This morning, while weeding the front yard, I reflected on some simple wisdom shared by my grandfather when I was I child. Once again, I realized how he taught me life lessons that might have escaped my child mind, but would visit me as an adult with crystal clarity.
Earlier today, I crouched on the front lawn, bright orange weed bucket on one side and Figaro, my cat, on the other. Enjoying the sunshine, I began the arduous task of hand-weeding the prolific outcrop brought on by recent rains and warm weather. I could hear my grandfather in my mind, instructing me: “Go slow; even a small yard will likely take several days, or even weeks if you have other things to do. Weeds will yield more easily after the rain or a watering, when the ground is soft. Pull the ones that are flowering first, so they don’t go to seed and spread even more. Never mow the weeds down, as their stalks get thicker while the roots grow stronger and branch out more. If the roots don’t yield easily, use the right gardening tool to make sure you get the whole plant. Weeds can strangle and overtake the grass, flowers and shrubs. Some weeds, like dandelions are edible…and the bees love them. Try to avoid using poison; it might be quick but it kills other life like these roly poly bugs that live here. And finally, plant lots of flowers in your yard, little girl.”
I smile every time I remember him calling me “little girl,” one of his nicknames for me. His simplicity had great depth. As I sat in the grass, pulling weed after weed, trying to stay positive despite the multitude of unwanted plants that remained, I recalled one further piece of advice: focus only on today and know there is no such thing as “can’t.” When I apply this advice to the yard work, I relax. I know I can’t possibly pull all the weeds by myself this morning. I know it might take days and even weeks to uproot the unwanted plants. I refrain from short-cuts knowing the consequence is that it might look pretty initially, but the weeds will still be there, growing thicker roots, making it harder to manually extract them.
I relax and enjoy the Zen-like trance brought on by methodical and mindful work, and when I do, I realize my grandfather’s advice applies to more than gardening the front yard. He was preparing and training his granddaughter how to tame the wild thoughts of the mind, some of which have lived there for years, and eradicate the ones that detract from happiness as well as planned and sustained growth. If I take my time, and remove one weed at a time, without poison or mowing them down, before they flower, softening the soil when needed with rain-like tears, I can move beyond the old painful thoughts and re-establish inner-peace, balance and positive flow.
Trust me, the work is worth it. Moving meditation moves us in positive ways. Allow your work to be fruitful and you will be blessed with the ability to successfully weed your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual gardens. Have a beautiful day and night, each day and night.