(This reflection was first published in Spring 2010)
Actually, that’s no longer true. After spending eight hours on Saturday and three hours on Sunday weeding our 2000 square foot vegetable garden – they’re no longer EVERYWHERE!
But they were at 6:00 this past Saturday morning!
And – as I hope the picture I took conveys – these were/are not “small” weeds. We are talking MAJOR weeds! 🙂
And as both Dan (my husband) and I started working in the garden early that morning, I couldn’t help but see the parallels between our garden, one of the fundamental principles I teach in my programs and my life!
The fundamental principle I’m referring to is this…
“How you do one thing is often how you do many things.”
Thus, observing how I (or you) act in one area of your life can have you become aware of a pattern of thinking or behaving that impacts many or all areas of your life.
And so it was with me in our garden of weeds on Saturday.
At first it was kind of fun – even easy. It had rained the night before so the soil was soft – allowing us to make rapid progress early on. By the time Dan left to go to work, I was thinking I was going to have this one area of our garden (about 1500 square feet of our 2500 square foot garden) completely weeded! I was excited!
>>>>>And that’s how I do so many things! When I first get started, it’s often easy, fun and I see immediate progress. Then I start making plans for how quickly I’ll accomplish it or how much I’ll be able to accomplish – of course, banking on my illusion that it will always be this easy, rapid and fun!
As the sun rose higher in the sky (and with it, the temperature!), the soil started to dry out – slowing my progress considerably. No longer could I pull most of the weeds easily and still get the root. Now, I’d pull the weed and it would break – leaving the root in the ground.
So I had to use my spade and dig deep to get the weed and the root. It was hard, tedious, hot and dirty work. I was not making nearly as much progress and it was not nearly as much fun.
At this point, I was beginning to understand the appeal of just spraying our garden with an herbicide to just kill them. We choose to keep ours organic for both health and environmental reasons – but Saturday morning, I could completely understand the appeal of spraying and killing them. After all, it would be so much easier!
>>>>Again, this was a huge “mirror” for me in terms of my business and so many things in my life. How often do I start something and then, when it takes me longer than I thought or is harder than I thought, do I look for a quick or easy “fix” – even if it’s one that may not be healthy for me or others. Suddenly, it’s about getting it DONE instead of enjoying and learning from the process! And the FASTER it gets DONE, the better!
But I kept digging, shaking the dirt out of the roots and making slow progress. By now, my muscles were starting to get stiff and sore and I would have been tempted to quit. But I also knew that putting it off until tomorrow would make it even harder… because the soil would bake even more and it would be even harder and take even longer.
>>>>That was me actually breaking a pattern in my life. Far more often than I like to admit, when something starts getting hard or going slow (or I even THINK it will be hard, slow and not fun, I “put it off until tomorrow”. I procrastinate or wait until the last minute. And then it winds up taking more energy and time to complete it than if I had started sooner or kept going. So – YAY for me on Saturday!
By now it was mid-afternoon and Dan would be home in a few hours. Seeing how much was left, I realized I would not be able to have it all weeded the way I wanted and that seemed so “doable” earlier in the morning. I was SO disappointed. I had looked forward to surprising Dan AND I just wanted the satisfaction of being able to look at that part of our garden and see it completely weed-free.
And that’s when I REALLY had to fight the urge to just pull them up, let the roots break off and let it go. It would LOOK so much better. I would have the APPEARANCE of a weed-free garden. And Dan would be so pleased to see no weeds when he got home.
Of course, it wouldn’t really be weed-free. Leaving the roots in the ground would guarantee that it would be another jungle of weeds within the week – two at most. And then we’d have to do it all over again.
>>>>THIS was the biggest “mirror” of a pattern that has sabotaged me in so many areas of my life. It is so tempting to go for the “quick fix” or the “appearance” of having fixed a problem. I like to have things “look good”. Heck, I like to look good! And so rather than exert the time and energy to really address and clear the underlying causes of the problems or “scarcity weeds” I have in my life, I can be tempted to go for the quick fix. It’s hard and time-consuming and “dirty” and slow to discover and address the “roots” of my sabotaging patterns, my debt, my struggles and challenges. But I know all too well that, just like the weeds in my garden on Saturday, if I don’t get to the roots – the problem, pattern, sabotaging behavior will come back.
Which is why I soldiered on that day… making as much progress as I could. When Dan got home, he was amazed at how much progress I made and was so excited!
>>>>That, too, was a mirror for me. How often do I still see what’s left or what I haven’t done instead of seeing and celebrating the progress I have made?
So Dan helped me for an hour after he got home and then we called it a day. There were still weeds to be pulled in the 1500 square foot area I had thought would EASILY be done by lunchtime on Saturday.
And we woke up early Sunday mornning and, with a few more hours of work, that section of our garden was ready to be tilled and planted! (Which is what we’ll be doing THIS weekend!)
I wish now I had taken a BEFORE picture… but here’s a picture I took this morning of the area that was a jungle of weeds and is now ready for tilling and planting!)
So what about you? Any “mirrors” for you in me sharing my story? If how you do one thing might be how you do many things, what can you learn about yourself from the simplest of “every day” activities?
I’d LOVE to hear how this reflection spoke to and supported you and any “connections” you made! Feel free to post you comments below!