Dandelions have taken over our yard. When we bought this house two years ago, the lawn was a lush green swath of perfection. I don’t know how they did it, but the previous owners took immaculate care of the lawns and gardens. Well, I do know how they did it. Neighbors have told me that the wife spent hours each day pulling weeds and tending the gardens. They were a childless couple in their late forties and, aside from work, the yard and garden was their life. With two young kids, my husband and I don’t have the luxury of disposable time, so keeping up with the yard and staying on top of the weeds is a challenging task.
I’ve been watching these dandelions slowly overwhelm both our land and my psyche. How in the world would I find the time to make a dent in their tyranny? But this morning, with a little extra sleep and a surge of energy, with Everest happily swinging and Asher happily playing in a mound of dirt, I gathered the gardening gloves, spade, and weed basket and got busy.
Like beauty, a weed’s merit is in the eye of the beholder. As dandelion’s happen to be a weed that can be transformed into many beneficial things – honey, wine, tea – I imagine there are people who would welcome mass propagation in their yards. Regardless of the weed’s ultimate fate, we must get down on our knees and pull them out by the roots if the grass, flower beds, and vegetable gardens are to survive.
The same is true for the weeds of your personality that crop up during transitions: if they’re not attended to, they will take over the whole of you and eventually erode your relationship to yourself, others, and the world. One of the most powerful aspects of transitions is that they render us so vulnerable that the “weeds” are hard to ignore. We’re given an opportunity to transform aspects of ourselves that are no longer serving our garden.
This is no small task; oftentimes, we’re brought to our knees from the enormity of the emotions. But whether it’s our need to please, our judgmental part, our perfectionist, our difficult trusting ourselves, or our rigidity, when we see them clearly we can begin the hard work of pulling them out by the roots and making room for the beauty to flower. This may take several transitions. Healing occurs in layers, and each time we’re transition we can heal another layer of a personality weed. The goal is not perfection, but consciousness. As long as we’re moving toward becoming the most loving and compassionate versions of ourselves, we’re moving in the right direction.
Digging out the weeds by the roots is hard work. But the anticipation is usually harder than the work itself. And it’s what must be done if we’re to enjoy the rewards of a conscious transition.