Obstacles. Big or small, present or past, we all have them. What we do with them, how we perceive them, that is the only difference. So we have to wonder this then, how do we stop letting the obstacles control our lives and instead take control of the obstacles and grow the opportunities they are actually the seeds for in our lives?
That’s a different way of looking at that one, isn’t it? Obstacles are seeds planted in the garden of our lives. What do you want to grow? Weeds or Ways, both lead us down a path, one snuffs out all the life around it, one does not. If we take these “seeds” and water them, and love them, and treat them like they can amount to something, they will thrive. Our job then becomes to identify the weeds that could potentially snuff out our life so that these seeds, aka obstacles, that we are given can serve their purpose.
What if that purpose were to include the process of learning what is a weed and what is way? What if learning to identify the “way” in our lives is truly a part of the gardening repertoire that comes with time and age? When I stand back and look at life as a broad-sweeping process, I can see this scenario replicated over and over again. When we are born we are seeds in the garden our parents have been towing. How they treat us, the environment we grow in, the nature and nurture that takes place, sets the ground fertile for us to suck the life out of everything like a weed or thrive amongst the rose garden, ever reaching towards the sun’s potential and silver-linning the “way”.
For another example, when we move into new homes, that is a seed being planted in our garden too. How we arrange the crops of people inside the pretty box, where the sun shines in the windows, how often the home is cleaned and cared for, these are all things that manifest growth in that seed as a weed in our lives or a way. The people in our lives are seeds as well. When I look at the people I have “grown” with in my own garden, I have to own that not all of them were thriving ways with silver linings. Many from my past and very recent present were ivy-like weeds that I fed on a daily basis.
About 4 years ago, I started really pruning my garden. I stepped back and saw that my garden was overflowing with dead patches, weeds entangling each other so thick that I could barely see the sunlight from beneath them. I was heavy with their weight and slowly suffocating in their hold. I was not entirely sure of which were weeds and which were life-lines to the way out. I started by trying to gut the garden completely. That made complete sense to me. I didn’t like the way it looked and I wasn’t benefiting so why not just start over? I can just replant, pull them all up and out and start over. How many times do we try this method of attack in life? How many times do we forget to look in the mirror and take notice as to whether we are a weed or a way in our garden?
What happens when you don’t grab a weed by the root and pull that sucker up and out of the ground in its entirety? Yes, it grows right back, almost stronger and taller than it stood before. Why is that? If pull you up and out of where you are most comfortable growing, wont you try to high-tail it right back to where you were before I touched you? Human nature is what it is and so were the weeds I thought I was going to eradicate by just “pulling them up and out”.
I tugged and tugged and pulled and yanked at the weightloss weed. That SOB was planted 30 years deep and its roots infiltrated my entire garden. I braced my feet against the trees in my life and tried to use leverage to out the sucker. It was almost as if the harder I pulled, the harder the weed held on to its root base. I saw that pattern in other parts of my life too. When I quit smoking I held tightly to the rooted belief that I needed them to function so much so that it started to diminish my ability to do so. When I became a mom I held tightly to the rooted belief that I did not know what I was doing and thus grew that weed, entangling my little saplings. When I stayed in the abuse relationship with my ex-husband, I grew the rooted belief that I deserved no better. Each time I moved across the country I took that thriving garden full of strangleweed (so appropriately named) with me and just kept trying to reach for the sunshine and the pretty, purposeful planted seeds in my life… I kept reaching for the ways from a weeds point of view. The problem in my garden and other gardens that have a heavy bedbase of strangleweed growing is that it starts to sap the nutrients from the healthy seeds and they can’t flourish or grow at all.
When I remarried, my husband and children became those healthy seeds that I started to sap the life from. Not on purpose, never. I loved them. I wanted more for them then for myself. I needed them to grow and flourish and thrive. I stopped reaching for my own way out and just tried to muster up strength to hold them above my slowly withering away head, so they could have the sunlight that they needed to grow. In doing so though, I slowly became the strangleweed in my own garden. I then started to take over their gardens. I couldn’t breath in my life anymore. I had run out of life support in my garden because I didn’t take care of it. I let all my seeds turn into weeds and stopped looking for ways to grow. My husband tried to replant me in his garden with our children over and over again. I was able to stand tall and reach for the sunshine that we were finding together but slowly I started to slip closer towards the ground and spread my weed-thriving-reach across his garden too.
