Do you know what my mom calls weeds? Volunteers. And for those of you that hate having to… manage these volunteers every weekend when you go to your garden, I understand. It’s a large part of the reason I moved to an apartment when I came to Pittsburgh: I didn’t want the responsibility of culling the growth every weekend.
But I love calling weeds volunteers. Because it’s completely true, and it completely changes my outlook on weeds. You didn’t lift a finger to get them there; they just volunteered to be in your garden. They wanted to be close to you. They took the ground just as it was, used what they needed, and they continue to flourish under pretty much any circumstances. All the plants I introduced to the garden required constant vigilance and care. But for these plants, nature always found a way.
And this leads me to a truism of nature that also applies to the body: just as a garden receives volunteers in the form of weeds, so too does the body receive volunteers in the form of symptoms. Often these symptoms are unwanted, but they contain powerful messages. That’s why a key question I ask all my clients is this: “If this symptom was trying to give you a message, what do you think that message would be?”
One client of mine developed heart palpitations after a particularly stressful year. She could not predict the symptom, nor could she really trace it to a particular stimulus. But as a result, she did not feel able to exercise, and her training regimen slowly diminished, leaving her feeling uncomfortable in her body. When I asked her about potential messages from this symptom, she responded that it was a message that she needed to slow down and prioritize herself. She had been rushing for so long, working on other people’s priorities, ignoring herself, that she needed a serious wake up call!
And your symptoms can take a variety of forms. Maybe you experience digestive upset. Maybe you’re gaining weight, or gaining weight in unusual places. Maybe your skin is losing its luster, or your hair is limp. Maybe some joint hurts, or your abilities in real life don’t match the vision you have in your head.
These symptoms are volunteers. They are here because they have what they need to express themselves. Or because they don’t have what they’d need to NOT express themselves. So ask them their message. Trust that there is health in every symptom, no matter how unwanted.
“A wild thing, it don’t need a lot
It just grows on what it’s it got
It still grows no matter what.”
– “Love Grows Wild” by Dierks Bentley