Weeding, Writing and Arithmetic
I love to weed. Once I carve out a bit of time and surrender myself to the job, it is a peaceful mediation. Not only a time for contemplation, weeding is greatly satisfying: in just fifteen or twenty minutes I see the results of my efforts. Here is a part of the garden that was filled with weeds this morning, and now it’s clear and clean. At this time of year there are plenty of weeds to pull, and at this point in my life there are many things to mull over as I work.
One of my core beliefs is that everything is connected to everything else. This is one of physicist Barry Commoner’s Four Laws of Ecology, and in and out of the garden, I consider it to be true.
What does this have to do with weeding? Well, to begin with, I think that gardening and life are all about weeding and planting. We try and remove what we don’t want to grow, and plant what we wish to cultivate. Removing weeds is a tangible affirmation that we have power to choose what grows in our gardens, and the actions we take or don’t take are directly connected to the results.
As I pulled weeds this morning, I thought about what I want to grow, here on Poison Ivy Acres, and in the rest of my life. Admittedly, it’s much easier to contemplate the cultivation of the garden than it is to think about what’s growing elsewhere in life. I know what steps are necessary to create a beautiful flower garden, improve the soil in the vegetable bed, and surround the shrubs with weed-smothering perennials. I can be reasonably sure that if I take those steps I’ll be fairly successful.
When I list some of the other things I want to cultivate in my life, such as weight loss, a renewed dedication to learning something new every day, and a commitment to experiencing the spiritual in the everyday, I also have a pretty good idea about how to accomplish these things. Success with these depends on my self-control and fortitude. Like the planning of new gardens, I can imagine the actual, step-by-step process required to get these done. I’m less sure about how to achieve the other things I want to grow, however…how to best continue to spark the love of gardening in other people, how to land a new book contract, and how to expand what I think I do best: speaking.
If I believe that everything is connected to everything else, then I have to believe that all of these things: the gardens, plants, soil, weight loss, learning, spirit, writing and speaking, are linked to each other. These all add up to make my life, and I want grow them all.
While pulling weeds this morning, I decided to dedicate myself more fully to conscious cultivation, and the exploration of how these things are connected. I’ll pull out what I don’t want to grow, write it all down and add it all up.