Since becoming a homeowner roughly one year ago, I never really gave much thought to weeding. People said to me: “Oh boy, you’ve really got your work cut out for you!” For some reason, I didn’t think maintaining my yard would be all that difficult. So I went out and bought what I thought I needed (a Smith & Hawken kneeling pad, some work gloves, and a spade) and hung them up proudly in the garage…where they collected dust.
Little by little, the weeds began to take over. Creeping up like strangers in the backyard and invading my front walkway, they fastened themselves to the ground like stubborn green spiders. They grew fast and spread quickly, much faster than I could keep up with. Occasionally, I would grab at a few on my way to work…but there were more of them than there were of me. I tried to figure out how I could combat the weeds. I even dreamt about the weeds. I soon realized that weeding could not be approached with a “me-against-them” attitude.
It took me about a year but I eventually came to learn that I had to have an appreciation for the weeds. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? I abandoned my gardening tools and instead decided to go in bare-handed, letting the dirt collect in my fingernails, and honoring the insects that ran for their lives as I transformed their space.
Squatting instead of kneeling, sweat poured off of me as if I’d just gone for a run. But instead of being annoyed at the process, I accepted it as a necessity. For it suddenly dawned on me that the beautification of one’s surroundings is the beautification of one self. In short, the “weeding” of anything that we don’t need in our lives is essential to our well-being.
In yoga, we often talk about “weeding out the junk” (the “junk” being the stuff we don’t need: stress, anger, anxiety). And if we don’t actively remove the junk, it’ll grow like a weed and take over our minds and our hearts. But what happens when we feel that it’s impossible to “weed” out certain things that are negative in our lives (e.g., people or circumstances)? One word: meditation.
Meditation helps us to “weed” the stubborn and unwanted debris from our minds (and sometimes this is a dirty job!). Accept what may come with it: crying, fatigue, frustration. But remember to always start your weeding with an appreciation of the process.
As Carl Jung says:
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
To begin your “personal weeding,” start by visualizing a clear space in your mind and in your heart. Every time you inhale, think of rinsing this space out with new air. Every time you exhale, release and let go.
For more meditation techniques, visit Yoga Journal.
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