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You Can't Escape the Weeds

By Lindsay Sutton-D'Ascoli, LCSW


Several years ago as a new homeowner, I like most people started out making a list of projects to tackle. One of the first tasks was to plant new shrubs. I went to Home Depot in search of weed preventing fabric, sprays and mulch to make my new shrubs look tidy and prevent those pesky weeds from growing. I was naive in thinking I could stave away nature from getting into my ideal version of my front yard.


Just like in life, nothing is ever as neat or smooth as we envision it. We cling onto the hope that maybe If we can just achieve some idealistic image of what a happy life looks like we can keep out the weeds of life like death, accidents, family conflict, mental or physical health problems. Unfortunately no matter how hard we try, the weeds find a way. It may feel hopeless some days when our problems like the weeds have seemingly taken over and grow faster than we can get a handle on them.


During the storm is not the time to go pruning the hedges and taking stock of which

problems to assess. When we are overloaded, taking care of ourselves is the priority. Getting back to the basics of rest, nutrition, exercise, taking vitamins/medicine and most importantly being kind to ourselves is key.


When the storm clears, we can look at which weeds are preventing us from thriving like the friend who may be taking too much of our energy and time or a demanding work schedule leaving little time for leisure or fun. The weeds can exist among the other plants and shrubs so long as they are not choking out the sustenance of the main plant. We need to continually evaluate our boundaries and sometimes need to make hard choices about how to best proceed with tending our garden of life.


The thornier bushes of addiction, physical or mental health problems, might require more intervention than just our own set of tools but can be accomplished with support from others and qualified therapists, nurses and doctors who are ready to help. Sometimes all the weeds need is to be looked at differently. Dandelions are a prime example of being a pest to some and to others like my kiddos, golden drops of sunshine that they can’t wait to wish upon when the yellow flowers transform into their cotton ball like counterparts.


It’s a fine line, what constitutes a weed or a flower, just like our problems. We can choose to see our issues as insurmountable and static or as challenges that increase our resiliency skills to be stronger human beings. Following our recovery from the pandemic, which has been a blight on so many of our lives, we can slowly begin to sow new seeds, nurture what remains or remove that which no longer serves us. A garden itself is evidence of faith. In the sight unseen, what happens below the surface. A new beginning for all of us is possible. We are all gardeners!


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