Pulling out the weeds (and habits)

Often when I am doing my sprint intervals around the loop on our land, I find myself near a patch of French broom during an active rest period, and pull broom instead of walking. Yesterday as I did this I thought about weed-pulling. There is nothing intrinsically horrible about the plants we call weeds – they have their place in the cycle of nature. We just don’t want them in our gardens. In the case of French broom, it is a non-native (to northern California) invasive species that is extremely flammable, and very difficult to eradicate. It is very satisfying to pull each plant up by the roots. I do that knowing that I am, in a very small way, restoring some balance to the eco-system here.

This is not so different from the approach we can take to habits we have developed that do not serve us. If we can calmly decide what does not work for us and consciously choose to pull that weed out of our lives and behaviors, this is a good thing. We don’t have to feel guilty about it, punish ourselves when it sprouts again, get angry – all the responses we tend to have that are just not all that useful in shifting our behaviors in the long run. Getting angry at the French broom does not assist me in getting rid of it – taking action to pull even a few small ones at a time does.