Last fall, my mother opted to create a medicinal, edible garden in her front yard. The gardener planted roses, rosemary, lantana, lavender, Spanish sage, geraniums and other herbs. The garden looked beautiful once the plants were in the ground. A little water, a little non-toxic weed killer and love would help the plants mature and take over the space.
Unfortunately, that is not quite how things unfolded. The non-toxic weed killer did not abate the growth of the weeds. My mother began plucking the grass and weeds as they grew. Initially, the weeds sprouted little by little and it was not much of an eye soar. However, after weeks of generous rain, my mother was unable to tend to the yard and the weeds found an opportunity to thrive. The yard rapidly sprouted grass and weeds in an overwhelming fashion. (I’ll have to write another blog about becoming overwhelmed, but I digress.) After a lack of weed plucking, the weeds were in full force displaying their myriad colors, stickers, and designs. They resembled a disparate patch of greens and I knew it was time to remove them lest they kill the carefully planted herbs and lantana.
A small act of charity inevitably taught me a valuable lesson: what am I allowing to grow in my heart?
As I was pulling weeds from my parents’ yard, I considered the “weeds” that were growing in my own heart.
Weeds of anger, resentment, shame, and pain.
Weeds that were growing tall and affecting my desire to connect with others. Weeds that I had left to tend to at another time, but had not yet sifted. As I worked in the yard, I noticed some weeds were more difficult to remove than others due to longer root systems or thorns or big stalks. I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me in that moment. It was time to winnow the negative feelings in my heart. I decided to pray about relationships that I felt were damaged, to pray for peace where I felt tension, to reach out to those where there was distance.
During my reflection, I also pondered those relationships that were best to leave in peace. I have learned that you can wish the best for a person and not want to be in relationship. The important thing is to release the tension and make room for love. Oftentimes, we wish ill on someone with whom we are upset or no longer in relationship. We may not wish bodily harm, but we may think self-righteous thoughts, such as ‘they’ll regret not being my friend!’ However, this need not be because you can love someone from a distance.
I invite you to consider what might need weeding in your heart. Perhaps the burden of a disappointment? Maybe a friend whom you have not visited? Maybe it is time to have the conversation you have been avoiding with your spouse.
Taking action is not comfortable but neither is seeing your heart plagued by weeds; weeds that slowly take the joy from you.
Now that I have begun plucking the weeds from my garden, I see new seedlings sprouting. Seeds of forgiveness, hope, relief, and peace. This work is ongoing. You must weed regularly to have a healthy emotional, spiritual and mental garden. The Catholic in me harkens to the daily examination of conscience as a guide. Before closing your eyes for the night, consider the following:
- Which experiences from the day bring a smile to your face? What goodness or generosity did you receive or give to others?
- Where did you fall short today? Did you speak harshly? Were you impatient? Did you leave something unsaid?
- Think about your interactions with your family, coworkers, neighbors, friends – what stands out to you?
If you feel uneasy about an encounter, I encourage you to reach out to a person. Do not allow misunderstanding or tension to grow in your heart. Conversely, if you feel gratitude towards someone, express it. Shoot them a text or better yet, mail them a card, writing down your thanks.
Over time, you will develop a practice that suits you best. I would love to hear about your method in the comments below. Are you currently practicing this? Do you have a need to weed?
Blessings to you as you cultivate your beautiful, sprawling inner garden.
2 thoughts on “Empower Your Heart: Clear the Weeds to Cultivate Your Inner Garden”
This is a timely word for me and I thank you for posting this.
May God give many blessings to you and your family.
Thank you for reading and thank you for your blessings, Tanesha. I am thankful that this was a timely word for you. God is good. May the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit fill you.