When are weeds really just weeds?

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So, I found myself at a crossroads recently, deciding to simplify my life. I have done a lot in my life career-wise and felt kind of like a Superwoman for a while. Soon though, as every Superwoman can attest, our capes get dirty, tattered, in need of cleaning and repair. I found mine needing to go to the cleaners in February of 2011. Interesting how when your cape is at the cleaners, you really find yourself lost and little naked. It was in that state that the reality of my ‘Superwoman’ status was obvious…I was losing out on valuable time with my family, my children, my acupuncture business, and most importantly, myself. All for what? Career advancement? Hadn’t I advanced enough with two successful businesses? I had to make a huge decision and let me tell you, it was not an easy one.

It has been a challenging introspective road I have been traveling on the past few months. And man, the CalTrans and MassDOT unions would NEVER consider contracting with my Superwoman state to ‘improve these roads’! They are pretty beat up and missing some major sections in a few areas. But I do have some gorgeous scenery. Those moments in time when you find yourself without a camera but your “mind’s camera” catches the brief picture of happiness, that one split second your child looks at you in a way that is indescribable. You know that moment. Those are the moments that outline the scenery that lines my road right now, reminding me that I am on the right path and that something great is ahead while reminding me of the beauty in the current traveling moment.

Just the other day, I realized that I was not needed and can be replaced. This is a tough place to be in as an owner of something. But as a colleague told me, “If we were all irreplaceable, the world would have ended years ago.” Ah true. That day was uncomfortable and full of emotion. I found myself weeding. Kind of appropo since I am an herbalist after all and an a crazy gardener who’s gardening capabilities have been put on hold due to my kids. I like to play with them instead of gardening sometimes and they like to pick my flowers. I have moved to food and herb-based plants in my garden so they can but the weeds were getting so out of control!

So I started on the sidewalk in front of my house. Funny thing happens when you are in front of your house – neighbors start talking to you. We talk about herbs, exchange a few plants for stuffed quahogs, talk to tween girls about Justin Beeber, and sympathize with the grandfather walking outside on the sidewalk with a newborn baby crying trying to calm and quiet the little one. Meanwhile, my husband is knee deep in compost in the back of the yard, missing this all go on. But I think this was meant for me to experience anyhow.

I just started pulling weeds. I knew some of their names in Pin Yin, some were cooking herbs that got crazy expanding their roots, and some I just wanted to get rid of. They seem to just be everywhere. And as I pulled, I found spiders, ants, burrs, beetles, all sorts of characters! When I was done, there was an emptiness in the beds and cracks, a sense of clean. The fresh dirt was showing and my husband asking behind me, “Where do you want me to put the compost?”

It made me think.

What is my life going to look like after I am done with this chapter? Are the weeds really just weeds? Or are they valuable herbs (lessons) and all I have experienced (the neighbors, the critters, the interactions) while removing them made me a better person? I guess I had to remove the weeds in order to see the richness of the life that surrounded them.

I am going to try to write more on my website about life, herbs, and the interaction of it all. I’m going to call it “Musings of an Herbal Mind” and I hope that my journey helps you on yours…or at least makes you laugh in the moment.