I have often heard gardeners speak of their zucchini harvest. The picture I have come away from their stories is that zucchini are very prolific and take over and create way more zucchini than you had expected, or perhaps wanted.
Recently, for the first time, I planted zucchini in my garden. At first I thought people had exaggerated -- there are not that many zucchini in a zucchini harvest. But, as the growing season progressed, I discovered something. You may check your garden in the afternoon and see some small 2 or 3 inch zucchini, and then in a day or two you go back, and lo and behold, the zucchini have grown immensely and are now a foot long... And there's a lot more of the same size that you hadn't even noticed before.
Zucchini of the Mind
Zucchini are like the "unsupervised" thoughts in our mind. When we have "negative" or "draining" belief systems and we let them run amuck unsupervised, we may end up growing a crop of negative situations, bad vibes, depression, etc. etc.
Sometimes we may have had a few "negative" or "judgmental" thoughts floating in our head, but they were so small that they didn't really seem to be making much of an impact in our lives. But then, some time later, days or weeks or months, these thoughts exploded into a crop of overgrown "zucchini" thoughts. What had started out as a small resentful thought blossomed into a full-grown grudge or dislike of someone or something.
It's as if the negative thoughts take advantage of the fact that we're distracted, and they act just like teenagers whose parents have gone away and who decide to have a wild party while they're gone. So the unnoticed and unsupervised negative thoughts have a party and create havoc in your emotions and in your life.
Solution: Regular Maintenance
So the solution, with our mind as with our gardens, is to regularly do some maintenance or culling. The ideal is to be constantly "on watch" to make sure that what is growing is what we want and that nothing is getting out of hand. However, realistically, we all know that we get distracted with life... the washing machine is overflowing, the car is out of gas, the kids need help with their homework, our favorite TV show is coming on...
There are always, and always will be I'm sure, external situations that clamor for our attention. However, I believe the trick is to attend to all these things while remembering that they are simply "activities" that we are "doing". They are not who we are "being". Who we are "being" is the energy inside, the energy we radiate.
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Whatever is going on around us, are we radiating love, peace, harmony, or are we radiating panic, fear, tension, stress, etc? And just like the numerous zucchini in the garden that seem to develop overnight from tiny little zucchini, so the thoughts and attitudes in our being can develop overnight if we let them. So the need for "constant" attention consists more of being aware of what's going on in our head, to make sure that the garden of thoughts is not turning itself into exorbitantly-sized zucchini and weeds.
Weeds in the Mind
Managing your mind is a lot like managing a garden. At first the garden is spotless, no weeds, just whatever you planted. In the same way, when you start working on a new habit or new belief system, at first it seems clear-cut... no problem. But if you're not paying attention, the next time you look, you may have an abundance of fearful or negative thoughts growing so fast you can almost see them getting stronger with the naked eye.
Luckily, the weeds in our mind are much easier (at least less physically demanding) to get rid of than the ones in our garden. They don't require much physical labor. The weeds in our mind can be removed simply by saying "Cancel", or as Jesus said "Get thee behind me Satan"... in other words, get out of here, now! And the mind weed is gone!
And while some weeds are persistent, and may insist on trying to come back, just keep "saying no" and eventually they'll get the message.
Excuse me now, I have a garden to tend to... and some weeds to pull.
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About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com