June 6

Mud and Roots

June 6, 2014

Personal Growth

Our backyard is relatively low-lying—once a swamp—so over the years I’ve dug a network of ditches that carry rainwater to the creek, leaving us with dry, usable land. If I don’t regularly maintain the ditches, however, the water flows poorly, and significant portions of the yard become wet and muddy again.

Several times a year I use a leaf blower to move the leaves, sticks, and loose dirt from the ditches, but every year or two I have to do more than that. Last week, for example, I carried a shovel, pick, loppers, hand clippers, axe, and hoe out to a ditch that needed to be cleared.

I discovered that with each rain over the previous couple of years, a thin film of silt had settled in the ditch, cumulatively raising the bed of the ditch and impeding its ability to drain water. I used the pick, hoe, and shovel to move the mud, but then I encountered a great number of tree roots growing immediately beneath the mud. Their removal required every tool I had, not to mention the muscle and sweat to operate them.

My yard is a healthier and more useful place when it’s in the flow—when rain falls from the sky and flows smoothly through all the ditches and down to the creek. Without that flow, my yard would become an impenetrable swamp that would be useless to me—as it was when I found it thirty years ago. What I have now is worth all the work required to achieve it.

Just as my yard thrives with a flow of water, so do our lives flourish when we ensure a flow of love through us. Why is it that so few of us experience this free-flowing condition? As with my ditches, often our flow is choked by roots—the false beliefs we were taught as children, the wounds that resulted from a longstanding lack of love, and more. These are not the roots that give life but instead strangle us and obstruct the flow of love. We also suffer from the relentless accumulation of mud—all the fears, anger, and other unproductive feelings and behaviors of a lifetime.

We have to pay attention to the flow, or obstructions will grow. Unwanted roots snake a path from every direction. Mud settles inexorably and without pity. But there’s no need to fear. We just need to get out the shovels and axes to clear out anything that obstructs the flow that gives life to us and those around us. It’s well worth the effort.

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