Whether its dandelions in your grass or clover in your garden, anyone with a yard has the never-ending task of pulling, digging or spraying to get rid of weeds as they perpetually pop up. Yes I know that one man’s weed is another man’s flower, but practically speaking weeds are weeds.
Wrestling with a fresh crop of unwanted “flowers” in my garden recently got me thinking about the nature of weeds.
Why do weeds seem to have no difficulty growing and the plants we desire have so many more challenges?
Why can weeds grow anywhere easily while flowers need tender loving care?
The answer is actually quite simple.
Weeds thrive because they don’t need much to survive.
They are pretty low maintenance – they don’t need a lot of water, or care about the soil condition or whether it’s sunny or shady.
Once again the garden provides great insight into life.
What if we were more like weeds?
What if we reduced our requirements of what we need to survive?
The rise of the minimalist movement might just be a sign that some people are figuring out that it’s easier to thrive when you have less stuff to deal with. Minimalism doesn’t mean getting rid of everything. It means being conscious and intentional about what you do have in your life – whether its stuff or relationships or commitments. It’s choosing to surround yourself with the things you love that help you actually live a life that reflects your values.
Let’s face it.
Most people are maximalists.
We have way too much clutter. Not just the physical clutter that is crammed into our drawers and closets and basements and garages. We have too much clutter in many aspects of our lives. Our calendars are overscheduled. Our minds full to overflowing with thoughts. We have way too many “I have to” and “I should” in our days.
The end result of that?
Too much of everything leaves us “stuffocated” – a feeling of being suffocated by too much stuff in our lives with not a moment to actually catch our breaths or get anywhere near the end of our to-do list.
Here’s the challenge:
In order to minimalize we have to break a lot of old habits.
Think about the last time you went on vacation. Chances are you took far more things that you needed just in case you needed them. The reality is most people only use a third of the things they pack on holidays.
We have habits of saying yes to avoid feeling guilty or buying new clothes just because they are on sale. But every time we add one more thing – be it a new commitment or darling pair of shoes – our lives actually become more like those flowers that need extra time and attention to manage.
Maybe thriving in life is about creating a low maintenance lifestyle.Thriving in life requires us to create a low maintenance lifestyle. Click To Tweet
Maybe it’s about being more consciously weed-like.
So how do we that?
Figure out your minimum.
If you were to get back to basics, what would you include? Take some time to do an inventory of your life and consider what adds value and what takes it away. I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer. She said that news caused her to review everything in her life – relationships, commitments and stuff. Take the time to review without having the challenge of a life crisis to make it happen.
Weed out some of the clutter
De-cluttering can be an overwhelming task. Start small and tackle things bit by bit – one drawer, one bookshelf, one cupboard at a time. Be ruthless. Keep only what you truly love or enriches your life or is highly practical or functional. Remember that memories live in your heart and mind, not in items.
Get rid of high maintenance – low return commitments
Relationships are a two way street. It’s true that they are not perfectly balanced all the time, but if you always are giving and not getting much in return, it might be time to thin them out. Ask yourself whether a commitment or obligation is a good trade for your time and energy.
Here’s something to remember:
A garden full of native plants grows and blooms with far less effort than one full of exotic plants that need constant attention. Find out what is native to your life- the simple and important things, and then tend them and you will have a garden full of beautiful blooms.