Hmmm–What I Learned Digging in the Dirt

I’ve been spending lots of time lately playing in my new garden, fussing around the new plants, arranging stepping stones, adding a few crystals, checking on the progress of the tomatoes, squash and peppers.  (Today I picked the first squash and some basil which I will enjoy for lunch!).

Sometimes I think I’m just wasting time, or distracting myself from what I should be doing.  Ahem, excuse me?  Should? Should?  Who says?  I have to laugh when I find myself doing, saying and thinking the very things I counsel my clients to give up doing.  Well, at least noticing and laughing are steps in the right direction!

So, what about enjoying gardening is not real, authentic life?  What is it in my conditioning that says I should (there’s that word again) be doing something productive, task oriented, etc?  You know what I mean.  Honestly, sometimes I think (there’s that word too) that whatever I’m doing, the conditioned ego mind just finds fault with it, because that’s what it does.  So whatever I’m doing, thinking, feeling at the moment, it should be something else.

Does anyone else have that program running, or am I the only one, and am seriously nuts?  If so, let me know.  You know what they say about insanity—everyone else can see it but you.

In truth, that program has been called out.  My mother, of all people—God bless her, she has worked herself so hard all these years, a slave of the shoulds—said one day “Don’t Should on yourself”.

I should make a plaque of that.  And that word should be erased from the vocabulary!

So much of the session work I do includes given folks permission to listen to their hearts and their longings:  validating those longings as information from the small, still voice of their own soul within.  Many times clients will come into a reading asking to hear what they should be doing, whether it’s about a job, a relationship, a move.  I ask them—what do you want to do?  What is the deepest longing here?  What is your heart telling you? Listen deeply within to the cries of your heart and soul.

We are so conditioned by culture, religion, family, tradition to devalue our own inner voice, assume that whatever we think, feel, desire, long for is probably wrong, and that there is probably something else that is our guidance.  Usually we assume that our ‘guidance’ has surely to be something more difficult, more sacrificial, more martyr like.  Surely our inner guidance couldn’t be as simple as listening to the desires of our heart, could it?

The other big program that runs us is being our own worst critics.  In the New Testament, and indeed in every religious tradition, we are told to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Honestly, if most of us treated our neighbors, talked to or about our neighbors the way we talk to and treat ourselves, we’d be put in jail, or at least brought up on serious charges!

What is your inner voice?  The critic?  The nag? The one who always makes whatever you are doing, thinking, feeling at the moment wrong?

Ask yourself this question:  Do you speak to yourself the way you would speak to your best friend?

Whenever you are tempted to should on yourself, picture someone close to you, and imagine you are speaking to them, and speak to yourself the same way.  Would you invalidate their inner torment the way you invalidate your own?  See if that doesn’t shift that program for you.

Now, I’m not saying that I don’t sometimes use the garden or other things as a diversion or a distraction, but, ultimately, so what?  Notice it, acknowledge it, and understand that maybe a distraction is just what is needed at the moment.  Shift the energy from the shoulds,  enter deeply and fully into whatever you are doing at the moment—surrendering  fully into what is being felt, what you are desiring to get from the distraction and notice it all.  Allow yourself to feel all of what you are feeling.—without judgment.  Enjoy the moment, whatever it is.  Notice yourself enjoying it.  Until you don’t, and then you take a breath, and move on.

You see, some of what I was thinking I should be doing, instead of distracting myself playing in the dirt,  is more writing and sharing.  Well, guess what?  After I finished putzing around outside this morning, I came in, sat  down and wrote this.

Hmm–so what if I started to catch myself using the S-word, and changed it to Want, and then really owned it?  Really listened to it?  What could happen?  Wow.  How free my heart feels!  I hope this blesses you as I am blessed by the experience of it!

5 Responses

  1. Hi Meredith! Yes, I still have that approving parent program going on in the head. But I’ve learned to temper it and some of it has just disappeared just by me noticing it when it happens. It always is calming to me to remember that whatever happens in one’s life it is A O K. So then in any moment when there is a question about the appropriateness of the intention, the course of action we take doesn’t have that stigma of right/wrong or even ideal/less than. Just letting things be as they are regardless of outcome, there isn’t any perfect outcome, just the ones that look like they are. Great message to read from you on an otherwise lackluster Sunday. Blessing to you Meredith!

    1. Yes perfect–it’s all in how we judge it isn’t it! And not resisting. Nice connecting with you Robert!

  2. Hi Meredith
    Ahh Yes, Digging in the dirt. Loosening our own soil. Treating it and getting it ready to plant a seed perhaps? Cultivating a healthy environment for it, watering, nourishing, watching our garden grow!
    The shoulds are to me like one of the foods that the ego mind craves. It is one of the junk foods! I appreciate your sharing these times for all of us to see!
    I do not believe we would ,even if we could, plant a seed in our garden that we know ,when fully grown , would harm us when eating. We all here want and make the effort to eat what we know is healthy and life nourishing foods.
    And yet we allow the inner part of our whole body to often dine on seeds of thought, yesterdays thoughts, tomorrows thoughts, “I should have done this or that, I should be doing this or that” Both illusions of what is gone and dead, and that which has not and can not happen.
    It is a path of awakening and freedom indeed when we choose to train our mind to work for us instaed of us working for our mind.

  3. Thanks, Bill. Your analogy of the ‘shoulds’ being poisonous seeds is a good one. Blessings to you

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