(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)
When we look up the meaning of the word 'weed,' we may see words such as valueless, unwanted, undesirable or troublesome.
In last week’s article (part one) we examined and discovered the powerful benefits of dandelions, milkweed and plantain weed. We also considered their incredible need for pollination, for our food sources and the healing benefits they provide.
In life, when we are hit with a personal challenge and label it as valueless, unwanted, undesirable or troublesome, could we not be missing the blessing?
Sometimes life’s weeds come in the form of challenges that present us with opportunity to grow. Other times, they are what we allow to take over the garden of our life and sturdy self-reflection is essential. Either way, these lifeweeds can create a blessing, if we acknowledge and offer positive and productive mindset.
When we are not mindful of what encounters we are having, the thoughts and feelings that we are experiencing or the mindset we have taken on, can cause weeds to grow rapidly. If we allow 'life weeds' to become overgrown they may choke our relationship with happiness and joy. If we allow weeds to stay in our own life unmindfully, we can develop bad habits, judgmental opinions of ourselves or others, procrastination, or even lack of organization. Such weeds can manifest themselves through lack of motivation or passion and can be found in our belief system in how we see ourselves or our place in the world.
Fear, worry, guilt and other low vibrational feelings can spread to all areas of our life causing us to make decisions and live in a way that is not valuable but uncomfortable, limiting and unhappy. In fact, these life weeds can take right over our life, making us less productive and less content.
Have you ever started with a thought that led to a worry, that led to a judgment, that spread into a fear? A fear that took over your thoughts and feelings? Perhaps you even allowed the fear to take over your life, affect your ability to function, eat or sleep. Maybe this even went on for a prolonged period of time, until the weed of fear had advanced and expanded so much, it consumed you.
Then your worrisome thought that started the whole process, never turned out to be a reality in the physical world and only in your head.
At a workshop I was facilitating a while back, I made reference to some of my own past challenges. A participant noted to me that they had heard of my situation, judging it as valueless and undesirable they stated, “I bet you wish that never happened.” I replied that the truth in fact was the exact opposite. In reality, I was grateful for my challenging circumstances for it made me a different person... a better person that lives more mindfully.
In the garden of life, here are my recommendations for weed maintenance and recognition of the blessings in life’s weeds:
Boundaries: You can’t have the grass on your lawn growing into your vegetable garden and much like the garden-edge boundary needs to be worked and established, so do our personal boundaries. If we are unclear of where our personal boundaries exist or what our boundary limits are, we can set ourselves up for upset. Without healthy boundaries, we may experience difficult and dramatic relationships, problematic decision making skills, victim mentality, issues with over-sharing and anxiety and guilt stemming from people pleasing. Get clear about your personal boundaries to weed out issues of commitment, rejection and identity crisis. Healthy personal boundaries are the limits you decide work for you on how people can treat you, how they can behave around you, and what you want or don’t want in your world. If you have challenge in this areas, doing some insightful self-discovery might establish the need for garden maintenance in the framework of your core beliefs, your perspective, opinions, and your values that no longer serve you. Healthy boundaries can assist us to grow and thrive with more authentic life experiences.
Habits: Our own personal habits can be what is causing life weeds to limit our personal growth of blooming to our fullest potential. Introspection and meditation on the areas where we have created unhealthy routines and habits can provide us with insight of life weeds that need to be uprooted. Replace bad habits with good habits by having a mental picture of what the new habit will look like. Spend time meditating on this. Write out the benefits of the new habit. Tap into the feeling that is associated with the new thriving seeds planted. Get clear on what it is you want to grow in your life, and then spend as much time as possible tapping into that feeling energy. Let go of judgmental shaming thoughts of what it is you don’t like and spend more time focusing on what it is you want and what you will do to implement and obtain that desire. Practice the new habit repeatedly until it becomes the natural and dominant plant in your personal garden. Like a new seedling, nurture it with light and love.
Uproot fears: The problem with worry and fear is it can become a part of everyday living like bathing, eating and sleeping and there is never a shortage of things to find worrisome and fearful. I remember as I was about to open my business and leave my career as a Registered Nurse, the fears of failure that kept creeping in like a haunted vine from a scary movie. When I started to play out all of things that could go wrong, I had to mindfully remind myself of all the amazing and wonderful things that could go right. There really is a choice in the thoughts that we cultivate. Whatever we decide to experience (fear or hope) there will be subsequent feelings and actions that will decide our fate. Had I cultivated fear thoughts, I would probably still be a nurse, which was a job that no longer spoke to my heart. Gratefully, by honoring my own inner guidance, strength and courage, I allowed the seeds of inspiration for a holistic wellness centre to blossom.
“On the other side of your maximum fear, are all of the best things in life.” - Will Smith
Blessings: Sometimes our life weeds show up in a very challenging and difficult situation, circumstance or person. Abuse can teach you self-love. Trauma can teach you strength. The unknown can teach you courage.
In my experience, some of life’s weeds are the biggest blessings I have ever received.
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