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May Newsletter: "A Weed is Just an Unloved Flower."

With the spring rainfall and sunny days, my back garden is blooming with tulips, daffodils and hyacinth. I have a little patio out the back where I sit and have tea while I watch my dogs play amongst the drops of colour. I take great pleasure in my garden mostly because it's the first one of any size that I've created from scratch. It’s a work in progress and with every season of every year I learn something new –usually from my very experienced neighbour next door.

As the warm weather coaxed seedlings to morph into a new phase of life, I noticed one day, as I sipped my tea and threw a ball, that a blanket of little flat-leafed plants had sprung up tucking themselves around tulip stems, the bottom of unfurling rose, hibiscus and peoni bushes, and sneaking up between the long blades of Asiatic lily leaves, I didn’t know whether I could leave them be or whether they would overtake my somewhat organized garden altogether.

So I called over my neighbour:
"Are they a weed?" I ask.
"To some people." came his philosophical response.
"Well, what is it?"
"I think they're seedlings from the cherry tree." He points to a very, very tall tree that leans protectively over my garden. "You're going to have to pull them eventually." He adds.

Poor buggers.

Had they sprouted in the woods they would be free to become what they were intending to be -a big beautiful tree but here in my garden they were deemed weeds -weeds that needed to be pulled. These prolific little things had already covered some impressive real estate. The task at hand seemed daunting.

The next nice day, out the back with my dogs, instead of sipping tea or throwing a ball, I started pulling up the saplings. I was surprised at how easily they relinquished their grip on the soil. I saw they didn't have root systems yet; their stalk sprouted from a seed like bean sprouts found in Pad Thai or the Indonesian salad, Gado Gado. I noticed how sweetly they smelled and how succulently they felt. I saw how if I pulled out a dozen or so at a time, the soil would break apart, and as I shook the dirt off, I saw how the dirt was left looking freshly tilled. This made me feel like something good was coming from the death of these baby cherry trees. For the most part though I pulled them out one by one –inefficent perhaps but I wasn’t left with a half broken weed still rooted in the ground. After a time, the dogs were quiet, napping in the grass and I was getting weary. I took a step back to survey my progress and was satisfied to see that the blanket had gone from a king to a full.

I came back every other day or whenever the sun was out and the dogs wanted to play to pull more weeds. In a couple of weeks, with very little effort and even with some enjoyment, my whole garden got weeded.

Working bit by bit, one patch at a time, one project at a time, one task at a time, may seem like common sense, but I know that many of you know what it's like to be too afraid to start something because the steps to get there appear too overwhelming -you may have a wonderful dream or an exciting goal but then you panic because you don’t know how you’re ever going to realize the dream or attain the goal. Or perhaps you know what it feels like to not even allow yourself to dream the dream because you’re too afraid of the steps, and afraid of any change that might result in taking steps to realize your dream. Or, how many of you make TO DO lists which you never seem to do?! Is it because you wrote a laundry list the length of your arm?

My dream-in-progress is Andrea Grace. The beginning processes have been simple. Once I had decided what I wanted to do, I started taking steps. The first step was business name and logo, the second step was the website, the third step was setting up the healing studio. Of course phases overlapped but the conscious attention I paid to the taking of each step was sequential - one at a time just like pulling the weeds. Whenever things weren’t going as smoothly as I wanted, or in the way I expected, I took a step back and returned to the task later when I felt like it. Often, things just sorted themselves out without my interference or concern. Never has the process become overwhelming. It has been easy, and it has been fun!

My dream of what Andrea Grace will become is still out there, but I take great joy in the process -watching the seeds I plant blossom on their own, knowing that it's the process and not the goal's end that is important and worth getting excited about.

Ok, so now let's consider these ideas:

Make your tasks manageable. If you are a daily TO DO list writer, go from fifteen items to three. Allow yourself the opportunity to feel a sense of accomplishment in getting your tasks done. If you need to, keep a master TO DO list but on a daily basis take only three. If you complete your three tasks, great! Give yourself a pat on the back. If you're on a roll, take another task from the Master list. Notice how good it feels to have completed your TO DO list for once?!

Trust in the process. Your job is to know the WHY and more importantly the WHAT of your dream and goal. Remarkably, with very little energy expended on your part, the HOW will take care of itself. Trust me on this. Your enthusiasm, your joy, and your passion will breathe energy into your idea, goal or project and in no time it will take on a life of its own. Something like this will happen: In an excited conversation with a friend at the pub, you will say, "This is what I'm doing and I need help wogglebonneting." The person listening will say, “Oh, I think I know someone who can help you with wogglebonneting."
Piece of carrot cake with cream cheese icing.

Be open to other perspectives. In April's newsletter, I mentioned how important it is to pay attention to things you notice. At the annual Master Gardener’s Sale I went to on the weekend, as I was turning to leave after finishing paying for my box of goodies, I noticed a little sign, small enough for a garden gnome, claiming stake to a little weedy mound.

The sign read; "A weed is just an unloved flower."

I ask you to consider for a moment what this profound message implies. You'll notice that a change of perspective is encouraged. Now, consider your own life for a moment. Think of things, or indeed people, you may think are in the way, out of control, or inappropriate. Can you think of something or someone? Now, I ask you to take a different point-of-view. Let me give you an example. Perhaps you have an inflexible, demanding, unappreciative boss who tends to rub you the wrong way. Now consider that he or she is overworked, feeling unappreciated, and has trouble making mortgage payments. With this new perspective, can you feel compassion and empathy taking the place of irritation and frustration? Next I would ask you to consider your boss in a positive light; she works very hard, she must take great pride in her work, she is creative and a good problem solver, she respects her employees, she respects herself, I'm going to enjoy my work today. You will see that instead of seeing her like a weed, you will begin seeing her like the flower she is. Just like she will start seeing you as the flower you are.

As we conclude this newsletter, let me leave you with this thought for the rest of this merry month;

"Dream a forest BUT start first by lovingly planting a tree."

Happy gardening and Namaste!


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