The challenges from our roots underground

Posted by Kenetha Stanton on

Image by とおる 水原 from Pixabay


I want to tell you a story from my yard today—a story that's been teaching more about kintsugi living.

When I purchased this home, it came with a very heavily landscaped yard and only a small area that has grass. This means that I've learned an awful lot about dealing with weeds over the years as I've learned to care for this yard.

The vast majority of the weeds I deal with come from seeds that blow in from outside my yard, and I've become a pro at using landscaping fabric, mulch, and Preen to help manage those. It doesn't keep them all away, but these tactics do help keep things to a manageable level.

I also deal with vines (like ivy) that are wonderful ground cover but are also continually trying to take over the whole yard on the surface, and I've written about my struggles with those before.

My real nemesis is the trumpet vine in the back yard. The former owners grew this vine to cover an arch over a small bridge in the landscaping, and its beautiful trumpet-like blossoms (as shown in the image above) attract hummingbirds and butterflies, which I love.

What I don't love is how invasive it is and how hard it is to control. It's a root suckering plant, you see. It sends up new shoots from its large root system deep underground.

These appear in a large circle around the plant that stretches at least 10-12 feet in every direction. That's how extensive the root system of this thing is!

Not only does it produce a LOT of these new shoots every week (somewhere around 30-50 per week, depending on the weather), they grow unbelievably fast. I easily have shoots that are 1-2 feet high in just one week!

They come up in the middle of other plants, up through raised beds (even up to 3 foot high raised areas), up through gaps between flagstones in patio areas, in the middle of shrubs, and even through landscaping fabric. They are aggressive, fast-growing, plentiful, and very hard to kill. For each one I rip out of the ground, more appear elsewhere from the roots.

Preen does nothing to touch it. Herbicides will (very slowly) kill new shoots, but do nothing to stop other shoots from appearing from the same roots. Weed barriers aren't strong enough to keep the shoots from bursting through.

Therefore, I spend a lot of time pulling these up by hand, one at a time. I've gotten very, very good at spotting the shoots of this particular vine, even when they appear right in the middle of another plant. They grow too fast for me to afford to miss one!

So what does this have to do with kintsugi living?

Just like with my yard, I find that most of my challenges come from issues that have blown in from areas that are outside my control. However, I have learned ways over time to protect myself from some of those by making it harder for them to take root in my life. It doesn't stop them all, but I have learned to protect myself where I can.

My biggest challenges, however, often stem from challenges that come up from under ground. It's my own fears, old stories, false beliefs, unhelpful patterns, hang-ups, unhealed woods, and neuroses whose roots lie buried under the surface of my life that cause me the most trouble.

They continually spout up in new places and in the middle of new situations to create new difficulties for me, and (just like with my trumpet vine) they can grow with amazingly fast, out-of-control speed when I don't catch them right away.

Over time, I may be able to shift some of these in my life through healing and reprogramming my perspective on life, but my job is more often to learn to recognize them as soon as they appear so I can nip them in the bud (so to speak) before they take over.

Rather than beating myself up because the same things keep showing up in ever-shifting ways in new places in my life, I've learned instead to celebrate my growing ability to spot them promptly when they appear and deal with them quickly.

This, too, is some of the gold of kintsugi living because it's skills like this, learned in the broken, painful times that I've faced and healed from, that become a golden treasure I can use to prevent (or at least decrease the impact of) future difficulties.

How well do you recognize the challenges that grow up from the roots in your life? Have you gotten faster at spotting them and dealing with them when they appear in new forms and new places?

Have you taken the time to celebrate that skill lately when you've nipped a recurring issue in the bud before it grew out of control?

How might you further improve your ability to recognize and deal with these kinds of challenges in your life by consciously watching for them?

What other skills have you developed like this one that are now part of your kintsugi gold that help you diffuse and address potential difficulties before they cause damage?


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