Weeding Your Life’s Garden

Death, taxes, and weeds.  These things are as constant and reliable as sunrise.  But at least one of them isn’t as bad as we think.

Lately things have not beein going so well for me and I’ve been feeling really stressed and depressed.  It seems like I can’t gain any traction on anything and my whole world is piling up on top of me.  But while I was gardening the other day, a thought struck me that has helped keep things in better perspective, and I’d like to share it with you.  Here it is…

Weeds grow more slowly than you can pull them

Cosmic-level observation, right?  I should be able to test out of Botany 101 with this kind of thing.  But seriously, it represents an important lesson about how to deal with life’s stresses that cannot or will not go away.

Because of all the craziness in my life, I had been neglecting all gardening chores.  As a result, the weeds were taking over.  Every time I looked outside, I would think, “Oh man, what a huge mess.  I really can’t do that today.”  As a result, the weeds continued their relentless march and the problem just kept getting bigger.  Finally I decided to at least make a start on reclaiming my yard, and it was during that process that the above idea came to me.  Not only have I been able to attack the weeds with some hope, I also have more faith in my ability to keep things in check going forward.  In light of all the stresses, this was a pretty big deal.

It’s very simple:  Each weed I pull up will grow back and/or be replaced by a new weed.  That is a constant.  But that takes time–far more time than it takes for me to pull up the weed.  So even if I’m slogging through a jungle of weeds, I can get them pulled up before things become so overgrown again.  And as a bonus, if I spend just a little time pulling up the new and smaller weeds, even just a few a day, I can keep them from taking over at all.  The same is true for many of life’s problems.

Ignoring a problem just allows it to grow bigger and harder to deal with.  By handling things as they come up, problems usually stay smaller and are easier to deal with.  Staying on top of small tasks keeps things manageable and therefore easier to deal with.  Does one method take more time & effort than the other? The math suggests probably not.  But constant small effort is a lot less stressful than occasional huge effort!

What weeds are growing in your life’s garden?  Start with the small ones and pull them up.  That will give you room and confidence to tackle the bigger ones.  Then take a little time each day to see if there are new ones, and take the time to pull those right away and things should bloom much better.

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