We have a little back porch behind our new town home surrounded by bare areas for planting. The folks who lived here before us had dogs that they kept out there for long stretches of time… so we are assuming that the dirt and mulch are pretty much unusable. I’m going to be digging out quite a few wheelbarrows of the stuff and tossing it into the woods.
You gotta have good dirt.
This is what my neighbor told me when we moved to Pittsburgh years ago and I excitedly contemplated all of the flowers I was going to plant. She explained to me that the ground in Western Pennsylvania was heavy clay, and that if I didn’t prepare the dirt properly, my plants would eventually become root-bound and die.
It’s a bit like life at times..
I have a friend who struggles with binge eating and weight gain. Her life is like a pendulum wildly swinging from good weeks to weeks that set her back a whole month. She has been on this dizzying ride for years. It’s depressing and exhausting because none of her “personal improvement plans” ever take root and produce longterm, consistent results. This poor girl keeps performing post-mortems on the wilted blooms of her latest failed attempts; but she has yet to fully examine “the underlying dirt.”
All too often, the reasons for personal failure are hidden beneath multiple layers of our lives- far removed from our obvious area of struggle and concern. I am convinced that my friend’s issue with weight is actually not the problem, but rather a symptom of a deeply rooted fear of developing close relationships that would infringe upon of her highly organized and regimented life. Feeling terrible and bloated with no clothes that fit- is a convenient barrier that keeps her from social interactions that could potentially lead to deviations from her rigid, predictable lifestyle. Instead of focusing on what she puts into her mouth every day, I’d be much more interested in understanding her need for a life that is so structured, repetitive, isolated and “safe.”
Would someone be willing to sabotage their own health just to protect another facet of their life? You bet. So my friend keeps chasing the perfect diet and exercise plans that this time around will surely work. Every week or two “a new idea is planted into the same hole” to see if it will take root. The cost is huge and it’s taking a long term toll on her overall happiness and health. I wish I could make her understand that the problem isn’t the flowers..
If the good and healthy things that you plant in your life
keep on dying..
maybe it’s time to get out the shovel and dig for the reasons that are hiding
deep in the dirt.