Last night I was heading back from a trip up north to the redwoods when I heard a local radio broadcaster say: “Hey folks, you know one good thing about these torrential rains we’ve been having? That it’s a perfect time to weed”.
Hmmm, I thought. He’s actually right. He proceeded to explain how the huge influx of water is ideal for loosing the soil, which facilitates the pulling up of the roots. “It’s so easy”, he said, “You don’t even have to use gloves!” So this morning when it was clear that it was going to be the first sunny day in over a week, I put on my work clothes, grabbed some big paper bags and headed out the door. I was also brewing over some personal things that had gotten stirred up over the weekend so the thought of getting my hands dirty to help release unwanted energy sounded great.
My intention was to pull up enough weeds to fill three bags. That way I would have a natural stopping point (so that I’d come upstairs to write my blog). Looking back I’m glad I established this limit. Weeding proved to be so much fun I could have gone on all day. But I didn’t and now I have some earth-time lined up for all week.
So what did I learn in all of this? Why have I decided to share this today?
Well for starters it amused me to think that this process of weeding reminded me of what it’s like to pull out deep-seated negative beliefs. Oftentimes this can be pretty hard, especially when we don’t see the beliefs that lie in our unconscious, although we feel these influencing our life.
Today, in the same way that previous storms helped the weeds come out like butter, a weekend of being “shaken up” by the tempestuous currents of change made it easier to understand what I didn’t want to carry anymore in my personal life. “Out with the moodiness! Out with the feelings of victim!” I exclaimed. Physical pulling weeds out made it so much more fun, tangible and real, especially when I hit those more stubborn ones that still needed a bit of elbow grease to release their grip. Ah…the satisfaction! I filled my three bags in a record forty minutes and delighted in tossing them into our big green compost bin. It’s almost as if I was tossing my problems away, trusting that this embodied process of weeding loosened both the grip of my challenging beliefs inside of me and gave back to Mother Earth what needed be recycled anew.
Ok, check. Then the second thing I took away was this- we don’t have to tackle everything at once. We can do a bit at a time. The total area that I weeded today couldn’t have been much bigger than 3ftx3ft. This is about 15% of what’s needed. On a normal day I may have kept going or walked away feeling that the job was undone. Today I smiled in contentment. I looked at the fruit of my labor- it was perfect. One succulent uncovered, the rest could wait. The same applied to my personal work- one insight gained, enough to celebrate. Many times we spend so much time “healing” we don’t revel in the small steps gained (which are often huge!) We strive for perfection and lose sight that we already are. We long for the light, when in the dark lies our rich fertile soil. Life needs both dark and light to thrive. So do I.
And finally, I was reminded that all slimy creepy creatures have their place in the world. I jumped at the first sight of a worm, breathed and then settled down again. The next one didn’t startle me as much and by the end of a half and hour I was pulling weeds out left and right without a care in the world (i.e. whether or not a critter got me!) I realized these slimy creatures felt “unknown” because I don’t spend enough time with them; our initial encounter made me pretty nervous. But similar to our relationship with our shadow (which can feel slimy and elusive as well), the more we spend time with the scary creatures in the underworld and the parts of us we hide and hide from, the less scary they become. It’s a win-win: life shakes up what we don’t want to see, and we get to know our shadow and challenging beliefs. And the loosened soil helps us pull out what we no longer want. It can’t get better than that!
Happy weeding folks!