“Be careful where you plant that” my friend Myron advised, as I was digging up mint from his yard to transfer to mine, “it will take over your entire yard.” I brought my newly acquired mint home and planted it in a small flowerbed in my front yard. I watered it a few times and then absent-mindedly neglected it. I should have paid greater attention to the advice given to me by my friend, for as I wander around my yard I see that his words were quite prophetic. The mint that I planted in that small flowerbed has now spread over the entire front hill and has somehow made its way into my back yard. Birds maybe? I do not know, but there it is taking over my flowerbeds, lawn and property. I live in the country so I don’t really mind the mint growing wild. Most of my plants are wild anyway and I like the informal look of landscaping. Don’t misunderstand; I keep a constant vigil on the mint. It can get scraggly and put out twigs without putting any effort into producing leaves or flowers, so I prune it often and occasionally pull it out of the lawn although mowing it gives off a wonderful scent in the warm summer days so I am inclined to let it stay put.
I have found that my life is much like that mint I planted 14 years ago and the advice Myron gave me about that plant is suitable for what I impart with others.
If I am not mindful I tend to put out straggly twigs with no real substance to the things I say or do. I go about my daily business focusing only on what I want, what I need and what suits me at that moment. It is then that I find myself becoming intolerant, judgmental, myopic and quite inhuman. When I find myself wallowing in the shallow pool of selfishness I do my best to prune out the egocentricity that has become my life.
I am not suggesting that I suddenly take on the role of Mother Teresa or Gandhi… far from it. I am just looking for a simple balance between selfishness and selflessness. I do my best to become more aware of those around me who could use a pat on the back, a hand up, or a high-five; striving to be more accepting, tolerant and understanding. I endeavor to put more energy into producing the best that there is of myself and in doing so find that I am a more content, humane individual.
“Be careful where you plant that, it will take over your entire yard.” Yes, be careful what you focus on, it will take over your entire life.