Weeds in My Garden

It is mid-summer and weeds have overtaken my garden. Clutter has sprouted up in all of the rooms of my home and the basement is an unrecognizable aftermath of hours and days of boy play on each and every surface. I don’t know how this happened or when this happened.

I used to be in control of my garden and home. My garden was so carefully kept and so perfectly groomed. My home, my sanctuary, was always polished and put together – ready for company at any moment. Looking at its perfection made me feel calm, together, and successful. It made me feel in control, on top of things, and on my game. “See, I can have a successful career and be a wife, a parent, a daughter, and a friend. I can have it all.”

It was not natural.

It is natural for weeds to grow in gardens. It is natural for life and fun to result in messes. It is natural to have to make tradeoffs while balancing it all. What is not natural is to define perfection as anything other than “what is.”

I liken my focus on my perfect home to my teenage years when I would get up extra early in the mornings to put in the effort required to have perfect hair – perfectly straight hair. My hair is naturally curly. No matter how long and hard I tried to make it perfect, the speed at which it returned to its natural state was directly correlated to how important it was to me for it to be perfect on that day. I had made-up that perfect hair was straight hair. I recall the peace, ease, and self-love that came the day I decided to let my hair go natural and I discovered the power of loving “what is.”

So today I sit here choosing to write to you rather than feeling the need to pull weeds or organize my clutter. And in this I am celebrating as I have let go of yet another of my made-up stories. Noticing the weeds and the clutter does not make me feel out of control or at all distraught. Quite the contrary, it’s liberating and even a bit overwhelming to feel how much I love the “what is” of my life – my husband, my son, my father and his Alzheimers, my career, our home and the messes we create together every day.

When I look at the weeds, the clutter, and the messy spots in my life, I smile. When I look at my imperfections, my shortcomings, and my gifts, I am grateful. In loving “what is,” I free all those around me to love who they are as well.  Because I can fully love what is me, I can fully love others. My family is free to be who they are and I am free to be me … curly-haired, joyful, and naturally, wonderfully imperfect! For me, having it all is not a question, it is a gift. Having it all requires just one thing – loving it all. Weeds included.

What stories are you making up?   What are they costing you?

About the Author

Ann Farrell

Ann Farrell, Corporate Success Coach, retired from corporate in 2006 to launch, Quantum Endeavors. She is distinguished as the only woman in her Fortune 100 Company’s 150-year history to rise from entry level to the top of the house. Her trademarked coaching programs are used by 35 corporate coaching firms. You can connect with Ann on Twitter as @AnnFarrell and on LinkedIn.

11 Comments

Rose Silver

This is one of the most irritating issues that I always deal with my garden. Weeds! Weeds! Sometimes I even got my seedlings wrecked because of the weeds in my garden. I saw weeds but mistakenly grabbed my seedlings!

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Ann Farrell

Naomi,

I so hope we do meet as well! That way I will get to thank you for the imagery of the beautiful French countryside that you have gifted me with this afternoon as I am “knee deep” in a new weed and the sunken clutter of our flooded basement! Actually, this is the only way that I would have ever parted with all of the boxes of stuffed animals from my son’s childhood!

Here’s to contually “letting go”!

Warmly
Ann

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Naomi Bloom

Ann, We haven’t met, but I sure home we do. I’ve been balancing so many things for so very long, and it’s still trial and error. And it doesn’t get easier as age imposes its own set of weeds and clutter. But I absolutely am happiest when I let go, although it’s very difficult to do. I’m reading this at a fabulous country inn in the Dordogne region of France, gazing out the French doors of the bar (where they have the only wifi hotspot) across the veranda and to the grazing shetland ponies across the way — and the mess, weeds, etc. of life aren’t in my line of sight. Naomi

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Ann Farrell

Jennifer,

Thank you! Maybe its the idiosyncrasies and the messes that provide the texture and the fun to our lives as well! Just smooth, straight sailing might get pretty boring after a while! As my son is now enterring high school, we only have a few more years to enjoy his messes on a daily basis so I intend to fully enjoy them while they, and he, is here!

Warmly,
Ann

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Jennifer Payne

I love the idea of being able to define for yourself what “perfection” is….and in the process learning to not only accept but to embrace and enjoy all of the little idiosyncrasies of life. So true that the messes sometimes make for the best times! Thanks so much for sharing!

Jennifer

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Jennifer V. Miller

Ann,

I recall a time when I was consulting with a senior leadership team of a manufacturing facilitity. We were discussing team dynamics and “perfection”. I distinctly remember the General Manager exclaiming, “Jennifer, you just don’t understand! It’s in our culture to work towards perfection. We’re at nearly zero PPMs right now”. That led to a wonderful discussion about how to strive for perfection in process, but allow forgiveness with our fellow humans.

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Ann Farrell

Catherine,

Thank you for the gift of your wonderful added perspective! I especially appreciated your comment to me “At this point in my life I like to think of weeds as flowers with great survival skills!”

Truth is, I cannot really tell the difference either!

Warmly
Ann

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Catherine Goodwin

Thanks Ann! Great reminder to “stop and smell the flowers” even if the flower is technically a “weed” . Besides who gets to decide what is a weed or flower …isn’t that also a “made up story”? I have seen some pretty beautiful weeds in my life. Here is a real story that demonstrates just how much we buy into perceptions or “what should bes”. I asked my daughter when she was nine or so if she would help me pull the weeds. She had to keep asking me which was a weed and which was a flower… she thought they allwere beautiful !

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Ann Farrell

Carol,

What a wonderful gift you are able to give to your daughter! Not only are you giving her the gift of carefree summers, but also the model of integrating your work and your life while prioritizing what will be remembered over what will quickly be forgotten!

Thanks for the reminder to make a kitchen mess with my son!

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Carol McDaniel

Ann,

As I sit here in my home office, door closed, clutter and weeds surrounding me, this post really spoke to me.

I was on a call with my boss this week doing the “weekly” catch on business, all the while my daughter was in the kitchen with her friends laughing, making cupcakes and completely oblivious to what I was doing. I was slightly irritated with the disruption, but took a step back and remembered those lazy fun summer days with my friends just hanging out. I’m so glad she can have that too.

That being said, your post reminded me that often times weeds and clutter need to grow and accumulate if for no other reason than to remind us that our focus doesn’t always need to be on clearing clutter and getting organized. Sometimes the most memorable moments are cast in the shadows of the grass that needs mowed and the stacks of paperwork on our desks.

Thanks for the reminder!

Carol McD

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