Start Pulling the Weeds

A couple weekends ago, I had the chance to hop on a flight last-minute to celebrate our first granddaughter's first birthday.  The weather in Ohio was crummy, so a quick escape to Florida sounded fabulous, even more so to see the sunshine that is our sweet Noah-girl.

I remember thinking in the midst of the mental to-do list, "I need to start working on the flowerbeds, but it can wait until I get back because it's so cold."  Upon returning to Ohio, I was dismayed because not only was it cold, IT WAS SNOWING ON APRIL 21st!!!  I was even more dismayed because the dang weeds taking up residence in the flowerbeds didn't get the memo that they shouldn't be growing flourishing in cold weather.  And after a few warmer days, they looked like they were on steroids.  How bad could it be, you ask?

Oh friends, this is just the beginning.  I added two more full bags after I took this picture and each bag weighed 30-40 lbs.  And I'm not done yet.  All this weeding did, however, give me lots of time to think.  Dangerous, I know, but here we go anyway.

Weeds suck.  As I was making my way through that overgrown mess, I had totally forgotten that I had planted some perennials last Fall because I like it when flowers just appear year after year.  Suddenly my weed removal had new purpose as I began finding little signs of life, but these plants were so overtaken by weeds that the life was being sucked out of them.  They were still there, but they weren't thriving under the weight of the weeds.

Strike a cord?  It did with me.  How easy it is to let the weeds overtake the life within us.  Our joy. Our energy. Our purpose. Our hope.  But weeds are tricky.  Some of them can begin looking like a normal part of the landscape, so it's important to take a hard look and see where we might have 'weeds' running the show.  Our wellness isn't always about implementing a self-care strategy.  Sometimes, our wellness hinges on some serious weed removal so there's room for good things to take root and thrive.

Everyone's 'weeds' are different, but here's a few varieties:

  • False beliefs 
  • Living under the weight of past wounds
  • Overly busy (can't say no or utilizes busyness as distraction)
  • Self-doubt
  • Lack of boundaries (who or what infringes on your sense of peace and thriving?)
  • Distractions (one example: think technology and how your connections to others and/or social media might be adding chaos rather than peace)
  • Cynicism, pessimism, and/or judgment (these thwart healthy relationships, which are vital to our wellness...this could be a whole post of its own!)

These are just a few, but you get the idea.  They are all weeds that can take over if we don't identify them and find effective ways to mitigate them.  And the thing about weeds is that they seem to like to come back, so our tending to them is typically not a one-and-done.  However, if we are mindful of keeping ahead of them, we are bound to grow, thrive, and contribute to the unique beauty and strength of our landscape.  

Disclaimer:  Joe looked at this and thought these were stock photos.  These are NOT stock photos, thank you very much.  They are totally plants that I uncovered at our house!!

There's no one right way to go about this.  It might be necessary to try a variety of approaches to make way for the thriving that is within you.  Here are just a few suggestions (this is not intended to be an exhaustive list, rather a springboard to getting started!):

  • Consult an expert.  I'm not afraid of hard work, but you best believe when I recognized poison ivy in one area of the yard, I'm asking for help to figure that out.  Counseling is one of the greatest tools you can access if you need an objective voice to help you eradicate some serious 'weeds'.
  • Create some positive quiet in your world.  As a working mom of nine, I know this is a tall order.  However, it's essential to find calm in the chaos.  Everyone's idea of calm looks different, so you need to approach it as your sanctuary moments where you can identify any weeds that need tending to.  Shoot, I could easily ignore the weed situation going on and prioritize everything and everybody else.  However, if I hadn't made time to get out there and face it, those weed roots are only growing deeper and choking out the good stuff. 
  • Give yourself grace.  Don't start creating some measuring stick next to the neighbor's yard.  There's no need to feel like you've got to try to attain perfection.  That's so much bologna!  Right this very minute, half of my yard looks pretty amazing and the other half is a work in progress.  Celebrate and enjoy your amazing, and keep on with your journey of progress!  
  • HOPE.  I'm so serious here.  HOPE is "a belief or trust that something good is possible."  Without HOPE, what's the point of any of the hard work?  Weeding is hard work, but finding life is the reward.

Dr. Joe & Dardi Hendershott are co-founders of Hope 4 The Wounded, LLC, an organization dedicated to equipping, empowering, and encouraging professionals with practitioner-developed trauma-informed practices and social-emotional learning & wellness strategies.  Dardi is a certified health & wellness coach, and Joe has 30+ years in education & is the recipient of the Crystal Star Award for dropout prevention and the Raymond W. Bixler Award recognizing excellence in education.  He’s authored two books:  REACHING THE WOUNDED STUDENT and 7 WAYS TO TRANSFORM THE LIVES OF WOUNDED STUDENTS.  Dr. Joe & Dardi have co-authored SUPPORTING THE WOUNDED EDUCATOR: A TRAUMA-SENSITIVE APPROACH TO SELF-CARE to round out a comprehensive approach to supporting wellness for both students as well as the professionals who are serving them.

50% Complete

We'd love to stay connected with you!