‘Get some dirt under your nails!” I remember my mum saying that years ago when us kids were complaining that there was nothing to do and it was boring being stuck at home during the school holidays. Growing up with my mum you soon learned that calling life boring was a big mistake and she would jump at the opportunity to fill in those available moments in time getting us kids to rake the shingle driveway or help weed the flower garden. Mum was a great gardener and people used to slow down as they drove past our house to admire all her hard work. So, there she was with eight children, a husband who was a world war II survivior (having seen most of his mates killed in action, he survived with serious schrapnel and psychological wounds) and very strong personalities in some of my older siblings, I can very easily now understand why she enjoyed the escape that comes from getting your hands in the dirt and being one with the land! It must have been a wonderful place for her to spend time and over the past year I have experienced that peace and calm for myself. Yes, hands get a bit sore and it takes a little longer to get up from the gardening stool but I wouldn’t swap one moment of weeding that I have carried out these past 12 months. It has truly been an amazing experience as with every weed dispatched you feel a bit lighter and I believe that as we weed physically we weed mentally and clear out old thoughts and imaginations that can hold us back.
In my family I was the one without the green thumb and really the only thing I considered myself good at is weeding. Well, gardening has a wonderful way of expanding your horizons and as the months went by and I continued to weed around the house on our five acres (including a long driveway and roundyard) I began to see just what pleasure my mum got from keeping the garden in order and also creating her own little corner of the world that reflected her beauty and spirit. I have to say that I feel very close to her when I’m out there weeding away and I know both her and my dad would be very impressed with all the little trees I have grown from seed. Now, that is a wonderful moment when you see the tiny little shoot of an apple tree and makes me so in awe of our God who has provided so abundantly in every fruit and vegetable on this earth. Take a look at a pumpkin – it has approx a hundred seeds in each pumpkin and pretty much every one of them will strike into a new plant. It has been impossible this year trying to grow vegetables as we have had 40+deg heat a lot of the time and the poor old pumpkin plants look like little umbrellas as their leaves sag in the heat. I will have to try and build a proper garden area next season as I am determined to grow our own vegetables – eventually.
Growing through this patch called menopause is a lot like a garden – and I arrived at a stage in my life to find I was surrounded by weeds, both physically and mentally. You may be going through a tough patch at present so I want to share with you what I discovered and that was that each weed represents something we don’t want in our lives and perhaps never wanted it but just didn’t realise it had grown over the years. I have decided to let go all the regrets and I’m not talking about only big regrets…..even the tapestry I never finished is gone along with the weeds (I gave it away). And all the horrible times when I have been treated poorly by different people in my life…..gone with the weeds. It’s a watershed moment when we realise that no-one can take what is truly ours – the person God made us to be – the spirit that is us, not the earth suit that contains us. You have the opportunity to let go of past hurts, dial down the stressometer and just ‘be’ who you are. I have learnt that hands in dirt (most of the time in gloves as we have spiders and other things that could be dangerous to the naked hands!) and getting rid of weeds is just amazingly refreshing to my spirit. It costs a bit of time and effort but the rewards are priceless. I am convinced that we all have a need to weed, whether we realise it or not, so next time you are feeling inundated with the wave of emotions that we experience through the menopause journey, just take yourself outside and dig out a weed or two. Give them a name and toss them away and experience the joy that comes from taking back control of your journey. Go on…..get some dirt under your nails! 🙂