A few days back I woke up on a Saturday morning. The first thing I did after saying good morning to my wife and kids was open the blinds in the back of the house. As I looked into my yard I noticed a bunch of weeds. I wondered where they came from. I’d opened up my blinds and looked into my yard every morning, yet I never noticed these weeds until that morning. It’s as though they grew overnight. They were all along my fence – some small, some large. I kept asking myself how so many could’ve grown without me noticing?
My initial thought was how badly I wanted to get rid of the weeds. Not only did I want to get rid of them, but I wanted them gone as fast as possible. After breakfast I decided I would go to the store and pick up some weed killer. I didn’t know which one would work best, so I decided to spend some time researching online. I came across a website with the subject line: “Top 5 Methods for Killing Weeds.” I couldn’t have been happier when I came across the site. I thought this was absolutely perfect.
I went to the site and perused the introductory paragraphs. I then eagerly went through the next page to try and find the #1 method to killing weeds. When I read it the answer was simple and surprising. The top method for getting rid of weeds is to pull them. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself when I read that because it was something I already knew. Part of me, however, was hoping to find an easier solution. As I continued to read the article it said that pulling the weed is the most effective method because you’re able to take out the entire root (something that I knew as well). The article also outlined that while herbicides can certainly help in some cases, it’s hard to determine whether or not if the root was removed. Additionally, you may need to apply herbicides frequently, which can lead to overexposure to chemicals which damages grass, other plants you may be growing, pets, children and yourself.
After considering my options, I decided to recruit my kids and go pull some weeds together. For the next three hours, we worked on pulling out weeds along the side of the house and the backyard. During that time I had some thoughts regarding pulling weeds and life. I wanted to share them.
Weeds grow overnight
I’m not sure if they necessarily grow overnight, but one thing is for sure – under the right conditions they grow fast. It just so happens that we had a lot of rain, and even a bit of snow, during the past 6 weeks, providing the moisture required. We also have wild rabbits that run around in the area. The rabbits eat any kind of vegetation they find in the fields, including weed seeds. When they relieve themselves on the yard not only are they littering the lawn with their pellets, they’re also fertilizing weed seeds at the same time. The combination of an increased amount of precipitation and all the rabbit droppings create the perfect environment for weeds to grow.
Isn’t it interesting how the same can happen to us? Sometimes certain conditions in our lives cause us to view life in a negative light. Weeds begin to pop up in our mind quickly, clouding our ability to see things as they really are. Trials and afflictions come to all of us in a variety of different forms. I remember a time when I was in college and money was extremely tight. My wife and I were both in school. We also had a newborn. On a particular month the rent was almost due and we had absolutely no money. As a new father and husband I felt horrible. I remember having no choice but to go to one of those title money loan places. From a financial standpoint, it was one of the lower points of my life. There were other hardships that were taking place at that time as well, but this event really hit me hard. Was I destined to be in poverty forever? Will my wife and I be able to finish school? Was I going to get stuck? These were the questions entering my mind. While I wasn’t depressed, I was certainly starting to lack confidence.
With the help of my wife and family, I was able to start seeing things more clearly and understand that this was just a moment in time, and that if I continued to push forward, having faith, opportunities would arise. Keeping positive people around you makes all the difference when the combination of conditions begins to bring forth weeds.
Pull weeds before seeds spread
Weeds, just like other vegetation, create their own seeds. As they mature they spread those seeds to create more weeds. In that way weeds perpetually grow and support the growth of more weeds. This is kind of tied to how weeds grow overnight. Having the right conditions help weeds mature quickly; the quicker they mature, the faster they spread their seed. It’s always best to pull them before they get to that point. Otherwise, you’ll be spending the following Saturday pulling weeds again.
