In the garden of your life, are you planting WEEDS or FLOWERS...?
Nearly every morning for the past month, I have run past a lawn speckled with purple flowers in the student housing district adjacent to Michigan State University. I have happily watched the greenery surrounding the little flowers rise above the soil, laying monochrome canvases for the purple buds to eventually pop. And, just like college students flooding into one of the house’s famous fraternity parties, I have watched as the grassy lawn went from hosting a few purple flowered sprouts to becoming nearly overrun. However, when I ran by yesterday, there was a maintenence man pulling out every single purple flower he saw, then spraying a chemical into the dirt-laden hole he had left behind. By the time I had looped around my return lap, the once green and purple landscape had become a black and dimpled stippling interpretation of what was once a front lawn.
“They’re weeds.” The gentleman gardener said. “If I don’t get rid of them now, they will kill all the grass—“
The little bursts of color that seemed so eagerly cheerful to peek their heads above the field of green were weeds. His words sent my mind down the rabbit hole of realization.
Watching him yank each purple bud sparked my revelation that some weeds masquerade as flowers just like some distractions we choose to adopt masquerade as fun and colorful ways to enhance our lives...until they edge out and extinguish the lush, verdant field of dreams that we have been planting, cultivating to create the life that we want.
Anything we employ to entertain ourselves can begin as a vibrant, value-added spectrum in our experience. In a state of active appreciation, what we choose to enjoy—be it television, food, exercise, alcohol, partying, housework, relationships, web-surfing, couch-potatoing, or news—can remain just that—brilliant blooms of positivity peaking through our monochromatic monotony. On the other hand, I have found that if passively left without the meticulous discerning of our consciousness, these enhancing forms of entertainment can distract us away from cultivating the infinite possibility of our purpose; our personal reason for being. Whatever means we may choose to use as a supplement to the repetitive landscape of our daily lives, it can quickly turn from benign blossom into a deracinating detriment.
During this pandemic, my usual external work has slowed, giving rise to vast opportunity for internal focus. I have been made acutely aware of the tenuous tightrope I can walk with my own habits of thought and behavior, between the balance of metaphorical grass seed and suffocating weed.
There have been days when I have tried to escape the present moment by streaming series after series, by eating sweet after sweet, by self-imposed solitude and sequestering. Most poignantly, there have been days when I have tried to escape my own snowballing thoughts and feelings of vulnerability surrounding the current virus, the prevailing political protests, the ongoing global volatility. The operative word in these revelations being: ESCAPE. It was time for me to stop running, and start feeling. It was time for me to start thumbing my way through the thicket of fear-based thoughts that I had accidentally been nourishing by default. It was time for me to disentangle the web of distraction I had allowed to choke the life out of my short term objectives, thus, postponing my long term goals. It was fascinating and frustrating to feel myself focus on the fine line that I had stumbled across several times between actions that enhance my ability to enjoy the palette of experiences each day has had to offer, and those that have encroached upon the fertile farm of creativity that I had been trying to grow.
Watching the gardener tend to his yard reminded me that perhaps I had allowed my unmindfully, unattended thoughts of vulnerability to act as succubuses that have since started to throttle the deliberate creation of desires I had previously planted. Perhaps, I had let fear morph my mind’s bloom of responsible precaution into a rapacious root that has started to leach the soil of nutrients, suck the air of oxygen, and the siphon the water from my goals for its rampant haphazard jungle of overgrown anxiety. It was time for me to extirpate the overgrown fear from my daily life, take myself out of self-imposed social exile, and get present to the morass of feelings stirring inside of me.
The garden of our desires, dreams, destinies requires constant tending—as do our habits of thought and behavior. If we become mindless in our habits of thought or behavior—if we become overly imbalanced with our emotions—we, too, can stifle the creative crops we wish to reap. Mindful, deliberate intent with our aspirations and actions can abate the skein of self-sabotage. Paying attention to our thoughts, noting our own behavior, becoming aware if and acknowledging our underlying emotion can exterminate the crippling weed of resistance. What better time to roll up your sleeves, plunge your hands into the soil of your utmost desires, and nurture your own beautiful, burgeoning bed of dreams. You so deserve it.