought I’d repost.

You must weed your mind as you would weed your garden.  ~Terri Guillemet

He who hunts for flowers will finds flowers; and he who loves weeds will find weeds.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

It’s been a week of weed pullin’ around here.  With all of the cool rain followed by warm sun, the plants on the farm have grown higher and faster than their normal pace.dandelion

If I stand on my front porch, I can survey the little space I call my suburban farm.  Closest to the house are the perennial and native plant beds that I have cultivated for the 15 years we’ve lived here.  Beyond that, I can observe the onions and leeks, strawberries and berry bushes.  As the hill slopes towards the woods, the sunniest spot holds the place where tomatoes and peppers and herbs will thrive in hot summer heat.  Rounding out the shadier edges are the pea plants and greens, too delicate for long hours of sun.

From my front porch, all’s right with the world. Venturing to each bed, however, presents a different story.  Looking more closely, I find dandelions bullying the columbine and chickweed muscling in on the kale sprouts.  Everywhere I turn, I find unnecessary plants growing beside, on, and over my summer goodies.  Ugh!  Is an organic farmer’s work ever done?

This week, I had a few weeds of my own pop up in my  spiritual life.  Spiritual weeds, you ask?  Yes!  I define “spiritual weeds” as those words, actions or events that choke us and deprive of us of the nourishment we need for our souls.  Like dandelions or crabgrass, spiritual weeds aren’t necessarily intentional–their seeds just happen to land in our lives then take root and grow.  Then there are the plants that appear when we least expect them–an invader sneaking into our lives when we least expect it and sowing weeds here there and everywhere.

Before we know it, we are surrounded, and maybe even overwhelmed by, negativity, apathy, and bitterness.  We struggle to push past their broad leaves and and invasive roots so that we can return to our spiritual center.

Granted, we will always have weeds in our lives.  It’s part of creation, but this week, mine seemed to take hold and dig in.  So what did I do?  I started pullin’.

Pullin’ weeds requires a bit of intentionality and grace.  To complete the task, you’ve got to have the right tools but also be very careful.  Go in there fast and furious, and you end up sacrificing some of the good plants along the way.  I find that if I step back from the situation, assess the issue, then proceed with caution, I can usually extract the culprit without damaging any of the resources that support my spirit.

It’s better to pull a weed when it’s young rather than letting it mature and hoping it will go away on all its own.  I find that if I manage the situation proactively, then I don’t have to get the situation under control reactively.

Finally, pullin’ weeds doesn’t have to happen if you don’t plant yourself near the weeds in the first place.  As my good friend used to say, “Why go borrowin’ trouble?”  Oh yes, the weeds will always be there, but we don’t necessarily have to sow our spirit among them.

As for me this week, I gave a little yank here and a big tug there.  I gently tended to the things that would help me continue to grow, and I found myself a little more at peace.

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