Understanding Health & Healing

Health, Healing and the Garden Connection

On one of these gorgeous afternoons I was weeding my flowerbeds, doing a major clean-up job that I had ignored all summer. To my dismay, I found a lot of peppermint shoots coming up all over the place although I had pulled out the roots in the spring quite thoroughly, or so I thought.

While filling yet another wheelbarrow with all those wondrous ‘plants out of place’-my favorite definition of “a weed”-it felt as if somebody dropped the following idea into my head: “now you get a better understanding of how cancer and other disease work in the human body.”

Pondering this statement for the rest of my weeding activities it became clear to me that we need to pluck up all the roots or otherwise they’ll start developing into a new plant. I wondered if that is why, in the case of cancer, some surgery is more successful than others? Metastasis all of a sudden made themselves understood as I looked at the incredible network of runners criss-crossing my flowerbed. Obviously, despite my impression that I had done a good job earlier in the year - it had most certainly looked like it on the surface - I had not got out all of the roots; and here I was at it again!

Dealing with the peppermint roots the best I could that afternoon I felt very fortunate that nature was giving me more detailed insight into health and healing. I understood the need to pull out the roots completely, which can be quite a challenge with some of them strong and solid and up to 50cm long. Translated to the human body this means having to go to the real cause of what is behind the physical ‘problem’ and eradicating it.

Going from peppermint to other weeds that day I contemplated that not all of them are the same. Some of these ‘volunteers’ have only very fine roots which come out easily; hardly any effort is involved - if we do the job, that is. Otherwise they might take over and leave us with quite a jungle to clean up later. The same applies to smaller emotional upsets and stress factors that have come up in our lives. If we catch them before they settle in and grow into big things, the ‘weeding’ is relatively pain free.

Other plants like dandelions have really strong roots that are anchored deep in the ground. We need some kind of mechanical instrument if we want to get anywhere close to taking the root out. Quite an effort is necessary if we want a garden without these yellow guys. You miss just a little bit of the root and voila: next season they are back in full splendor, with a root that is even stronger than before. On the human level, some traumas will require thorough work and forgiveness on a very deep level.

Quack grass with its runners all over the place can make the gardening even more challenging. If we do a good job at weeding we’ll end up criss-crossing the entire flower bed. A green sprig in one spot can be traced back to a root system that started quite a distance away. As long as we leave parts of it unattended, there will be some kind of follow- up message later. In the body different symptoms may show up without their roots going straight down to a point. Instead they need to be followed all the way along, leading us to look at various aspects of not only the physical body but also the mental, emotional and spiritual areas in different phases of our life.

On the mental level we need to look at our belief system and its influence on our life. Beliefs can either block and limit us or they can empower and lead us to the life of our dreams. Muscle testing comes in handy to unravel the hidden ‘runners’, all those negative beliefs which we are not even consciously aware of.

On the emotional level, we are asked to examine how we deal with anger, resentment, jealousy etc. Do we shove them under the carpet, unwilling to face them and make the necessary changes in our lives? Or do we diffuse the stress related to them and take it out of our spirit- mind- body system before it can fester?

Stored emotional stress can produce all kinds of varying symptoms. Going to the cause will then take care of all the little ‘shoots’ in different parts of the body. Anger e.g. traced back to one’s childhood could be the underlying cause of migraines as well as constipation, allergies, rashes and other health challenges.

There is always a cause to a symptom. There could be many symptoms due to one cause.

In the garden, I reminded myself that all these fresh shoots were due to me planting one small, insignificant looking 4" pot a couple of years ago, oblivious to any aftereffects. My peppermint experience could have been avoided completely had I put more thought into it in the first place and made a more appropriate choice as to what to put into my perennial bed.

Again I was struck by the similarity with our physical bodies. How many things do we do to our bodies in the course of a day, a week, a year that are not good for it? Smallish looking yet little nurturing nevertheless. We bombard our bodies with pesticide-laden, nutritionally poor food. Nicotine, caffeine, sugar, alcohol are added to that. We ignore or downplay  the additional strain on our bodies by electromagnetic fields, polluted water and air. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs are supposed to quiet down the symptoms, adding chemical toxins at the same time. All of the above piles up over time and eventually leads to physical reactions of overload. A toxic body is the breeding ground for all kinds of disease.

And even if we are told about the detrimental effects of the above mentioned substances, we find it difficult to make healthy choices. We know about the importance of regular ‘weeding’ of stress release, the powerful effect of prayer, the healing power of being in Nature - do we set regular time aside to integrate them into our daily lives?

By Rica Gerhardt
First published in Greenspace Magazine, Perth, Ontario

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