As we enter a new year, I have been reflecting on 2018 and all of the lessons I learned, which I am grateful for. One of the biggest lessons, which paralleled in my physical and personal life, came from an unlikely teacher. Bindweed pops up around my flowers and fairy garden all throughout the spring and summer. It grows on a thin vine with little white flowers, which resemble morning glory (they are related).
Every year, I rip the bindweed out constantly to keep it from overtaking my gardens. It’s quite invasive and it grows quickly. It has a habit of wrapping itself tightly around other plants. In 2018, I had so much on my plate. I was really worn down, and the task of fighting with bindweed seemed like one thing I just didn’t want to deal with. As soon as I noticed it sprouting up in spring, I wondered what would happen if I didn’t fight with it. What if I just tried to coexist with it? How far would it go? Would it really be that bad? Maybe we could be friends. So I decided to try that approach, and I left bindweed alone for the most part.
I began to notice other things that were out of the ordinary, and my curiosity was piqued. Spiders started appearing around me in places I didn’t normally see them, and in large numbers! Even in my dreams, webs were everywhere inside my house, blocking doorways. I was bewildered by all of this, not sure why there were suddenly spiders and webs everywhere in my waking and dream life. There were at least two grass spider webs on our gate, one on our rain barrel, one in the fairy garden, one in my herb garden, and some inside the kids’ outdoor playhouse. THEN I found one inside our house! When The Artist went outside one night, he was surprised to find that there were grass spiders “ALL OVER” the gate. While gardening, I would often see a grass spider right beside my hand when I looked down. I cleared out all the webs from the children’s playhouse, and the one inside our house, but I left the other ones since they weren’t bothering us.
Another thing that happened last year was that I developed a fear of someone running a stop sign and hitting our car at an intersection, seemingly out of nowhere. This is not something that had ever happened to me before, so I have no clue why I suddenly started getting jumpy when I saw a car rolling up to a stop sign. Then one day last summer, someone ran a stop sign and t-boned our car, flipping our car over into a lane of oncoming traffic, where it landed upside-down. My entire family was in the car, including the children. I am thankful every day that we were all able to walk away from that accident. I still have scars on my feet from walking barefoot across a shattered windshield and moon roof (my shoes flew off my feet when we rolled).
As the summer went on, I started feeling an odd sensation in the pit of my stomach in certain company. It was like nausea combined with that “gut feeling” that something is “off.” I made many comments to The Artist that I felt strange and thought I might be coming down with something.
I’m sure you’re wondering how all of these things are related, and what bindweed has to do with any of it. What happened was I allowed myself to get worn down and relinquish boundaries for bindweed. Instead of showing bindweed what I would allow and not allow in my space, I gave in and tried to be nice. After all, bindweed seemed outwardly nice. I tried to see the good in it. It had pretty flowers that I found quite charming. Ultimately, I had no boundaries and bindweed took over everything. It completely covered one of my rose bushes, which is now dead. In my personal life, this exact same situation played out. I allowed myself to get worn down and relinquish my boundaries. I gave in and tried to be nice and avoid conflict. What I learned is that some people, like bindweed, will take full advantage of this lack of boundaries, even if they seem nice on the outside and you try to see the good in them. Some people will barge right in and try to take over your whole life until you, like the roses, wither away to nothing.
In many ways, over a long period of time, I did not heed my instincts. I did not heed all of the red flags. And sometimes when we ignore things that are happening internally, it seems like the universe has to give us a nudge externally to shake us up and get our attention. My entire family was, quite literally, flipped upside down. This paralleled other things happening in our lives at the time as well. Despite having a sense of “knowing” about the situation, the gift of fear, I totally ignored it until I was blindsided and didn’t see it coming, at least not consciously. I didn’t know it then, but I know now that the nausea and the gut feeling I experienced was my body responding to something dangerous. The solar plexus is the chakra located in the abdomen, which is related to personal power and gut instinct. My body was not sick. It was trying to warn me. When I was dealing with the spiders and the dreams of webs, it turns out, I was quite trapped in a rather sticky situation where I was the prey! As soon as I listened and took heed to the message, the abnormal amounts of spiders in strange places departed. When I see a grass spider now, I give her my thanks. I am also thankful for my body’s wisdom, and I give thanks to my solar plexus by taking good care of it and listening a lot better now to those gut feelings.
After ripping out the proverbial bindweed, heeding my body’s wisdom, and asserting loving boundaries, I do not feel depleted. I do not feel nauseated. I do not feel like my life is upside down. My feet aren’t being cut up from walking on eggshells, though I’ll always have the scars to remind me. I do not feel trapped. I am not prey. I am not a victim. I will not wither and die like the roses. I have taken back my personal power and instead of a gate covered in sticky webs and surrounded by predators, I once again have a beautiful gate to the flourishing garden of my soul. Don’t think for a minute that I will let just anyone come a-knocking at this gate, even if they are bearing pretty white flowers.