Earlier this week the subject of healthy houseplants being a reflection of how we care for ourselves came up in conversation at least three times. As the week unfolded, I realized the correlation was far more expansive than I thought at first glance. Then, today, it really struck me as I was sitting in a “sacred space” pulling weeds.
You’re probably asking, “How can pulling weeds have any considerations with “sacred spaces” in our lives? Let me share some of the symbolic meanings I’ve learned through my trainings, plus the insights I had this week.
In Feng Shui, plants represent health and vitality. They represent growth of business and prosperity. The buds and blossoms represent – respectively – the birthing and fulfillment of dreams. Nectar is the sweet, juiciness of life.
When plants don’t get enough water they shrivel up and die. When they get root-bound in pots, it stunts their growth. The roots of some plants are shallow while others, like trees, have a main taproot that anchors them – holding them firmly in place in spite of turbulent winds. All plants need some sun in their life – some more than others.
When we, as humans, don’t get enough water we shrivel up and can die from lack of it. Sometimes we get stuck in life, either in jobs where we can’t grow or in relationships that don’t allow us to be all we are meant to be. When life circumstances undermine our existence, some of us are more grounded or rooted in beliefs that support our ability to bounce back from the turbulent winds of life. And we all can use more love and happiness – the sunshine of life!
Now let’s go back to those weeds I was pulling. I’m serious about having a “green” environment inside my house as well as outside, so I don’t use toxic weed killers. I use “straight from the bottle” vinegar to spray most of the weeds. There are a few places and types of weeds that are better pulled than sprayed. In between pavers, bricks and stones is one of those places since the resultant “dead” weeds drop their seeds and perpetuate the cycle of more weeds.
I’ve learned by adding a little water a day before to loosen the weeds is good. The weeds seem to relax more, thus are more easily released, as the roots are not “holding on for dear life!” Some roots are more invasive, needing more coaxing or actually needing to be dug out.
Weeds are symbolic of our negative thoughts. They perpetuate themselves just like the negative cycle into which we sometimes get. They are very invasive, just as our thoughts can invade our minds where we can’t think of anything good.
Weeds can take over land preventing good crops from growing, hinder flowers from blooming and even choke stems and root systems of plants, thus killing them.
If our negative thoughts aren’t caught early and kept in check, they multiply. They’re keeping good thoughts from being planted; hindering our dreams from blooming and sometimes wrecking our lives through destruction of our relationships, hopes and dreams. They are undermining the “Sacred Spaces of the Self” – the Mind and its ability to manifest our good.
As I was sitting on the ground uprooting these weeds, I realized this space could become a sacred space – a space where I could use this physical task as a palate to paint the new map of my mind. I was symbolically releasing the thoughts and belief systems no longer serving me – no longer able to hold me back!
I’m reading Don Miguel Ruiz’s best-selling book, “The Four Agreements: A Toltec Wisdom Book” – again. In it he discusses how we become “domesticated” or controlled by beliefs, usually other peoples’ beliefs told to us when we were very young – before we could think for ourselves.
According to him, in the Toltec culture wisdom there are four things we can do to create and support our personal freedom. They are:
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don‘t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.
Ruiz discusses “going into the desert” to find our demons and leaving with our angels. This is where we discover the beliefs we have, how we came to “own” them and how they have limited us. Now we can change those beliefs, which no longer serve us. We leave with knowledge to guide us – our angels. Thus, the desert can be a sacred space where we find the root of the beliefs holding us back from freedom and personal power.
Using these metaphors – 1) the desert as a place where we find our demons, 2) the desert becomes a sacred space where we leave with our angels, and 3) weeds are like the negative beliefs rooted in your mind – all of a sudden, as I was pulling weeds, I realized I was in a sacred space.
I metaphorically was releasing negative thoughts that were choking the fertile ground of new beliefs. In some cases they were easily removed. Sometimes they had sent “feeders” out, symbolic of a belief attaching itself to other areas of my life, not just the one area where it originated. Sometimes they were wrapped around a beautiful plant strangling the life out of it – strangling the life out of a dream or relationship. A few times I had to dig deep down to find the taproot to release it and its grip in the dirt – totally undermining its ability to sprout up again – just as in life where I need to find the root cause to keep it from resurfacing.
Another awareness I came to embrace is – not all weeds are bad. On a hillside their root systems hold the dirt in place – so the land doesn’t slide down the hill in a storm – until a stronger seed takes root and grows. As I learn more about me as well as my gifts, I can allow the releasing of some of the old beliefs to make room for the new.
This act of weed clearing and pulling has taken on a whole new energy for me. It’s become a meditative time, a time for reflection, a time for going inward, a time for insights and introspection – creating a Sacred Space for renewing body, mind and spirit.
I’m also more aware how I’ve grown in awareness of my physical connection to plants. When they are drooping, I’m probably drooping due to too many obligations. When they are strong and vibrant, my health is vibrant. I’m taking time for me as well as my plants. When they’re blooming, I’m blossoming with ideas and potential for attracting more good into my life.
What are the weeds in your “yard” – your mind – you can release to make room for creating sacred spaces filled with health, hopes and harmony? Where in your yard, or in your home, can you release “weeds” (or clutter) to make room for improved health, nurture your hopes and create harmonious relationships?
Now, with my own new perspective on the interconnection of plants, those unwanted “weeds” are going to be higher on my awareness list and released from their grip on the earth and in my mind. My positive, uplifting thoughts are the seeds of my Sacred Self I want to plant. Having more clear space – more fertile land on which to plant, both physically in my yard as well as my mind – allows for my Soul to have its Sacred Spaces of the Self where ideas take root and create my dreams.