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It’s summer and, thus, gardening season for me. I spend most early mornings outside with a shovel, dirt, plants, and many ideas. The time with Mother Nature is very healing and also inspiring, providing answers and guidelines by which to live all parts of life. So, today begins my “List of Rules” by which to live and create a life of quality, simplicity, balance, and wholeness.

Gardening (and Life) Rule # 1 : Consider fully the seeds you plant.

Seeds, like thoughts, have far-reaching effects once they take root. I’m not talking about the fleeting thoughts, the ones that are gone as fast as they arrive, but the ones that you continue to mull over in your brain and that take root in your being. You start talking about them with your family and friends or posting them on social media…and then you begin to live them out loud.

By the time you get to the point where you are endorsing your thoughts and ideas with action, I would pray that the effects of your behavior are positive and uplifting rather than hurtful or intrusive.

Years ago I planted a lovely shrub, known as Russian Sage. This plant is drought tolerant, rabbit resistant, and self-propagating. It has oily, light green leaves and stems with small purple flowers similar to lavender, including its scent. The shrub can grow to a height and width of about two feet. And then the baby shrubs start showing up.

Left unattended for the most part, which I did for several years, the baby sage stems expand from the main plant at what seems to be an amazing rate…until at last…they’re growing in the grass, the flower beds, between rocks, and everywhere their underground root system can go.

All of a sudden (not really), this lovely shrub has become an invasive nuisance…simply because I was not paying attention to the way it was manifesting right in front of me. I did nothing about it and it took over. The effort to remove the additional growth as it was happening would have been relatively easy to do. However, after years of rampant expansion and unmonitored growth, digging out the deep and woody roots from the compacted clay takes hours and hours of difficult shoveling and intensive labor.

The same is level of effort is necessary in our human thinking when we discover certain patterns of thought are impacting our lives in unhealthy ways. It’s often hard work. Sometimes we need help.

We may need to have someone point out to us that a behavior or comment we make so casually is actually very hurtful, not funny, or unloving. Sometimes our reasons to “help” someone (especially with adult children) are actually a method to retain control over them. Whatever justification we tell ourselves to stay angry and resentful about something only plants deeper and more painful thorns of hurt around our lonely hearts. Left unchecked, such detrimental thoughts, words, and behaviors will eventually invade all areas of your life with sad and negative results.

The parent shrub I planted years ago was only doing what it was made to do: live, expand, blossom, etc. It did not require assistance from me to grow. Nothing negative about that.  It only became intrusive when I stopped paying attention to its patterns of growth and did nothing to correct it…up until now.

The same is true about a thought. Which ones are you paying attention to? Feeding and nurturing? Or weeding and removing (healing, forgiving) from your consciousness?

When I started this shrub-removal project a few days ago, I swore I’d NEVER plant that sage shrub again. I’ve changed my mind.  I will. I like the plant and the lessons it has provided. It is a “sage” after all. But it will be planted in a container that allows it to grow without becoming invasive and that I can more easily monitor.

Stay vigilant. Be aware. Make the effort to clean up those thoughts that no longer serve your highest Good, your God-Self. Consider fully the seeds you plant.

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