Spring has sprung, although even as I write this it’s 47 degrees and drizzly outside on May 1. Our flora and fauna is coming to life again! But . . . along with the blooming of flowers, growing of grass and reappearance of leaves . . . the weeds are growing in full force.
I abhor weeds. I loathe, detest and cannot stand weeds. I hate weeds! Yet every year they reappear to torment me. Despite my very best efforts (endless amounts of time and money spent year after year with no end in sight) weeds just grow back again and again. The process makes me feel very powerless, and very, very overwhelmed. There are few other things that make me feel like curling up into a fetal position on the floor. Cancer is at the very top of the list, for obvious reasons. Comcast is also up there, every time I need to call them I feel like I’m going out of my mind (I know I’m not the only one!) And . . . weeds.
Of course, weeds are just another form of life trying to survive and reproduce. I can’t change the fact that weeds will grow, and when cleared away, will grow back, no matter what I do. Even though our entire world is set up around the illusion that we are in control, we aren’t. The only thing we really have control over is how we choose to react. This can be very difficult, but it’s also very true.
For example, why do I view weeding differently than my favorite barista? Me: “I hate weeding!” Her: “I love it! You should weed right now when it’s wet.” And I’m thinking, no way am I going outside and getting muddy! Also thinking, wow, who could possibly love weeding?? So I may never love weeding, but this year I resolved to learn how to live with the reality of weeds. I’ve adjusted my attitude over this last month a LOT and I’m surprised to find that weeding is unexpectedly teaching me some wisdom too. I will be applying some or all of these to other areas of my life:
1. Taking ownership. Instead of hiring someone else to deal with it, I’m taking responsibility for caring for my yard. By extension, that makes a powerful statement to me about how I’m caring for myself.
2. Accepting and enlisting support. My fiance Eric is helping me and that makes a huge difference! We’re partners in life so we should definitely be partners in yard work. He doesn’t seem to mind, so I’m trying to borrow some of that mindset.
3. Doing a little bit more frequently. This makes it WAY less overwhelming. About 15-30 minutes a day is totally doable vs. an 8-hour day (will not happen!)
4. Being in the moment. When it’s time to go out to the yard, I make sure to put good music on, and be present with the repetitiveness of pulling the weeds. It’s almost a form of meditation.
5. Taking satisfaction in the small things. Looking at the small area of yard that I cleared in 15 minutes the other day made me feel good. Also knowing we put out a full bin of yard waste this morning for pickup was an accomplishment; after all, we are paying for it!
6. Being kind to myself. Last week it was rainy (again!) and I just didn’t have it in me to get out there more than once or twice. No sense in beating myself up. I just started up again when I felt I could.
It’s still early in the year, but I’m feeling much different about my weeds — definitely less powerless and more at peace. Who knew there was so much wisdom to be had from the simple act of weeding?
By Pritam Potts
Pritam Potts, owner of Advanced Athlete LLC, is a NSCA-certified trainer and strength coach with 15+ years of experience working with athletes and clients of all ages. Her specialty is in functional strength applications, developing core and overall strength and coordination specifically for the purpose of enhancing the body’s ability to function optimally and safely in athletic movement. You can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/advancedathlete and https://twitter.com/advancedathlete.