The strawberry plants were put there by my father-in-law a couple of years ago, and the whole patch has become covered in bind weed, stinging nettles and all manner of other tall wild grasses – at least it was until hubby hacked them down just now. I thought the strawberries would probably have died off by now, but these little babies are hardier and more adaptable than I gave them credit for and have produced a bumper crop – all with no intervention!
|The overgrown strawberry patch AFTER it's been weeded (and still looking a mess!)|
Not once all summer did I go out to weed or water. The plants have been left entirely to their own devices. And here is what I find miraculous: competing for space alongside all the weeds, the runners had to grow upwards instead of outwards to get their share of light, meaning the developing berries didn't touch the floor (hence no need for straw). The second benefit of being surrounded by overgrown weeds, was that the birds could get nowhere near them as they had nowhere to land. Only a couple have been nibbled by creepy crawlies. It's just taken me about 20 minutes to pick what must be a couple of kilos worth of juicy, ripe berries, and there are still more to come!
|The plants are now flopping over, thanks to the removal of the stinging nettles|
Now, contrast this scenario with that of about eight years ago, when I had my own allotment. My mum, a keen gardener, would often come to help me out. We planted all manner of things, including a row of strawberry plants. But they took so much work and effort to look after. We weeded around them, surrounded them with straw to keep the berries from touching the ground, and had to fend off the birds. My dad ended up making a netted cage to protect them. And then there was the nightly watering during the summer. So much work went into maintaining that little patch and for very little yield – we'd get maybe a handful of strawberries all summer.
And the point is? .....I couldn't help but think to myself that perhaps life often works in the same way. When we intervene too much, or make too much effort, we often don't get the results we hope for. Conversely, when we leave things alone and let nature take its course, without any thought about our attachment to an outcome, we can end up pleasantly surprised.
Now, I'm not saying that in all cases we can sit back, do nothing, and expect results. Indeed, those strawberry plants had to have been planted there by someone in the first place for there to be such a bountiful supply now. So, sometimes we do need to plant seeds in order to reap the rewards later down the line. But it's so easy not to trust the process and interfere too much. I love Louise Hay's analogy of positive affirmations being like seeds. She talks about planting those seeds with love into fertile ground, tending to them carefully, and not interfering too much or getting impatient and digging up the soil saying 'where are you? why is nothing happening?!' She reminds us that all we have to do is plant our positive intention, then release our attachment to the outcome and let the magic happen. After all, nature knows exactly what to do. Those strawberry plants in my back yard got all the sustenance they needed from the ground, air, and rain. I didn't need to go meddling. And, they ended up growing bigger and more abundant than they ever would have had I started getting involved in the process.
I've experienced this very thing throughout my life: putting lots of effort or emotional energy into trying to create a particular outcome, only for that very thing or person to remain elusive. Conversely, when I haven't been so attached to a particular outcome, or haven't 'tried' so hard, things have come to me with much more ease. Deepak Chopra writes about this phenomena – the law of least effort – in his his book The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success. It's a good reminder that sometimes things don't have to be such hard work.
So, what can you ease up on today? Are you striving and working too hard on something to 'make it happen'? If you've planted your seeds and are getting impatient for results, maybe it's time to take a leaf out of the strawberry patch's book, and let things grow how they want to, in their own right time. More and more I'm coming to realise that by trusting life, we allow ourselves to be directed to where we need to go, and bring the right people and opportunities our way.
Who would've thought there could be so much spiritual learning from simple strawberry patch?!
....And yes, I've just enjoyed a bowl of them, dressed simply with some organic double cream and a sprinkling of xylitol (it's low GI, actually good for your teeth and way better than table sugar, but that's a topic for a whole other blog!)
|The first of two huge tubs. I'll be eating them for days! Who knew such abundance was right in my back yard?|