Friday, July 29, 2016


Yesterday I spent some time out in the garden. Over the years the garden has taught me lessons about myself, about humanity, about the world. Lessons that, honestly, I'd rather not learn. These lessons can be difficult to take and generally require action, movement, and growth; diligence and discipline.

There's a certain plant in said garden that reminds me a bit of a porcupine. At first glance it seems harmless, docile even, but go to touch and bam! hand full of quills, or in this case small punctures, wounds from a spine of thorns. It's flowers are deceptively beautiful, each birthing pods of hundreds of rebel seeds ready to reek havoc on any bit of dirt they touch.

This is horse nettle friends. And it's a real...well you know.

The thing about this particular plant is the act of pulling it out of the ground actually aids its spreading. Horse nettle seems to come up easily, compliantly letting me draw it from the ground and walk away naively thinking I was victorious. Then boom! a few days later it's back, stronger in number. Farmer's in the area have found pesticides are no match and tilling is like giving frisky teenagers a car and directions to the nearest park.  

It seems that forcing it out actually makes it grow. 

The only way to rid our land of this annoying, painful plant is to cut it down in infancy, just below the dirt. And then repeat over and over and over and over throughout the summer. 

It demands I surrender to it's strength, respect it's place in the garden, and then do the careful, gentle, monotonous work of watching and culling, watching and culling, watching and culling. 

You do this enough and a pattern emerges. In fact, garden long enough and you reap both physical fruit and find lessons of life abound. 

Here's what I learned: taking care of horse nettle is no different than taking care of the places in me that are in opposition to my True, authentic self. No amount of ripping, grinding, or muscle will remove the hostile places I keep hidden deep within. The places I cover over with shame and anger and guilt. It seems this is like compost, providing nutritious food for these toxic habits.

In the same way I deal with horse nettle, watch and cut in infancy, I now care for these addictive tendencies in myself. With mindful awareness, self-compassion, and surrender, we can gently work to improve the land of our soul, the garden that lies within. When I enter the flow of what is rather than aggressively try to beat it down, I find the freedom I've been seeking, the peace I so desire. Oh, and the garden teaches on thing without fail, over and over again - it's never too late.

It's never to late to begin. That's called grace.

Namaste* friends.

*Namaste means the Light in me sees and honors the Light in you.

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