What is there to not love about a good gardening analogy? Growing your life and weeding out that which doesn’t work is such a universal concept. The analogy can be used for money, community, happiness, and self-love. Tending them daily, rethinking them, weeding them, and watering them as you would a vegetable garden. Staying in touch and mindful of anything guarantees you’ll do a better job at it.
So when my therapist offers that the soul garden I’m living in and the thoughts I’m living by contain some big ugly weeds that I did not plant and I have every right to pull out and plant my rose garden, I said “Huh!”. Although I’m not much for roses, I liked the analogy and never really thought any more about it. Until this morning.
I took myself outside for some weeding therapy in the yard for 45 minutes. My garden and I have fallen on some bad times of recent. As in I just did not have any time to devote to it as I was tending to a demanding two/three-year old this past year.
The neglect is starting to show. It’s a murmur in my mind every time I’m out there weeding when and what I can. What really struck me today however was how when unchecked, the plants drift and devour the space of other plants. With no discipline or choice, the garden does as it pleases. And if you leave a plant to its own devices, it will root deep and sprawl. Much like the unchecked thoughts in your mind that you just haven’t gotten around to wrangling either.
If what my therapists suggests is true, there are thoughts that we regularly entertain that we did not put into our own heads. But rather were given to us by well-meaning adults to plant in our small eager childhood brains to help us grow. Except that they didn’t work for us. In fact, these thoughts have done nothing but soak up our sun and our rain and have kept us from spreading out and flourishing. And if we realize that these gardens/brains won’t die if we make decisions to redesign and weed our garden/life plans, we can turn this whole garden/life thing around.
I was pulling handfuls of ajuga up the next thing I knew. I like it but it has devoured the entire front area of my garden where I think I may like to plant some Spring bulbs and flowers. Suddenly, I am having hopeful thoughts about my garden. Just a little foresight this Fall and I know my Spring garden will make me so much happier.
For me, just a few moments to journal about how the fear of failure/success has kept me from entertaining some big goal dreams like writing a book has opened my eyes up to investing in my life again and I feel hopeful again. Instead of resigning myself to let whatever happens happen. Instead of keeping myself a willing hostage to the ‘what if I fail’s, I’ve decided to intervene in the spreading of the thought weeds and see what beauty may come of it. Mind you some of these Lie weeds are huge and nasty and insist you’ll die if they die. These may require some friends to witness and some heavy-duty gloves to pull their thorny nasty selves out. But once they’ve been removed, the light and space in your brain feels amazing. You’ll understand the need to weed the exterior and the interior landscape is the same and a mindfulness practice will have begun.
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