In his garden though, I was a Dandelion. I was pretty and strong. I was still a weed. Just like in the other parts of life, we adapt. I could not pull off being an ugly, smothering, photosynthesizing-life-sucker but I could be a pretty, yellow, innocent looking little dandelion that purposefully popped up in his life pretending to be the rose he thought he transplanted from a poorly nurtured garden. The problem with treating me a rosebud though was that I knew I was a weed dressed in rosebud clothing. I knew it was not the garden rather it was the gardener at fault; It was my fault. He was gardening his garden and feeding me rose flower food, watering me like a rose, smelling me and smelling roses. All I could hear or see was the fact that he missed I was not a rose at all. I didn’t deserve what he was giving me and acted accordingly. Well, we all know what happens when we tell someone something over and over again.
He started seeing that I was indeed the dandelion and thus realized I was a weed in his garden that was smothering and suffocating his pretty patch of land that he too was struggling to grow and thrive with ways instead of weeds. By this time though his weed and my weed became our weed, we were a married super-hybrid weed that outreached, outgrew, out-fed on, and overwhelmed both of our lives. We knew we needed to de-tangle from each other. We knew we had to take this out by the roots so it would never have a base to root onto ever again.
I started hyper-machete-style chopping at myself, my weed beliefs and slowly allowed him space in his garden to do the same. We began to look at how to completely replace the garden beds we had grown ourselves in for years. It was important to find out how to do this right so we didn’t leave room for weeds to crop back in or imposter roses again. Roses are an amazing flower to grow in ones garden. They have the ability to have a symbiotic relationship with the soil they are planted in. They find a “way” to sustain their lives through droughts. That is exactly the type of seed I truly am and my husband saw that, which is why he treated me as such.
When I realized what was needed I started to branch out (pun totally intended) and educate myself with a new nourishment regiment. I sought out to be myself this time, the rose, not the dandelion. Like the rose, I could withstand what ever nature or nurture threw my way. I have channels to me that far outstretch my root base, allowing me to receive life’s little nutrients and convert them to the compounds that lead my way up to the top of my own garden.
As a rose, I also had to learn how to honor the intricate and delicate aspects to myself as well. I still needed the rain in my life to quench my thirst. I still needed the sun’s heat and rays to warm my roots, stem and petals. The more I learned about myself the easier it was to be myself and grow. With strangleweed no longer sucking the nutrients I needed, the ways in my life started to pop up like wild fire. A wild-fire of the healthiest and soil-enriching kind. By no longer feeding the weeds in my life, I was also no longer feeding nor transplanting weeds into my husband’s life, my kid’s life, nor my friends and family either.
I have had to put up protective fencing to honor my garden and not allow other weeds or weed growers into my garden and like life, it is daily grind that I appreciate today. Being able to be the true-rose in my own garden affords me the opportunity to create many, many ways in this life that I can be proud of now. My faith is one way that has grown stronger as well. I know that my pretty little plot in God’s garden was purposefully grown. I have always had the choice to grow as a weed or as a way in this life. As a way I can serve His purpose and thrive amongst the rose gardens.
Are you growing a weed in your life or a way today? Is there a part of your thinking or beliefs at the root of you that needs to be pulled up and new soil laid down? These are the questions I had to start asking myself and pursuing on daily basis. It was not easy. It was so much easier just to stay planted. I didn’t want to change my diet. I liked my fat laden, gravy covered, deep-fried, Oreo-ensconounced food base. I also liked my stagnant, wide-spread-growth-syndrome. The problem is, roses aren’t obese or fatigued. Roses are strong, vibrant, resilient, and growing constantly.
One day at a time, one pound at a time, I released my inner beauty. I stopped eating all the crap and started being able to taste the real food and nutrients I needed to grow strong. I stopped standing still and spreading wide and started standing up and moving my body, in the calm of the storm, in the rain, under the sun, and through the weeds that I had to cut down.
I cut out 145 pounds of weighing-me-down-smothering-my-soul strangleweed from my garden. I have added 12 pounds of strong lean, beautiful growing muscle that can now eat and feed on the healthy fats I put into my growing body every day. (for more on my weightoss journey4lyfe follow me on facebook or check out my web page at www.beachbodycoach.com/tina5777
It took me a 34 years to learn how to grow a strand of strangleweed so strong that it almost overtook the very bed of roses that I was trying to grow. It has taken me years to weed it out and grow in my ways so that I can be a better gardener, a better mom, wife, coach, and friend.
Bloom. Reach for the sunshine. Be the rose in your garden and theirs!