Our ability to reconcile stressful episodes or thoughts early helps prevent unnecessary worry in the future. The longer we allow the weeds of doubt, fear, uncertainty, despair, low self esteem and addiction to grow, the more time we’re giving these weeds the chance to grow, mature and spread their seed in our minds. It’s so much easier to forgive someone (including ourselves) quickly, than to wait days or even years to do so. While it’s true that emotions are a part of the human experience, so is progression and growth. By not following through on the impressions we receive that would lead us to reconcile anxiety and stressful events, we’re denying ourselves the ability to grow. Instead we give place for negativity, anger, desperation and other harmful emotions to dwell in us. Where there are negative emotions, it’s hard to discern and see the truth.
Spending time each day to pray and reflect is a great way to pull these weeds before they mature. Even if you’re unsure in a Higher Power or don’t believe there is one, meditation is a great tool. The key is to spend time everyday reflecting and thinking. Too often we go through our days like robots – completing tasks and responsibilities, but spending no time to think and ponder about life. Spending time to reflect provides us the ability to have a clear mind and receive impressions or thoughts on how to help ourselves and others. It provides insight into ways to become better. When we’re improving and progressing we’re at our happiest.
Soil and seed the ground so grass can grow
To properly pull weeds you have to get into the dirt a bit so that you can pull out the root. If you don’t pull out the root, you’re not eliminating the weed. This can get a bit messy as you can end up pulling out quite a bit of soil along with the weed’s root. For that reason, it’s always recommended to have extra soil to patch up any holes that are created from weed pulling. Because there’s now an area that’s nothing more than empty soil, it’s also important to throw some grass seed. By growing the grass, you’re able to prevent weeds from growing back in the area.
I can’t think of a better analogy on how to replace negativity in our lives. All of us are creatures of habit. How we think is based on habits we’ve created about how we view things. As important as it is to remove negative thoughts from our minds, it is just as important to ensure that we place something positive in our minds to replace it. Otherwise, the negative thought or habit will always sprout back. This is the only real way to rewire any sort of circuitry in our minds that have caused us to become pessimistic or addicted to certain behaviors or ways of thinking.
Find something you enjoy doing. When we’ve allowed weeds to grow in our mind, one of the most common symptoms that can help us diagnose if we’ve lost clarity is whether our passions for hobbies and pastimes have disappeared. If you find yourself not enjoying life the way you used to, search for an activity that you’ve found joy before. It can be anything from reading, sports, writing, going to the movies, dancing, listening to music, etc. Hobbies are meant to entertain the mind and stimulate our senses. Hobbies are healthy.
As I began writing I realized that there are so many things that I learned in those 3 hours of weed pulling. I wanted to save the most important thoughts for the end. While I was working, pulling out the weeds was extremely easy. That’s because the soil was moist. It had drizzled throughout the night so the ground was still soft. It made it easy to pull out the entire root. If the ground were dry, I may have been able to remove the top portion of the weed, but the root would have still been in place. There are moments in our lives when the soil of our hearts and minds will be soft and tender. Many times this comes in times of adversity or when we’re forced to be humbled. This isn’t always the case though. There are also times where our hearts are softened because we’ve been in the presence of good people or when we experience an important milestone or accomplishment. While it’s hard to articulate what we feel in those moments, one thing is certain – these windows of time are when we can receive insight, impressions and inspiration on how to overcome obstacles, improve in our relationships and live happier lives. Acting on those impressions is the equivalent of pulling the weed out by the root while the soil is soft.
The last thing to remember is that weeds will always be around. No matter how many weeds I pull out, there are seasons when weeds appear. There’s nothing I can do about it. But you know what – that’s perfectly okay. Weeds are a part of life. No matter how much preparation we have for adversity and trials that may come our way, we can never prevent them from happening. Sometimes they’ll appear out of the blue. Other times, we’ll be able to sense that something is going to happen. Either way, we simply have to accept the fact that this is what life is all about – overcoming obstacles. While they certainly aren’t fun, they stretch us and force us to grow in ways that we wouldn’t be able to without them. No matter how often it needs to be done, there’s hardly anything more satisfying than looking into your yard after you’ve pulled out all the weeds. Even if it took 3 hours.