Getting to the Root of the Problem

Posted by Mimi Meredith at Friday, August 2nd, 2013 7:44 am


This morning, I tried to quickly pull some weeds in my flower bed. Here's the thing...you can't pull weeds quickly, whether they're in flowerbeds, relationships or your own spirit.

You have to commit to getting dirty and staying with the project "until you get the little white roots out."

That is how my mother taught me to pull weeds when I was young. Her guidance came as she looked over my efforts to help with her flower beds. I felt that I'd accomplished great things by simply eliminating the part of the weed that could be seen and thereby improving the appearance of the garden.

Whether or not she meant to provide a metaphor that would shape the way I think about relationships is not certain, but I am guessing she did.

She explained that superficial weed control just makes the weeds all the more determined. The roots grow deeper and produce even more shoots through the surface in other locations.

How does that compare to your relationships? You've probably heard of emotion that comes out sideways...the times when you react to something that is totally unrelated to the real source of anger, hurt, grief or worry and thereby confuse those in relationship with you...that's because we failed to find the little white roots.

This is true in every relationship including management and parenting.

Root eradication takes time and dedication. It takes the right tools, which usually involve professional help to give you support, perspective checks and to make sure you don't destroy valuable growth along with your weed whacking.

In my landscaping and flower garden, professional help has taught me how to protect my efforts with weed barriers and good planting techniques. 

In the garden of my spirit, professional counseling has helped me see how the things I do and think either limit my growth and relationships, or support them.

In my career, professional consultation and continuing education improve my perspective, give me insight into toxic habits I had previously counted as strengths and help me focus my efforts.

Our internal space...whether it's our capacity to work and deal with people, or the space required to settle our spirits and find peace...is limited. The only way to create more of it is to remove what doesn't belong. That should motivate you to get started weeding. Get started. Make space so goodness grows.

Note: other people aren't the weeds. Weeds are the personal practices that limit our ability to deal with other people. Do not read this and begin whacking anyone else, please!


Oh, Mimi, this is such a wonderful analogy and such an important life lesson! Gardening has all kinds of beautiful lessons for our spiritual life too (watering, nurturing, etc.), not the least of which is that it's an ongoing process, not a "do it and it's done" deal. Thank you for this simple, powerful reminder.

MimiMeredith moderator

 @RiverwoodWriter Hello my friend! You have a great ability to help me take my own thoughts one step farther. You are so right...there is no do it and it's done in gardening, relationships, management or self-improvement (well...management and self-improvement also fall under relationships don't they!?). Just when I think I've grown past the presence of weeds in an area of my life, there I go again.


So here's to living upward and onward, dedicating a bit of time each day to weed control!