When my son was little he drew a lovely colourful map of our house and garden. On closer inspection, the flower beds were labelled as "WIDS". Indeed, my garden could be described as rustically attractive and still has many patches of "wids".
And alright, I agree, my mind is not a bed of roses and has its fair share of weeds. It is not always trained and orderly, the hedges are not neatly trimmed and the grass may need mowing. It would not feature in House and Garden magazine nor win prizes in the most beautiful garden competition.
There are beds of shoulds and oughts,
there are shrubs decked in a myriad of self-criticisms and little worries,
there are whole hedges of not good enoughs.
Then there are gorgeous blooms of self-love,
brilliant bursts of self-appreciation,
joyful blossoms of humour and laughter,
decorated portals bedecked with climbing roses and jasmine allowing love in abundance to flow in and flow out.
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare wrote:
I know a bank where the wilde thyme blows
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Over-canopied with luscious woodbine
With sweet musk roses and eglantine.
And yet what properties do weeds have?
Weeds sow themselves, they need little encouragement to thrive finding their own nourishment, water and sunshine.
They are tough and resilient
They have an unconventional beauty
They do not need to be admired or cosseted
Sometimes they have intrinsic healing properties, the foxglove, the poppy
In my mind garden should I then eliminate weeds?
Or could I learn from them?
Could I view my shoulds and oughts through unprejudiced eyes
Set more loving and achievable goals
Could I challenge my self-criticism?
Convert the putdowns into uplifts
The self-abasement into self-affirmation
Could I accept my own special beauty as uniquely mine not to be compared or measured against others?
Could I celebrate my strength and resilience accept my imperfections?
Could I really believe I have the right to stand with head held high, best breast forward knowing that I am perfect just as I am however unconventional that perfection might be
My roses need planting, weeding, fertilising, spraying for black mould and pruning for the winter.
My weeds just grow merrily self-confidently and trust in their own inner beauty
There is no need to be the perfect peonie, the languid lily or the fragile fuchsia
Maybe I should plant weeds.
Words by Dr Jane Barker