Getting the Weeds Out

Weeding is an essential gardening chore. When I water in the evenings, I pull a few, in an attempt to keep up with the abundance of over growth. Weeds thrive in the garden as well as the flowers and herbs do.

This time of year is tricky. The hot muggy days make it challenging to spend the time outside that is necessary to keep up with the weeds. And those errant grasses and scrubby plants love the higher temps and humidity. I usually fall behind. This year, the section that got away from me, again, was the entrance into the backyard, just beyond the peace gate. The arrival of a few cooler days spurred me to don my gardening clothes and tackle the overdue task.

As I surveyed the weedy mess, I deliberately pushed away the idea of learning anything as I worked. Couldn't I just zone out? When I encounter resistance, it is my signal that I am leaving the flow. Apparently when I entered the garden, I entered the classroom as well. What was here for me today?

Below are my thoughts, in italics, my lessons as I cleared this area of weeds, accompanied by pics.

A really healthy crop of weeds makes it difficult to see the ground cover and paving stones in this section. I feel a pang of guilt and shame. I should have kept up with this better. Energetically, this area feels choked and cluttered, not the welcoming feeling I desire as people enter the garden.

The first step in removing unwanted "weeds" from my life, is recognizing that they are there. And I must understand that they are what they are. I don't need to berate myself. Instead, I can focus on what I am feeling energetically about these things that have cropped up in my life. Choked? Crowded? Overwhelmed?

Some of the weeds have a beauty of their own, like this wildflower. However, this plant is competing for sunlight, space and nutrients with the creeping jenny plants sharing the same area. I choose to eliminate the wildflowers, so that the ground cover succeeds in flourishing and covering this section.

Not every weed in my life is bad. It is a matter of choice. I can eliminate things that are good, in and of themselves, but that are competing for my time, space and energy with things that serve me better.

If I only focus on the weeds, I miss what lies beneath them. This is why it is essential to carefully remove the grasses that crowd and conceal, so that the plants can reveal their beauty.

I don't want to focus overly much on the weeds in my life. I want to look beyond them to the beauty that is there. I can focus on the weed of impatience, for example, and justify it as a sign that I value my time. But looking beneath, I can discover the beauty of allowing…allowing things to unfold as they will…allowing people to be who they are and trusting that all is well.

Most of the weeds are easily pulled from the ground, as their roots are shallow. These plants truly are interlopers that spring up quickly. When I encountered a tuft of grass that clung more tenaciously to the earth, using a hand trowel helped to loosen its grip.

The interlopers in my life have shallow roots as well, if I become aware of them quickly and remove them. When a stubborn habit or time waster or fear inducing thought wants to cling to my space, or my heart, I have tools that help with removal: chatting with a trusted friend, prayer, meditation, self care, choosing for my highest good, consistency, journaling, walking in nature.

Look at the differencein this area, after methodically removing every weed, clover and clump of grass. The energy feels completely different, and I wasn't the only one who noticed. Butterflies began flitting about and there were none here before I began weeding. And not one, but two dragonflies appeared to check my work out. The space, free from clutter, felt inviting. I returned to it over and over, just to enjoy the beauty of it. I felt a great sense of accomplishment.

I can feel that same energy, that sense of my life opening up, and becoming more inviting and welcoming, when I am diligent about keeping my heart and soul clear. When I am methodical about removing unwanted habits or thoughts that clutter my personal space, that sense of accomplishment feels amazing. More good things are attracted into my life.

This was the most beautiful result from weeding the entrance to the garden. As I tugged the last clump of crabgrass from the ground, I inhaled the earthy scent of sage. Suddenly I realized I was lightly grasping the Russian sage plant to my left. It was as if we were holding hands. I felt a wave of gratitude wash over me and tears filled my eyes. Was the gratitude coming from the sage plant? Did it feel the change in energy that clearing the space brought? It was an interesting idea, since burning dried sage is a way of clearing a room of negative energy. I tenderly held the sage, feeling great joy, and then I kissed it and released the plant. Were the neighbors watching? I didn't care!

Gratitude is such a vital part of my journey. When weeds pop up in my space and my life, they bring opportunities for lessons, and growth. I hope that the gratitude I express as I live in clarity and beauty releases an unmistakable aroma of joy, peace and love.

The garden looks great this evening. I feel delight, and satisfaction and yes, gratitude. How grateful I am that I allowed the garden to instruct me today. What powerful lessons I learned as I pulled weeds and basked in the sun and received love from a sage plant. Every time I walked by that Russian sage plant, after we held hands, its long fragrant stems wrapped around my legs or tangled with my feet. That has not happened before. It was like a child, eagerly expressing love by wrapping her arms around my legs. I love you too, Sage, I whispered.

I'm headed out now to give Sage a goodnight hug.

Paradise Found

The mild temperatures and golden sunshine lured me out into the garden this afternoon. My backyard paradise is shifting into fall, as evidenced by tassels appearing on the grasses and the blooms fading on most of the flowers. However, there is beauty to be found in the garden during all seasons. I was happy to grab a bucket and pull weeds. 

Working in the garden fills me with peace and quiet joy. I walk through the garden at least once a day, checking plants, watering or plucking sprigs of herbs for tea. After planting in containers in the spring and freshening mulch, the only other arduous task is staying ahead of the weeds that like to pop up amidst my herbs and flowers. Although a thick layer of cedar mulch helps to keep weeds down, about once a month I work my way through the beds, pulling weeds. 

It’s beneficial to the garden to eliminate weeds. If allowed to grow, they compete with my plants for water, nutrients and sunshine, creating a less than optimal environment for growth. As pulled up these intruders and dropped them into my bucket, I couldn’t help but think about how I am doing the same in my life. 

I choose to eliminate things from my environment that are not optimal for my growth either. This includes negative people and situations, clutter and toxic or unhealthy foods that compromise my health. Just as pulling weeds creates space around the plants, I’m creating space in my life by removing the things that crowd me or bring dis-ease. My garden is flourishing with such care..,and so am I!

Pulling weeds is therapeutic, allowing energy and thoughts to flow. And it brings me close to the plants and the earth as I search among foliage for interlopers. Today I discovered surprised tucked among the flowers, treasures that delighted me. 

This time of year it’s common to find volunteer plants that have matured from seeds sown from nearby flowers. I didn’t plant those seeds. Nature did. I liked coming across unexpected plants today. There were new portulaca (moss roses) near the Peace Gate…one with hot pink and orange blooms and one that sported only white flowers. 

The surprise tomato plant is healthy and sprawled along the ground near the fence. It is covered in green fruit that appears to be cherry tomatos. I suspect this plant came into my garden by way of a bird flying by overhead. The Divine knew before I did, apparently, the important role that veggies would play in my near future!

And near the brickio, actually even on the brick patio, self seeded firework flowers are blooming. I’ve been watching these grow, and decided to leave them alone. They are such cheerful flowers, and so easy to start from seeds, obviously. I sat on the brickio, sipping tea, and the sight of these bright pink and yellow flowers made me smile. 

The best part about working in the garden today was the way my body felt. The healing going on within manifested outwardly as ease of movement. I felt lean, flexible and strong. I stooped, bent, lifted and tugged on weeds without pain in my lower back or legs. I even perched on my low-to-the-ground gardening stool and was able to get up without strange looking contortions. Okay, maybe minor contortions, but again, without pain. I am confident that I will continue to heal and I’ll soon be able to stand up easily and smoothly from a crouched position. 

As I surveyed my work, and wiped sweat from my brow, I felt euphoric there in my garden. It was paradise, indeed.