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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Weeding without Judgement

Yesterday was kind of a fast paced crazy day in my world.  It came out of nowhere and since I wasn't expecting it I found myself scrambling to sort it out and keep up, responding to all kinds of unrelated issues and events. Today I expected more of the same so I was prepared to "handle it". And perhaps that's why- it was a really calm day. Hmm...

There is a tendency, at least for me, to respond to increased activity and chaotic energy with the same type of energy level. And once you reach that point and start making decisions and "doing things", it gets a bit hard to wind back down and get out of that cycle.  In my opinion, that's what happens in a lot of workplaces. Someone or some event or deadline sets the pace and everyone else responds in kind and by the time you know it days, weeks, maybe even years have gone by with this intense level of stress. It might actually start out as productive energy, but somewhere along the way the deadline passed and  it becomes just energy. It loses the focus and because gaps and lulls get filled in with unnecessary issues and problems and the whole thing is just a ball of stress. 

I remember that feeling so I try to avoid it.  I caught myself in that tornado of energy this morning. There was a temptation to "keep doing" if for no other reason than preventing another day like yesterday. We have this idea that if we are "proactive" we will get ahead of the game.  Yet, it doesn't seem to actually work like that. So today, when there was a lull, and a beautiful sunny day, I purposefully walked away from the technology and the work issues and I went outside to weed the garden.

I realize for most people, weeding the garden, isn't a big deal, a new action, or an enlightening moment. But for me, this is transformative action.  I don't weed.  I plant things, like my potatoes, and flower bulbs and then I "walk away". I rejoice when the intended vegetable or flower appears. I talk to them and admire their growth.  But when unintended "things" arrive, I enjoy them too.  I don't really understand why you would pull out a dandelion and plant a yellow flower for instance.  That just doesn't make sense and it would seem one person's "weed" is in fact, another person's flower.  Many so called weeds are medicinal in nature and highly useful. So, even if I have no idea what they are, I just say Hello to them and figure they have a right and reason to be there.

It isn't really because of laziness that I don't pull weeds.  It's something deeper than that- at least most times.  I am afraid to be the judge.  I'm afraid I will choose one plant over another and in my decision making process will take away something really valuable. So I just let them all "fend for themselves" and work it out.

The first couple years of putting in a garden, this approach actually worked. And it still seems to work for the potaoe patch, because of the seaweed I guess. But after a few years of new layers of horse manure, flowers going to seed, and some good soaking rains, my beds of flowers are just massive overpopulated green masses. There might be flowers in there, but it's mostly just a mass of green all sort of struggling to rise to the top. 

So... where to start.  I debated about this and tentatively pulled out a couple of bunches of what was obviously oats. I had some equine help with this. The horses told me if I would please pull them out and throw them over the fence they would make sure they were well taken care off.  Before I knew it I was pulling like crazy.  I realized I didn't have to "judge" whether this plant was better than another. I just had to pick for the moment and make space for something to really flourish.  I realized that if I did pull out a bulb or two or something that might have been quite beautiful, there was no doubt "more where that came from". Once I started pulling and filling that wheelbarrow, I realized the ground below was really rich and beautiful in it's own right and I started to imagine what I might create there- not forever, just for this season. Hmm...

I think this is a life lesson.  I believe we are sometimes "too careful about what we wish for". We get "allowing" mixed up with "choosing" or become so caught in the need to allow and the fear of choosing  that we stop putting our intentions out. I'm thinking when this happens we get a whole lot of everything, but nothing really gets to mature to it's full capacity and we never really see the color of anything because the roots are all struggling to get a hold in something. I believe some of the fear is thinking that we are making a choice "forever" rather than in the "here and now". Maybe we are conditioned to think this way a bit. It's about choosing a career when you're 15 that will last you to retirement. We tell kids to choose wisely because once they choose, that's it- no going back. Hmm...

But it would seem you can go back. Nature does that every single year. Sometimes more than once a year. It's a continual cycle of "do overs".  If you really like what you plant one year and it grows well and looks beautiful you can plant it again or in some cases, tend to it so that it will reappear. But if you don't or you want a change, you just get back to the dirt and start again.

There is a Bach Flower that resonates with this fear of choosing or judging. Wild Oat comes to mind.  In a Wild Oat state, everything in the garden looks like it has potential. All options have merit and are beautiful and for that reason it becomes really hard to pick. And yet, all those possibilities don't quite seem right either. You keep waiting for someone else to do the choosing for you. You almost hope for possibilities to be withdrawn or eliminated so you don't have to pick. Yet, you feel the dissatisfaction in that as well.  Perhaps it is no coincidence that the horses told me to pull out those Wild Oats first!!!

So.. pick a color, make a choice, choose a direction, plant some flowers.  You get a "do-over" if you don't like it. You get a "do-over" if you do like it!  It isn't about picking forever. It's picking what feels right, at this particular time. But first you might have to get rid of some stuff so you can see the dirt! Happy weeding!

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