I have been living and working on a farm in Italy for more than twelve weeks now and the lessons I am learning are abundant! So much so that I am dedicating this month to sharing all the farm lessons with you. The cycles of caring for the plants and land on the farm have many similarities to the cycles of human behavior and caring for ourselves. There are so many scientific benefits to gardening like being connected to nature, reduced stress levels, and a better ability to be in the moment. You can read more from these two wonderful articles here and here.
As I was weeding around the vineyards and planting new vines, I was reminded about the need to get to the root of things. Have you ever "dealt" with something in your life only to have it come back up again and again? Usually this is due to implementing a quick fix or not being mentally or emotionally ready to get to the root of the issue. If farm life has taught me anything, it is that weeds are ever present. You can take the approach of cutting them at the surface (over and over again) or pull them up by the roots.
When we cut our issues at the surface, whether it is a damaged relationship, unhealthy habit or self-defeating thought, it is liable to return later. Some people may even realize the self-defeating nature of this behavior as it is happening, but we still do it anyway.
From the smallest habits, like nail biting, to bigger issues, like being in unhealthy relationships, all warrant a little digging. Figuring out what the problem really is often leads to a more long term solution, rather than just a band aid fix.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you need help getting to the root of your issues:
- How is this behavior/action/mindset hurting me?
- What uncomfortable thoughts/feelings do I have about getting rid of it?
- What is the risk versus the reward of continuing without change?
- Why has it been difficult to change prior to this?
- What small steps can I make to cut the problem at the root?
It may take more effort, time, and energy in the moment, but getting to the root of recurring issues is worth the work in the long run. It is necessary for making progress and dealing with baggage that may be holding you back. Good luck clearing the space for healthier things to grow and flourish!