The Tao of weeding

a sea of horsetail and bindweedI’ve been out spending time in our much-neglected garden today. I must admit a deepening sense of defeat at times with our horsetail-ridden clay bed.

A week ago the soil was still too wet to handle and today it was baked and cracked. I have nothing in the beds except weeds and some potatoes that have grown themselves after missing last year’s harvest.

Today however, with the sun on my skin I figured I had two choices. Bemoan my lot and allow the weeds to grow (and hence fulfill my personal favourite – the self sabotage cycle) or just get out there and deal with it.

The difference in my inner talk as I worked was amazing, however, and I realised how far I had come in my quest to love myself……….

I was bought up to be a perfectionist and that my best was never good enough. If I got 98% in a maths test, the focus was always on the 2% I ‘failed’ to get; never on the 98% I achieved. So I have grown up to relentlessly push myself, much to my detriment physically, mentally and spiritually.

Looking out to a tangled mess of weeds, I felt that horsetail, bindweed and clay soil had been sent me as personal teachers!

Today I stood there facing it all and decided to tackle just one bed (we have six). More importantly, I decided to be good enough. I didn’t go for to breathe for the plants without all the weeds

I gave myself permission to be enough, to do just enough and I’ve set myself a goal to do one bed a day, deep in the knowledge that a rich reward will be awaiting me on Sunday when I step out into a garden that is manageable again.

After that, it’s a case of building an hour maintenance into my day and keep on top of things; but only just………………

The crazy thing is, I went out there again this evening to look at the work and it’s just as good as if I had done the ‘perfectionist’ thing, I’m sure of it. It took me a tenth of the time though, and my mood was positive. I worked WITH the environment, rather than against it, in true ‘law of least effort’ style.

My focus was on the beauty around me – the feel of the sun on my back, the wind in my hair, the bird song, the sounds of my daughter splashing in the water (and the many cries of ‘look at me!’ which gave me respite from my task). I stopped and was in wonder at the magnificence of Mother nature yet again. These weeds know how to be their best.

No effort, no swimming against the tide, no need for approval or status, they just wait and when the time is right and all conditions are favourable they let go and grow. That’s the difference – they don’t struggle to grow, they release and just allow the process to happen. When their season is through, they surrender to the process of ‘dying’, with complete trust and knowledge that rebirth will find them.

How can weeding not be and absolute joy and humbling experience when you view it like that?