Laying Down Roots
Recently, I’ve had students saying to me ‘Nicky, I’ve been doing this work on myself for one year now, aren’t I nearly finished yet?’ and I have to admit, I can’t help but giggle a little.
Of course I’ll respond with love and understanding but then I’ll tell them that there is no certain time frame for life. That preparing the soil and laying down roots within oursleves takes time. If we are lucky, we may be able to get more in touch with the truth of who we are and go on to live rich, deep and nourishing lives. One where we may be able to feel some freedom in our lives. Who knows how long this will take, each one of us is so different.
I’ve been doing this for nearly 20 years now and I no longer expect it nor wish it to stop. After a while, you too may stop aiming only for the destination and start cherishing this beautiful, courageous and nourishing journey.
Let me tell you a story.
Many years ago, I was going through a very challenging phase in my healing journey. I was having to confront some very uncomfortable emotions from my past and I really had no idea how or what to do with them. I was sitting in my therapist’s office one afternoon and I said to her:
“Therapist, these feelings are so overwhelming, and often so painful to experience. What do I do with all of this?”
And she replied, “Nicky, have you ever done any gardening?”
I looked at her dumbfounded. Surely she had gone bonkers for a moment? Maybe after all these years seeing her, I had totally misjudged her and she was infact a little insane?
All I said was, “Sorry… what?”
She replied again, “Nicky, have you ever done any gardening? I suggest that after this session you go home and spend at least 2 hours ‘working the earth’ in your garden (my flatmates garden!). Just do it and you will understand.”
So, I shut my mouth and did what she said. An hour later, on my knees in the flowerbed of my flatmates garden, with some strange tool in one hand and a look of bewilderment on my face I began ‘working the earth’. Having grown up in Hong Kong, I barely saw a patch of grass as a child let alone knew what ‘working the earth’ was, but I just went with it and hoped for the best.
As I dug in and out of the earth, I started instinctively pulling out weeds, digging, pulling, over and over again. Until before I knew it, I had become completely lost in this action. I was sweating like crazy and an hour had past.
And… all the anger and sadness that I had blocked up inside of me started to flow and the more I felt it, the more I dug, the more angry I felt, the more weeds I pulled out. Digging, pulling, sweating, heart pounding, crying, raging, more digging, more pulling.
It was an unbelievable relief.
I had never really experienced this energy of ‘mother’ before, but as I worked the earth, my hands covered in dirt and mud, I felt the solidity of the earth underneath me, I realised for the first time that no matter how hard it ever got, the earth would always be underneath me.
I could feel her love and strength and power. And it felt good. Really good.
As the hours went by, I think I must have done the entire flowerbed. It was really hard work but it was worth it. I realised that I had been pulling out the weeds from within me, some of them were really deeply rooted and I had to pull them out with two hands and a lot of strength, but I just kept going.
And when I finished, I sat back and looked at all the work I had done.
The earth was gleaming, beautiful and fertile, ready to blossom and grow something new, something completely unknown to me. Maybe a few more weeds but also along with it something beautiful. Without a doubt something beautiful. Next to it was a pile of weeds ready to be burnt or thrown away. And within me my heart felt clear, grounded, rooted, and nourished.
Sometimes the work we need to do on ourselves in our life can be hard, sometimes it can take a lot of strength and hard work, but lets not forget that what we are doing is pulling out the weeds, working the earth and preparing our soil. Making space for something beautiful, something new and without a doubt, possibly magical to blossom and grow in our lives.
So all I can say to you is this, just keep on going, one weed at a time. Before you know it you’ll look back and cherish the whole beautiful and deeply meaningful journey and you may even forget to ask ‘when will this be finished?’.