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Weeds in The Garden

I usually love the early morning time, anticipating my children's return. It's the sweetest time of day. But, I woke up this morning with a hunger in my belly, that sense of dread that visits me sometimes in the early morning; the sense that I have missed something, I MUST get moving, else the world will certainly fall to bits. The feeling that I have to DO SOMETHING to merit my continued existence, to prove my worth, to justify the space I take up on the planet.

It's related to the "forever empty" that Louis C.K. went on a rant on Conan about (that guy is a straight-up Buddhist, whether he knows it or not) and the "never not broken" that the Goddess Akhilandeshvari personifies. I feel it really strongly in the mornings, when it's quiet.

I'm working, maybe one day, toward getting comfortable with it. I believe that it doesn't ever go away, that it isn't untrue or incorrect in any way, that it's not a fundamental misperception.  I think, in fact it is just the opposite - it is only because I am sensitive and aware and deeply spiritual that I've happened to grasp, from time to time, the brokenness and impermanence of all creation. The part I can work on, however, is my REACTION to that truth.

Right now my go-to coping (like most people, truly) is to deny it, to medicate it, to do anything but sit with it, to hold the discomfort and unresolvable beautiful ephemerality of all life. I think this tendency is the root of all human addictions: food, technology, entertainment, drink, drugs, sex, shopping, work, ambition, religion, exercise, denial. Pick one, or many.

We are addicted to denying the reality of our perfect impermanence, or maybe that of our impermanent perfection.

I couldn't sit with it this morning, so I decided to weed the garden.

As I started, I got both horrified and motivated.  Not only "OH GODDESS, this garden is embarrassing and a mess!" but also "I'm going to get all these weeds pulled out and this garden will look GREAT and people will walk by and see how neat and well kept it is and it will be a CREDIT to my SKILLS and COMMITMENT to being a good neighbor! I will be seen as VIRTUOUS!"

And thus weedapalooza began.

But you know the thing about weeding? It's hard, and irregular, and impossible to do completely.  And your hands get dirty and you ruin your new manicure. And you're standing in the yard with your butt in the air, wondering, "do I look stupid? is my butt crack showing? UGH! I have to get this done quickly!"

After about 30 minutes, I was tired and not close to done. My readers were hanging off my face and I was sweaty. I began contemplating leaving the job "half-done."

Half-done.  Now let's just think about that. As if there would ever, ever, be a time when the job of weeding was fully done, weeds being a part of life and all. I realized how much I've been limiting my joy through completion thinking rather than process thinking. Looking to the end rather than being right here.

So I had a breakthrough.  Really:

I decided to stop when I was ready rather than holding myself to some standard of finished.

I looked down at that moment and found a marble in the yard, long buried. I put it in my pocket and consider it one of the little gifts the universe lays on you to let you know you're in the right direction.  I'm going to wash it and put it on the altar as a reminder to stop when I'm ready, in all things, not necessarily when the job is "done".

Think of the applications to food, exercise, relationship, everything.

And there are weeds in my garden. There's an analogy there to that "forever empty" and "never not broken" too.  Weeds in all of our gardens. I get to them as I can, but they're always going to be there, new ones, growing, always.  The process of soul-growing is about working on what you can, when you can, and being in relationship to the process, not the end-that-will-never-be.