Updated: Oct 20, 2022
I'm a gardener, and I'm also a wildcrafting herbalist, which means I have knowledge of most native and introduced plant species. Most weeds are highly medicinal and/or edible, so I have an interesting relationship with weeds in my garden. I give weeds certain areas to grow, and I pull them out in the places where I’m growing things that can’t compete with weeds. As a metaphor this fits how I tend the garden of my soul.
My gardening process is one of making room for all the things that grow in a way that everything thrives. This requires getting to know the stories of weeds, which shifts the narrative I have about them. Instead of viewing them as negative things to get rid of, I learn to see weeds as teachers with wondrous and empowering gifts. The better I know a weed’s reproductive processes, survival strategies, and medicinal/edible properties, the easier it is for me to delineate wild and cultivated spaces in my garden.
In my garden the weeds of negative self-talk arise from core organizing beliefs, which are roots or seeds invisible but highly potent everywhere in the soil. Each belief offers a lesson by being made conscious, which is a process of allowing space for weeds, understanding and then utilizing their nutritional and medicinal properties. In other words, there is a medicine in understanding weeds like negative self talk. In the garden of my soul the thing I'm trying to cultivate is self-confidence, and the weed is self-doubt. The better I understand the origins of self-doubt, the more space I am able to make for confidence to grow.
My absolute favorite spaces in the garden are where the wild and the cultivated come together. This is because I feel the most whole when I’ve found a home in my soul for the exiled parts of myself. This doesn’t mean I've given into self-doubt, it means I’ve transformed it like Belle learning to see the man within the Beast. The narrative shifts from the ways I am reacting to the ways I am being. Instead of standing outside myself in judgment I stand within myself and see how self doubt was a protective and resilient response to the challenges of my childhood. Letting the weeds grow in my garden reminds me of my strength and resilience and that they're always there when I need them.