Death vs. Sabotage

Every few days, I pull weeds that grow under the branches of my buddleja davidii or Butterfly Bush. I want the lush, purple flower clusters to grow and thrive because they attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees and are a beautiful reminder that our world is made of more than just steel and concrete.

butterfly bush

Some of the fiercest of nature’s organisms are weeds. Unlike the comfortable trappings of our glossy, climate-controlled industrial world, nature is brutal. For animals and plants, you somehow find enough food, water and warmth or you die. There are no savings accounts, pantries, or root cellars to store canned peaches during a brutal winter. In the game of Darwinian survivalism, you’re either fit, strong and cunning, or somebody else’s lunch.

In my ongoing efforts to slow my pace and pay attention to things that matter, I noticed today the raw brutality with which I approached the weeds in my yard. Before now, I never really stopped to observe my disdain and unchecked violence against these quiet strangers growing in the earth, wanting nothing more than to exist like everything else on our planet. Some of them are spiny, nasty vandals that stick on my face, in my hair and on my skin when I yank their roots out of the dry soil. But that’s no excuse and I’m ashamed that I’m only just now aware of this inequality. With all my online activism about Nigerian girls, gay marriage and treatment to animals, I am Attila the Hun to the California weed population.


Many have commented on the usefulness of hard labor to calming the emotional mind. And today I see a strong parallel to my gardening practice and the conscious landscape. If weeds are thoughts, maybe it’s perfectly okay to pull things out of the ground that I don’t select for growth and cultivation. After all, does every thought in my head turn into a usable idea? More like 20%, maybe less.

One particular weed in my yard has smooth enough stalks to pull up without gloves, delicate round leaves and the roots lift easily from the ground. I was shocked to discover, today, an eight or nine inch specimen which, when I began pulling, revealed a tap root the girth of my forearm and was easily eight feet long. I held these massive roots in my hands and studied them, squeezed them, measured them and observed their details, wondering about the thoughts and ideas in my head that I ignore, don’t water, inadvertently step on or purposely destroy.

And I realize that this, too, is a form of survivalism. In a world that now moves at such velocity, pruning the thoughts in my head, through meditation or yoga, keeps me sane. Meditation is not intended to remove thoughts – more like helping you make friends with them. And yoga quiets thoughts by aligning movement with the breath. They’re all forms of weeding, and though in some cases might be viewed as sabotage, this practice creates more space for our juiciest ideas to flourish into fruition.



~ by relativitygirl on May 12, 2014.

One Response to “Death vs. Sabotage”

  1. Raw Brutality indeed!

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