A meditation on weeding


I can grow anywhere!

When I purchased my first house over 15 years ago, I was pretty darn excited.  About everything, even weeding.

I do know that, in the bigger picture of things, weeds are simply plants that we don’t know the use for. . . yet.

But sometimes they grow where we don’t want them.  And what’s to be done, but … weeding!

Being in Southern California, I studied drought resistant plants and took pride in doing all my own landscaping.

I remember a friend being over one day and as we sat on the patio I saw a few weeds in the flower bed and reached down to pull them out.  She made some comment about weeding and I said, “Yes, I’ll be weeding the rest of my life.”

We laughed at the time, but it was an off hand comment that was truly prophetic.

So what does it mean to be weeding for the rest of our lives?  I’m not going to go into the esoteric teachings of removing negative thoughts and habits from our lives, though that is a good analogy.

I’m really going to talk about weeding an outdoor garden and how to make the best of it.

Weeding the natural way

Fifteen years ago I didn’t give too much thought to herbicides and pesticides and admit that I would occasionally use them.  I was naïve enough to believe that RoundUp was harmless except to the plant it was sprayed on.

Now I know too much.

We all know too much unless we continue to hide our heads in the sand.  The biotech companies have been lying and the truth is coming out and none of us should be using pesticides or herbicides any more unless they’re proven natural and organic.  And, by the way, the natural and organic things work.

Ants in the mailbox!  Oh, my!

Two weeks ago ants took over my mail box.  I think they were originally attracted to a spider cocoon that was in the very back.

There were hundreds of them and I was determined not to use toxic spray.

So first, I prayed with tobacco and asked them to leave.  “Please leave so I don’t have to hurt you.”

Then I went off to my computer to research natural ant preventatives and learned about garlic!    I peeled a few cloves of garlic, pierced them to make sure the smell would escape, and put them in my mailbox.

I also was blessedly going out of town for five days so I stopped mail delivery to give it time to work.

It did.  Five days later there were only a few stragglers left and I just wiped them out with a rag.  And I felt very good about not having used toxins.

The earth always renews itself

Today I have a large property in Michigan and feel as though I’m in a constant dance [I won’t use the word war] with the natural world which wants to take over my gardens.

My teacher Sun Bear loved to say that the earth always renews itself, and would show us a photo of a weed growing through a crack in the sidewalk as proof.

I weed by hand [or prune with pruning sheers] and talk to the plants while I do it.  If it’s a weed I’m pulling out, I explain to it that it just grew in the wrong place.  “You have your space and this is mine so I’m sending you off to be composted and reborn.”

I also say, “I love you and I’m sorry I have to pull you out.

If I’m pruning I explain it’s just a little haircut and it will grow back. I even have a song I sing about it:

“Just a little haircut,

just a little haircut,

just a little haircut,

that’s all it is.”


It may sound silly to some, but it makes me feel good and I bet anything that it makes the plants feel good, too.

After all, we know they have a consciousness and living in balance with nature means honoring and respecting all of it.

Grandfather Wallace Black Elk always taught that every blade of grass has a name and a song.  How amazing is that?

In fact, the refreshing smell of mown grass is actually the smell of pheromones sent out by the grass to attract pollinating insects.  It’s a cry for  help because it is threatened when we cut it.

That puts things in a whole new light, doesn’t it?

I find weeding to be a good meditation.  It’s peaceful and mundane and perfect to hold our attention

And when we slow our mind, it makes room for new inspiration to come in.  I get some of my best ideas during meditation, and during weeding and gardening.

In fact, I wrote this blog post in my head while weeding and mowing the lawn.

Simple tasks are often a great meditation.  Which reminds me of the old adage,

Before enlightenment, chop wood carry water.  After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

And weed . . . with a prayer and a song.

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Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

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  1. Nina Eremar

    I completely buy this! There is few things more meditative than working with your hands, be it weeding, knitting, doing dishes, digging or planting new things to grow and making your little space a bit more breathable, beautiful and calm. I hope all of you have a wonderful.

    • Molly Larkin

      Yes, it’s the simple things in life that can keep us grounded and peaceful. Thank you.

  2. Laurie Preston

    Good message to honor the earth that nourishes us in so many ways!

    • Molly Larkin

      Thank you!

  3. Love this perspective! I ‘pinned’ this to my farming Pinterest board to keep it handy. I am often amused to observe the eternal dance between nature’s wild dance and humans, ‘dancing’ as you say, on their lawnmowers or with their weedwackers to carve out and tame their little human space. I often think to myself we take up much more space than we need, what with our lush lawns that we hardly ever frolic in… there is an eternal conversation at house of leaving more space for nature or carving out more space for us. The beauty and call to our spirits to wild places is hard to ignore, our eyes delight in the sight of them, naturally I think! I think civil society has ‘programmed’ our attention to like clean lawns and weed free landscape, or perhaps it’s our fear of the unknown… In my garden, flower, vegetable and fruit plants get the preferred spots, the ‘weeds’ sacrifice themselves to become some other essence of light and love. I know you can eat some weeds, but they just don’t taste as good as the fruits and veggies humans have cultivated generation after generation, in order to become more palatable to our tongue. I think of mullein and dandelion, just two healing ‘weeds’ that help to heal our lungs/membranes and cleanse our blood. So wonderful these helpers are available to our bodies, whether we recognize them, or not!

    • Molly Larkin

      Yes, lawns are pretty wasteful. I keep making mine smaller. Thank you for the reminder about dandelions and mullein.

  4. Corey

    Wow Molly! This post came at such a good time!! I just picked up a summer job where every Monday I go help weed a woman’s garden. And it makes me feel like I’m destroying lots of homes because of all the insects and bug life living in the plants. This post made me feel better! Thanks again Molly!

  5. Jane

    Too bad they are called “weeds”…. if they had only been called “flowers” we would love them.

    I believe everything is created for a reason – a purpose…. (even what some people call “weeds) and like Molly says, “weeds are simply plants that we don’t know the use for. . . yet.” But I’m certain there are those who know the uses of all weeds!

    There used to be a man come to where I work to pick dandelions. (I work at an Organic farm.) He would tell us, first of all he could find many dandelions; second, he trusted they were safe to eat and third’; they are free. We even have the local Zoo come to pick clover for some of their animals!!

    • Molly Larkin

      Lovely! Thank you.

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