My trouble started with my client’s gift of homemade chocolates. While gifts are officially a no-no in the therapy world, homemade stuff is an exception, and on this packed day, the cocoa concoctions were just the generous dose of sugar I needed to reenergize for evening clients. The next morning, however, I was punished: the inevitable sugar hangover was looming, complete with headache, lethargy and irritability.
I was able to maintain patience with the kiddos that morning (thankfully), but didn’t have it in me to push myself to my usual workout class. So I opted or plan B: a quick walk around the park and then take out my funk on the overgrown garden.
You see, we recently had some work done that left portions of the grass a good three to four inches below the front path, an ankle roll (or postal worker lawsuit) waiting to happen. To fix it, we leveled and reseeded the lawn, leaving sporadic patches of compost for the next few weeks. As if keeping the kids from walking and playing in it isn’t enough, the lawn’s unpleasant visual disorder was getting to me within days. There it is: neurosis exposed (in case it wasn’t obvious already).Yes, I’m symmetry obsessed, and I prefer to start and end my day looking at the balance of a well-manicured lawn and flower beds.
With the lawn looking like crap and my sugar funk altering my usual mood, I decided working on my flower beds, to create some visual interest and distract from the grass, was the best option. Secondarily (or maybe primarily), it would also provide me with a sense of control.
Assuming you’ve read any of my other posts or you’re a parent yourself, you’re already aware of the letting go required in parenting. As a therapist, it’s pretty similar. I have little control over what people interpret in our sessions, whether or when they’ll make changes, and if they do, what outcome will be revealed. So, with acceptance (sometimes reluctant) of my powerlessness in most of my life, the immediate gratification of a few hours of weeding, pruning and planting helps me feel accomplished, pleasantly expended and powerful.
On this day, I plan a 30 min walk, hour of gardening, quick shower and then off to my clients. It’s not the full dose of dirt I really need, but it’s a start. I begin walking quickly with my true desire – gardening in the rare spring sun – in mind. Interestingly, before long, my pace has shifted, slowed. I notice a patch of wishes (the seeded dandelion type) and then another, and as the walk unfolds, more than I’ve seen in my lifetime!
A little history: wishes and their earlier dandelion form are a nemesis for any lawn. Years ago, ours was full of them; it was the East Portland trend to let your lawn burnout to conserve water. Every July and August, we mowed our foot-high dandelion fields overtaking the dead front yard. Since having children, however, wishes are a welcome find, a treasure of sorts, now that the neighborhood has turned over and lawns are being groomed, seeded and yes (gasp) watered.
Today, I reflect on this lovely, but invasive, weed, and appreciate the irony. I see beauty in the blooms and seeds someone else tends but find frustration (and even loathing) when I’m the one tending. I even laugh out loud, recognizing that the reason I was enjoying today’s walk at all, was so that I could get a little exercise before returning home to shape and WEED my own little piece of earth.
Thanks universe, I guess I needed that. Message clear, I extend my walk another loop. At least for that day, I let my sugar funk go, not by obsessively tending to front yard disorder, but by delighting in the wishes and weeds.